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Transporting Biodiversity Using Transmission Power Lines as Stepping-Stones

The most common ecological response to climate change is the shifts in species distribution ranges. Nevertheless, landscape fragmentation compromises the ability of limited dispersal species to move following these climate changes. Building connected environments that enable species to track climate changes is an ultimate goal for biodiversity conservation. An experiment was conducted to determine if electric power transmission lines could be transformed in a continental network of biodiversity reserves for small animals. The study analysed if the management of the habitat located inside the base of the transmission electric towers (providing refuge and planting seedlings of native shrub) allowed to increase local richness of target species (i.e., small mammals and some invertebrates' groups). The results confirmed that by modifying the base of the electric transmission towers density and diversity of several species of invertebrates and small mammals increased as well as number of birds and bird species, increasing local biodiversity. The study suggests that modifying the base of the electric towers would potentially facilitate the connection of fragmented populations. This idea would be easily applicable in any transmission line network anywhere around the world, making it possible for the first time to build up continental scale networks of connectivity. informacion[at] Ferrer et al (2020) Transporting Biodiversity Using Transmission Power Lines as Stepping-Stones? Diversity 12(11): 439;

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The role of human-related risk in breeding site selection by wolves

The role of human-related risk in breeding site selection by wolves

Large carnivores can be found in different scenarios of cohabitation with humans. Behavioral adaptations to minimize risk from humans are expected to be exacerbated where large carnivores are most vulnerable, such as at breeding sites. Using wolves as a model species, along with data from 26 study areas across the species' worldwide range, a meta-analysis was performed to assess the role of humans in breeding site selection by a large carnivore. Some of the patterns previously observed at the local scale become extrapolatable to the entire species range provided that important sources of variation are taken into account. Generally, wolves minimised the risk of exposure at breeding sites by avoiding human-made structures, selecting shelter from vegetation and avoiding agricultural lands. Results suggest a scaled hierarchical habitat selection process across selection orders by which wolves compensate higher exposure risk to humans within their territories via a stronger selection at breeding sites. Dissimilar patterns between continents suggest that adaptations to cope with human-associated risks are modulated by the history of coexistence and persecution. Although many large carnivores persisting in human-dominated landscapes do not require large-scale habitat preservation, habitat selection at levels below occupancy and territory should be regarded in management and conservation strategies aiming to preserve these species in such contexts. In this case, evidences recommend providing shelter from human interference at least in small portions of land in order to fulfill the requirements of the species to locate their breeding sites. informacion[at] Sazatornil et al (2016) The role of human-related risk in breeding site selection by wolves. Biol Cons 201 103-110 doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2016.06.022