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Posts from the ‘Conservation’ Category

Joining the Inselberg Research Initiative

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I visited the University of Rostock to consult with some of the world’s leading experts on the ecology of isolated mountain habitats known as inselbergs. We’ll be joining forces for a number of future projects combining insights from plants and animals to better understand how these enigmatic landscape features survived through the ages and how their biota interact with the landscape matrix around them.

https://www.botanik.uni-rostock.de/forschung/inselberg-research-initiative/what-are-inselbergs/

NEW PAPER: Exploring the link between ecology and biogeography in African vertebrates

In a new paper out in the journal Ecography, Falko Buschke tried to explain the distribution patterns of all terrestrial vertebrates that occur in sub Sahara Africa using environmental variables and spatial dispersal related variables.

He found that when you map Africa based on how much variation is explained by dispersal based processes vs. environmental niche based filtering, you can see the contours of the biogeographic regions. This suggests that community structuring processes differ among regions within biogeographic realms.

He also showed that corrections for range size are necessary to extract ecologically meaningful patterns from variation partitioning results.

Finally, he found that unexplained variation was highest in species with small distributions… which is worrying from a conservation perspective as these are often threatened. While we can quite accurately predict distributions of widespread animals, we don’t know very well why certain rarer species are range restricted.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ecog.00860/abstract

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An African Black Rhino. One of the species in Falko’s database.

NEW PAPER: Handling cumulative impacts during the environmental decision-making process

In a side-project of his PhD Falko Buschke¬† published a new paper in Journal of Nature Conservation on how different decision making strategies affect the exploitation of natural habitat. He shows that taking into account cumulative costs (e.g. earlier developments of an area and associated costs in terms of habitat loss) in different ways (not at all/ higher cost for additional developments / equal-division of costs among early and late developers) will have profound effects on how much habitat will be destroyed in the end. But this is just a start…

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1617138114000181

Falko explains the story behind the paper and the consequences of his findings in detail on his blog: The Solitary Ecologist

http://solitaryecology.com/2014/04/21/cumulative-impacts/