Transdiciplinary journal club

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Welcome to the Transdisciplinary Conservation Journal Club. Meetings are scheduled for 4pm on Monday's in AERL 419. The first meeting is on September 24th and meetings will occur bi-weekly.

If you are looking for the TCJC's FOP (Focus on One Paper) page, click here: [1]

Please initial next to the journals you are willing to read (3-4). Each person is expected to make a short (~5min) presentation on the set of (1-4) interesting/important/fun(!) papers they discover.

Here are the journals:

Annual Review of Env. Resources (LH) ---

Ecology and Society (NV)

Conservation and Society (ADB)

Environmental Conservation (MY)

Global Change Biol. (LTB)

Trends in Ecology and Evolution (LTB)

Conservation Biology (SF)

Biol. Conservation (ADB)

Biodiv. and Cons. (JCS)

Ecol. Letters (NCB)

Ecology (DK)

Env. Values (NV)

Env. Ethics ---

Diversity and Distr. (PLL)

American Naturalist (DK)

Frontiers in Ecology and Env. (NCB)

Proceedings of the Royal Society of London series B, Bio. Sci. (DK)

Human Ecology (DK)

PNAS (ADB)

Science (NCB)

Nature (JCS)

Ecological App. (PW)

Oecologia (BvP)

ORYX (LTB)

Annual Reviews of Ecology, Evolution, & Systematics (BvP)

Ecol. Econ. (NV)

J. of Ecology (PW)

J. App. Ecol. (PLL)

J. Env. Mngt. (LH)

Economic Botany (PW)

Ambio ---

Oikos (PLL) ---

CONS Magazine (JCS)

Intl, J. of Sustainable Dev. and World Ecol. (VL)

Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences (BvP)

Fish Mngt. & Ecol. (SF)

Coastal Mngt. (PW)

Aquatic Conservation (SF) ---

Marine Pollution Bulletin ---

Land Economics ---

Agr. Economics ---

Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment ---

Current Biology (MY)---

Eco Health (VL)

PLoS (Biology) (MY)---

Molecular Ecology (EB)---

Journal of Environmental Economics and Management (LH) ---

'''Online Summaries:'''

Article review for week 24 Sept (M.Y.) - Environmental Conservation, PLOS-biol and Int. J of Sustainable Development and World Ecology.

The most recent –forthcoming issue of Environmental Conservation included papers on attitudes of neighbouring communities around a national park in South Africa, a paper on valuation of ecosystem services in a protected area in Spain and a paper examining the effectiveness of Save the tiger investment funds.

A) The paper on ecosystem valuation (Environmental Conservation: page 1 of 10 © 2007 Foundation for Environmental Conservation Influence of user characteristics on valuation of ecosystem services in Do˜nana Natural Protected Area (south-west Spain) BERTA MARTI´N-LOPEZ*, CARLOS MONTES AND JAVIER BENAYAS) examined factors (eg. Motivation, distance to area of interest, knowledge about the ecosystem service) that influenced contingent valuation and willingness to pay for ecosystems services. Some interesting results: 1) Both environmental behaviour + knowledge about ecosystem services enhanced the Willingness to Pay but knowledge levels had a greater influence. This means that environmental education programs can be very important in increasing societal values for ecosystem services. 2) Local people placed greater value on cultural and modified ecosystem services (and thus were placed a greater value on “provisioning services” whereas other people placed a greater value on existence values and thought biodiversity conservation services were important. 3) In the discussion the papers states how dynamic the value placed on ES are and how they change due to policies, media etc (ie social processes). MY


The commentary Chile's abilility to fund biodiversity conservation MARIANNE V. ASMÜSSEN and JAVIER A. SIMONETTI in Environmental Conservation Environmental Conservation Can a developing country like Chile invest in biodiversity conservation?, examines whether funds are available through revenues generated from the highly subsidies forest industry to cover the deficits in operations budgets for protected areas. Currently the annual budget for Chile's protected areas are 6 million / year and the deficit runs 6-38 million / year. The article concludes that there is sufficient funds available from forestry revenue and that allocating funds from revenue generated from the forest industry could help to offset some of the environmental impacts of forestry.

B) In the most recent (PLOS-biol September 2007 | Volume 5 | Issue 9 | e223) there is an article by Wilson et al. on methods to evaluate the effectiveness of different conservation actions. In the past, although there has been some studies looking at the cost effectiveness of land acquisition for conservation {Main, 1999 #623}{Balmford, 2003 #33}, few studies have looked at the effectiveness of a range of conservation measures that may occur in a particular site or global region, in eg. A protected area (eg. Invasive species control, fire management). This article (similarly to the Save the Tiger article above), builds on some of the work by researchers such as Bill Sutherland (evidence-based conservation), Andrew Balmford, Nick Salafsky (http://www.fosonline.org/) , and Paul Ferraro who advocate the need for more rigorous evaluations of conservation funds, and describes a framework that would help evaluate the cost-effectiveness (in terms of number of species conserved) of conservation investments. The article concludes that more threatened species in the Mediterranean climate ecoregion could be conserved by a sequence of conservation actions targeted towards specific threats, rather than land acquisition.

I think the general approach of evaluating conservation investments is a necessary task and one of the strength of this framework is that it can be effective across different scales (global analysis, like in this study), but also could provide recommendations for conservation investments at a much smaller regional scale (at the scale in which targeted conservation actions occur. However, I think it is important to note that although this might be true for most species, particularly vulnerable species (sentinel species) may however be better protected by land acquisition and thus it may be important to first determine what the objectives of conservation are (ie is it to maximise the number of species, or is it to protect those species that are particularly vulnerable and “on the brink” of extinction). Perhaps it makes most sense to target the most easily rectifiable conservation challenges first (like penicillin for health) and then target more complicated challenges later (like treating chronic depression) ? It is also difficult to see how this framework would work in situations where the link between threat – conservation action and biodiversity benefit is less immediate (eg. For Invasive plant removal the connection is very immediate; whereas ecotourism to conserve turtles is much less immediate and more difficult to assess the impacts). Would this type of approach favour easy to solve conservation challenges (ie eradicating rats in the Queen Charlottes [easy] versus reducing slash-and-burn deforestation in Indonesia)? This study uses examples from very simple conservation interventions and assumes that all of these would be effective in achieving their objectives.

Balmford, A.,Whitten, T. 2003. Who should pay for tropical conservation, and how could the costs be met? Oryx 37, 238-250.

Ferraro, P.J.,Pattanayak, S.K. 2006. Money for nothing? A call for empirical evaluation of biodiversity conservation investments. PLOS- Biology 4, 105.

Main, M.B., Roka, F.M.,Noss, R.F. 1999. Evaluating costs of conservation. Conservation Biology 13, 1262-1272.

Stem, C., Margoluis, R., Salafsky, N.,Brown, M. 2005. Monitoring and evaluation in conservation: a review of trends and approaches. Conservation Biology 19, 295-309.


Current Biology (MY) Vol 17 Sept 2007 issue of Current Biology has brief articles on 1) threats to cetaceans in British waters (highlighting noise pollution from wind farms) as a potential disturbance 2) the doubling (since 1997) of the number of threatened species listed on the UK’s biodiversity action plans 3) the functional extinction of the Baiji (Yangztze River Dolphin Current Biology Vol 17 No 18) after a 6 week survey failed to find a single individual. The article notes that the Baiji may now be the first whale to become extinct without being actively hunted. “The recent survey, while not seeing any Baijis, counted about 20,000 large ships, one vessel per every 100 m of river surveyed. For the sonar-dependent Baiji, it must have been “like a blind man trying to live in a discotheque. Or several competing discotheques”, as Douglas Adams put it in his now historic account in ‘Last Chance to See’”

Current Biology Oct 2007 (MY) Conservation Biology: Predicting Birds' Responses to Forest Fragmentation Cagan H. Sekercioglu, and Navjot S. Sodhi. Reviews how forest fragmentation may affect bird species composition. Forest fragmentation may cause "nestedness" in which some fragmented habitats only form a subset of the species in a rich site. Article calls for a global analysis to identify the factors or develop an ecological theory to predict the sensitivity of different types of forests to fragmentation.


Environmental Conservation Aug 2007 (MY) There is a commentary entitled Environmental science, environmentalism and governance by MICHAEL SISSENWINE which discusses the growing responsibilities for environmental scientists to accurately and honestly communicate results of environmental research to the media/public/policy makers. This is because environmental issues become a much more socially relevant topic in recent years. It calls for a code of conduct for environmental scientists similar to medical doctors, engineers, lawyers etc who provide advice to the public.

Suyanto, S., Khususiyah, N., and Leimona, B. (2007) Poverty and Environmental Services: Case Study in Way Besai Watershed, Lampung Province, Indonesia. Ecology and Society 12(2): 13 [online] www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol12/iss2/art13/

-This article reviews the relationship between poverty and environmental services. It proposes in-kind payments for conservation rather than cash. It presents a case study.