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Restored and artificial wetlands do not support the same waterbird functional diversity as natural wetlands

The restoration of degraded areas and the creation of artificial ecosystems have partially compensated for the continuing loss of natural wetlands. However, the success of these wetlands in terms of the capacity of supporting biodiversity and ecosystem functions is unclear. Natural, restored, and artificially created wetlands present within the Doñana protected area were compared to evaluate if they are equivalent in terms of waterbird functional trait diversity and composition. Functional diversity measures and functional group species richness describing species diet, body mass, and foraging techniques were modelled in 20 wetlands in wintering and breeding seasons. Artificial wetlands constructed for conservation failed to reach the functional diversity of natural and restored wetlands. Unexpectedly, artificial ponds constructed for fish production performed better, and even exceeded natural wetlands for functional richness during winter. Fish ponds stood out as having a unique functional composition, connected with an increase in richness of opportunistic gulls and a decrease in species sensitive to high salinity. Overall, the functional structure of breeding communities was more affected by wetland type than wintering communities. These findings suggest that compensating the loss of natural wetlands with restored and artificial wetlands results in systems with altered waterbird?supported functions. Protection of natural Mediterranean wetlands is vital to maintain the original diversity and composition of waterbird functional traits. Furthermore, restoration must be prioritised over the creation of artificial wetlands, which, even when intended for conservation, may not provide an adequate replacement. informacion[at] Almeida et al. (2020) Comparing the diversity and composition of waterbird functional traits between natural, restored, and artificial wetlands. Freshwater Biology DOI 10.1111/fwb.13618
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An adaptive method for identifying marine areas of high conservation priority

An adaptive method for identifying marine areas of high conservation priority

Identifying priority areas for biodiversity conservation is particularly challenging in the marine environment due to the open and dynamic nature of the ocean, the paucity of information on species distribution, and the necessary balance between marine biodiversity conservation and essential supporting services such as seafood provision. The Patagonian seabird breeding community was used as a case study to propose an integrated and adaptive method for delimiting key marine areas for conservation. Priority areas were defined through a free decision-support tool that included projected at-sea distributions of seabirds; BirdLife Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas for pelagic bird species; and the economic costs of potential regulations in fishing practices. The proposed reserve network encompassed approximately 300,000 km2 that was largely concentrated in northern and southern inshore and northern and central offshore regions. This reserve network exceeded the minimum threshold of 20% conservation of the abundance of each species proposed by the World Parks Congress. Based on marine currents in the study area, the 3 primary water masses that may influence areas of conservation priority through water inflow were further identified. Reserve network may benefit from enhanced marine productivity in these highly connected areas, but they may be threatened by human impacts such as marine pollution. This method of reserve network design is an important advance with respect to the more classical approaches based on criteria defined for one or a few species and may be particularly useful when information on spatial patterns is data deficient. This approach also accommodates addition of new information on seabird distribution and population dynamics, human activities, and alterations in the marine environment. informacion[at] Afán et al (2018) An adaptive method for identifying marine areas of high conservation priority. Cons Biol DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13154