For publications earlier than 2019, view our publications archive.
| Burivalova, Z.; Yoh, N.; Butler, R. A.; Sagar, HSSC; Game, E. T.: Broadening the focus of forest conservation beyond carbon. In: Current Biology, vol. 33, iss. 11, pp. R621-R635, 2023. (Type: Journal Article | )|
| Choksi, P.; Kotian, M.; Burivalova, Z; DeFries, R.: Social and ecological outcomes of tropical dry forest restoration through invasive species removal in central India.. In: Ecological Indicators, iss. 155, pp. 111054, 2023. (Type: Journal Article | )|
| Müller, J.; Mitesser, O.; Schaefer, H. M.; Seibold, S.; Busse, A.; Kriegel, P.; Rabl, D.; Gelis, R.; Arteaga, A.; Freile, J.; Leite, G. A.; de Melo, T. Nascimento; LeBien, J. G.; Campos-Cerqueira, M.; Blüthgen, N.; Tremlett, C. S.; Böttger, D.; Feldhaar, H.; Grella, N.; Falconí-López, A.; Donoso, D. A.; Moriniere, J.; Burivalova, Z.: Soundscapes and deep learning enable tracking biodiversity recovery in tropical forests.. In: Nature Communications, pp. 6191, 2023. (Type: Journal Article | )|
| Sagar, HS Sathya Chandra; Gilroy, James; Swinfield, Tom; Burivalova, Zuzana; Yong, Ding Li; Gemita, Elva; Novriyanti, Novriyanti; Lee, David C.; Janra, Muhammad Nazri; Balmford, Andrew; Hua, Fangyuan: Avifauna recovers faster in areas less accessible to trapping in regenerating tropical forests. In: Biological Conservation, vol. 279, 2023. (Type: Journal Article | | )|
Tropical forest restoration stands to deliver important conservation gains, particularly in lowland Southeast Asia, which has suffered some of the world's highest rates of recent forest loss and degradation. This promise, however, depends on the extent to which biodiversity at forest restoration sites continues to be exposed to threats. A key knowledge gap concerns the extent to which biodiversity recovery in naturally regenerating tropical forests is impacted by trapping for the multi-million-dollar wildlife trade. Here, we use a repeated survey dataset to quantify rates of avian community recovery under forest regeneration, at a flagship restoration site in the lowland rainforests of Sumatra, Indonesia. We show that over a decade, forest regeneration was associated with significant abundance increases for 43.8 % of bird species. However, the apparent negative impacts of trade-driven trapping on avian populations also intensified: the proportion of species dependent on very remote forests increased from 5.4 % to 16.2 %. Moreover, the overall accessibility of the forest increased. We found that 14 % of species did not recover as fast as predicted based on the observed forest regeneration over the study period. We found trapping to disproportionately impact species targeted for trade: compared to opportunistically trapped species, twice more species showed increased abundance only in very remote forests. Our results highlight the potential for rapid avifaunal recovery in regenerating tropical forests, but also emphasize the urgency of tackling the serious threat of wildlife trade to Southeast Asia's biodiversity.
| Ross, Samuel R. P. -J.; O'Connell, Darren P.; Deichmann, Jessica L.; Desjonquères, Camille; Gasc, Amandine; Phillips, Jennifer N.; Sethi, Sarab S.; Wood, Connor M.; Burivalova, Zuzana: Passive acoustic monitoring provides a fresh perspective on fundamental ecological questions. In: Functional Ecology, vol. 00, pp. 1-17, 2023. (Type: Journal Article | | )|
Abstract Passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) has emerged as a transformative tool for applied ecology, conservation and biodiversity monitoring, but its potential contribution to fundamental ecology is less often discussed, and fundamental PAM studies tend to be descriptive, rather than mechanistic. Here, we chart the most promising directions for ecologists wishing to use the suite of currently available acoustic methods to address long-standing fundamental questions in ecology and explore new avenues of research. In both terrestrial and aquatic habitats, PAM provides an opportunity to ask questions across multiple spatial scales and at fine temporal resolution, and to capture phenomena or species that are difficult to observe. In combination with traditional approaches to data collection, PAM could release ecologists from myriad limitations that have, at times, precluded mechanistic understanding. We discuss several case studies to demonstrate the potential contribution of PAM to biodiversity estimation, population trend analysis, assessing climate change impacts on phenology and distribution, and understanding disturbance and recovery dynamics. We also highlight what is on the horizon for PAM, in terms of near-future technological and methodological developments that have the potential to provide advances in coming years. Overall, we illustrate how ecologists can harness the power of PAM to address fundamental ecological questions in an era of ecology no longer characterised by data limitation. Read the free Plain Language Summary for this article on the Journal blog.
| Yoh, Natalie; Seaman, Dave JI; Deere, Nicolas J.; Bernard, Henry; Bicknell, Jake E.; Struebig, Matthew J.: Benign effects of logging on aerial insectivorous bats in Southeast Asia revealed by remote sensing technologies.. In: Journal of Applied Ecology, 2023. (Type: Journal Article | )|
| Burivalova, Z.; Maeda, T. M.; Purnomo,; Rayadin, Y.; Boucher, T.; Choksi, P.; Roe, P.; Truskinger, A.; Game, E. T.: Loss of temporal structure of tropical soundscapes with intensifying land use in Borneo. In: Science of The Total Environment, vol. 852, pp. 158268, 2022. (Type: Journal Article | | )|
Conservation and sustainable management efforts in tropical forests often lack reliable, effective, and easily-communicated ways to measure the biodiversity status of a protected or managed landscape. The sounds that many tropical species make can be recorded by pre-programmed devices and analysed to yield measures of biodiversity. Interpreting the resulting soundscapes has developed along two paths: analysing the whole soundscape using acoustic indices, used as a proxy of biodiversity, or focusing on individual species that can be either manually or automatically recognized from the soundscape. Here we develop an intermediate approach to divide the soundscape into frequency categories belonging to broad taxonomic groups of vocalizing animals. While the method was unable to distinguish between amphibian and mammal communities, it was successful in assigning parts of the soundscape as likely produced by birds and insects. Applying the approach in Borneo revealed that, with increasing land use intensity, i) the spectral saturation of the soundscape, a proxy of species richness, loses dawn and dusk peaks, ii) bird acoustic communities lose recurrent diurnal patterns, becoming less synchronized across sites, and that iii) insect Soundscape Saturation increases at night. If soundscapes are partitioned similarly in different regions, our method could be used to bridge soundscape-level and individual-species level analyses. Regaining dawn and dusk peaks, the synchrony of bird acoustic communities, and losing nocturnal dominance of insect could be used as a set of simple indicators of tropical forest retaining high levels of biodiversity.
| Yoh, Natalie; Clarke, James A.; López-Baucells, Adrià; Mas, Maria; Bobrowiec, Paulo E. D.; Rocha, Ricardo; Meyer, Christoph F. J.: Edge effects and vertical stratification of aerial insectivorous bats across the interface of primary-secondary Amazonian rainforest. In: PloS, vol. 17, no. 9, pp. e0274637, 2022. (Type: Journal Article | | )|
Edge effects, abiotic and biotic changes associated with habitat boundaries, are key drivers of community change in fragmented landscapes. Their influence is heavily modulated by matrix composition. With over half of the world’s tropical forests predicted to become forest edge by the end of the century, it is paramount that conservationists gain a better understanding of how tropical biota is impacted by edge gradients. Bats comprise a large fraction of tropical mammalian fauna and are demonstrably sensitive to habitat modification. Yet, knowledge about how bat assemblages are affected by edge effects remains scarce. Capitalizing on a whole-ecosystem manipulation in the Central Amazon, the aims of this study were to i) assess the consequences of edge effects for twelve aerial insectivorous bat species across the interface of primary and secondary forest, and ii) investigate if the activity levels of these species differed between the understory and canopy and if they were modulated by distance from the edge. Acoustic surveys were conducted along four 2-km transects, each traversing equal parts of primary and ca. 30-year-old secondary forest. Five models were used to assess the changes in the relative activity of forest specialists (three species), flexible forest foragers (three species), and edge foragers (six species). Modelling results revealed limited evidence of edge effects, except for forest specialists in the understory. No significant differences in activity were found between the secondary or primary forest but almost all species exhibited pronounced vertical stratification. Previously defined bat guilds appear to hold here as our study highlights that forest bats are more edge-sensitive than edge foraging bats. The absence of pronounced edge effects and the comparable activity levels between primary and old secondary forests indicates that old secondary forest can help ameliorate the consequences of fragmentation on tropical aerial insectivorous bats.
| Amavassee, Erwin Jayson; Lee, Marianne Allison; Ingram, Grace; Black, Simon A: Using the conservation excellence model to improve ecosystem restoration undertaken by organisations working in biodiversity hotspots. In: International Journal of Avian and Wildlife Biology, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 11-19, 2022. (Type: Journal Article | | )|
Ecosystem restoration is a relatively new discipline in conservation biology and good practice is needed to close the knowledge-action gap to implement evidence-based conservation and effective landscape recovery. The Conservation Excellence Model (CEM) has been used to evaluate over 100 conservation organisations including programmes involved in reforestation and ecosystem renewal. This study evaluates a reforestation initiative in Mauritius using the CEM methodology and compares the programme’s organisation with an equivalent Indian Ocean Island programme in Comoros. This study aims to identify whether improvements in reforestation can be identified by CEM evaluation, whether recommendations for these specific reforestation programmes generate learning about effective practices in the sector, and whether the CEM is a relevant tool for comparing effectiveness of reforestation initiatives. The Mauritius programme is shown to utilise sound approaches, whilst being a relatively new organisation (with a profile of more than 350 points), yet can still make improvements already implemented and observed in its Comorian equivalent, which will enable significant improvement in approach and results in the future. The findings identify the importance of addressing threats and factors influencing ecosystem degradation, ensuring links between agricultural and reforestation goals, involvement of local communities, resilient management teams, and having teams based on local staff. CEM assessment provides a rapid, low-intensity approach to investigate connections and facilitate improvements in organisational practice, enhance conservation and restoration work, and enable a more purposeful effort to ensure advances in achievement, outcomes and impact of reforestation initiatives.
| Buřivalová, Zuzana; Rosin, Cooper; Buchner, Johanna; Radeloff, Volker C.; Ocampo-Peñuela, Natalia: Conservation responsibility for bird species in tropical logged forests. In: Conservation Letters, vol. n/a, no. n/a, pp. e12903, 2022. (Type: Journal Article | | )|
Abstract Unprotected lands can help prevent the extinctions of species if managed carefully. Over half of the tropical forest is leased by logging companies, whereas only 6%–18% is protected. This makes the timber industry, institutions that regulate it, and consumers of its products important actors in conservation. We assessed the conservation responsibility, the proportion of a species’ range that tropical timber industry concessions overlap with, for bird species that decline after selective logging. Up to 32% of the global range and up to 100% of the national range of sensitive species within our study countries are leased by logging companies. Individual concessions overlap with the ranges of up to 25 sensitive and more than 500 total bird species, with a particularly high density in Borneo. Our results can inform governments, forest managers, sustainability certifiers, and consumers so that they can turn this responsibility into a conservation opportunity through interventions at multiple scales.
| Ruis, A. R.; Siebert-Evenstone, A. L.; Brohinsky, J.; Tan, Y.; Hinojosa, C. L.; Cai, Z.; Marquart, C. L.; Lark, T. J.; Barford, C.; Shaffer, D. W.: Localizing Socio-Environmental Problem Solving. In: International Collaboration toward Educational Innovation for All: Overarching Research, Development, and Practices: 15th International Conference on Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL), Weinberger, A.; Chen, W.; Hernández-Leo, D.; Chen, B. (Ed.): pp. 459–462, 2022. (Type: Journal Article | | )|
In this paper, we describe iPlan, a web-based software platform for constructing localized, reduced-form models of land-use impacts, enabling students, civic representatives, and others without specialized knowledge of land-use planning practices to explore and evaluate possible solutions to complex, multi-objective land-use problems in their own local contexts.
| Gesangyangji,; Vimont, Daniel J; Holloway, Tracey; Lorenz, David J: A methodology for evaluating the effects of climate change on climatic design conditions for buildings and application to a case study in Madison, Wisconsin. In: Environmental Research: Infrastructure and Sustainability, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 025007, 2022. (Type: Journal Article | | )|
Climatic design conditions are widely used by the building community as environmental parameters informing the size and energy requirements for heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, along with other building design characteristics. Climatic design conditions are calculated by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-conditioning Engineers using historical climate data. Our work advances methods for projecting future climate design conditions based on data from global climate models. These models do not typically archive the hourly data required for climate design condition calculations, and they often exhibit large biases in extreme conditions, daily minimum temperatures and daily maximum temperatures needed for climatic design conditions. We present a method for rescaling historical hourly data under future climatic states to estimate the impact of climate change on future building climatic design conditions. This rescaling method is then used to calculate future climatic design conditions in Madison, Wisconsin, throughout the 21st century for two future greenhouse gas emissions scenarios. The results are consistent with a warming climate and show increases in heating, cooling, humidification and dehumidification design conditions, suggesting less extreme cold conditions and more extreme hot and humid conditions in Madison. The design conditions used for estimating energy demand, degree days, show that under a business-as-usual scenario, by the mid-century, building heating and cooling in Madison (climate zone 5A) will be similar to the current heating demand in Chicago, IL (climate zone 5A) and cooling demand in Baltimore, MD (climate zone 4A); by the late-century, building heating and cooling in Madison will resemble the current heating demand in St Louis, MO (climate zone 4A) and cooling demand in Augusta, GA (climate zone 3A). Given the rapid pace of climate change in the 21st century, our work suggests that historical design conditions may become obsolete during even the initial stages of a building’s expected life span. Changes in climatic design conditions in Madison highlight the importance of considering future climatic changes in building design to ensure that buildings built today meet the performance needs of the future.
| Lesiv, Myroslava; Schepaschenko, Dmitry; Buchhorn, Marcel; See, Linda; Dürauer, Martina; Georgieva, Ivelina; Jung, Martin; et al,: Global forest management data for 2015 at a 100m resolution. In: Scientific Data, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 199, 2022, ISSN: 2052-4463. (Type: Journal Article | | )|
Spatially explicit information on forest management at a global scale is critical for understanding the status of forests, for planning sustainable forest management and restoration, and conservation activities. Here, we produce the first reference data set and a prototype of a globally consistent forest management map with high spatial detail on the most prevalent forest management classes such as intact forests, managed forests with natural regeneration, planted forests, plantation forest (rotation up to 15 years), oil palm plantations, and agroforestry. We developed the reference dataset of 226K unique locations through a series of expert and crowdsourcing campaigns using Geo-Wiki (https://www.geo-wiki.org/). We then combined the reference samples with time series from PROBA-V satellite imagery to create a global wall-to-wall map of forest management at a 100m resolution for the year 2015, with forest management class accuracies ranging from 58% to 80%. The reference data set and the map present the status of forest ecosystems and can be used for investigating the value of forests for species, ecosystems and their services.
| Skidmore, Marin Elisabeth; Sims, Kaitlyn M; Rausch, Lisa L; Gibbs, Holly K: Sustainable intensification in the Brazilian cattle industry: the role for reduced slaughter age. In: Environmental Research Letters, vol. 17, no. 6, pp. 064026, 2022. (Type: Journal Article | | )|
The cattle industry in the Brazilian Amazon causes vast deforestation while producing at only one-third of the sustainable capacity. Slaughtering cattle at a younger age directly increases production per hectare per year, all else equal, and provides a potential path for sustainable intensification. Here we show that slaughter age is decreasing in the Amazon biome, but this increase in productivity varies across space and throughout the cattle supply chain. We characterize the properties and municipalities that have reduced slaughter age, providing insights into the incentives and barriers to this form of intensification. Most notably, reductions in slaughter age occurred in regions with low remaining forest cover and on properties with little current deforestation, suggesting that ranchers intensify via slaughter age as an alternative to deforestation. We then estimate how changing production practices to reduce slaughter age can reduce enteric methane emissions, accounting for production of additional feed. Our results indicate that reducing slaughter age through improved pasture and feed sources are a path to lower global GHG emissions from cattle production, particularly as beef is increasingly produced in developing countries with historically higher emissions. Yet in the Amazon, deforestation remains the leading source of GHG emissions, necessitating that any effort to reduce slaughter age must be coupled with strict enforcement of zero-deforestation policy. Our findings demonstrate the potential of policy limiting deforestation as a means to reduce both emissions from deforestation and enteric emissions from cattle.
| Nsikani, Mlungele M.; Anderson, Pippin; Bouragaoui, Zakher; Geerts, Sjirk; Gornish, Elise S.; Kairo, James G.; Khan, Nasreen; Madikizela, Bonani; Mganga, Kevin Z.; Ntshotsho, Phumza; Okafor-Yarwood, Ifesinachi; Webster, Kayla M. E.; Peer, Nasreen: UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration: key considerations for Africa. In: Restoration Ecology, pp. e13699, 2022. (Type: Journal Article | )|
| Campbell, Tracy A.; Booth, Eric G.; Gratton, Claudio; Jackson, Randall D.; Kucharik, Christopher J.: Agricultural Landscape Transformation Needed to Meet Water Quality Goals in the Yahara River Watershed of Southern Wisconsin. In: Ecosystems, vol. 25, no. 3, pp. 507-525, 2022, ISSN: 1435-0629. (Type: Journal Article | | )|
Balancing agricultural production with other ecosystem services is a vexing challenge. The Yahara River watershed in southern Wisconsin is a place where tensions among farmers, policymakers, and citizens at-large run high because nutrient loss from the agricultural practices of a few drive the impairment of surface waters for many. Reducing manure and fertilizer application, as well as increasing perennial grass cover have been proposed as potential solutions. Using the Agro-IBIS agroecosystem model, we examined 48 scenarios of future land management and climate for the Yahara River watershed to the year 2070. Scenarios included combinations of reduced livestock and increased perennial grassland under alternative climate trajectories. Results suggested that business as usual will lead to further environmental degradation with phosphorus-loading to waterways increasing 13, 7, and 23% under baseline, warmer and drier, and warmer and wetter climates, respectively. Watershed-wide phosphorous yield and nitrate leaching could be reduced by 50%, but only when nutrient application was reduced 50% and grassland cover was increased 50%. Furthermore, water quality improvements only materialized 50 years after modified land management practices were implemented under the most likely future climate. Our findings highlight that improving water quality under a changing climate will require long-term investment and transformative changes to current agricultural land use and land cover. Agricultural management solutions exist but are unlikely to be implemented without policies that incentivize transformative agricultural change.
| Michalska-Smith, Matthew; Song, Zewei; Spawn-Lee, Seth A.; Hansen, Zoe A.; Johnson, Mitch; May, Georgiana; Borer, Elizabeth T.; Seabloom, Eric W.; Kinkel, Linda L.: Network structure of resource use and niche overlap within the endophytic microbiome. In: The ISME Journal, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 435-446, 2022, ISSN: 1751-7370. (Type: Journal Article | | )|
Endophytes often have dramatic effects on their host plants. Characterizing the relationships among members of these communities has focused on identifying the effects of single microbes on their host, but has generally overlooked interactions among the myriad microbes in natural communities as well as potential higher-order interactions. Network analyses offer a powerful means for characterizing patterns of interaction among microbial members of the phytobiome that may be crucial to mediating its assembly and function. We sampled twelve endophytic communities, comparing patterns of niche overlap between coexisting bacteria and fungi to evaluate the effect of nutrient supplementation on local and global competitive network structure. We found that, despite differences in the degree distribution, there were few significant differences in the global network structure of niche-overlap networks following persistent nutrient amendment. Likewise, we found idiosyncratic and weak evidence for higher-order interactions regardless of nutrient treatment. This work provides a first-time characterization of niche-overlap network structure in endophytic communities and serves as a framework for higher-resolution analyses of microbial interaction networks as a consequence and a cause of ecological variation in microbiome function.
| Edwards, Morgan R; Cui, Ryna; Bindl, Matilyn; Hultman, Nathan; Mathur, Krinjal; McJeon, Haewon; Iyer, Gokul; Song, Jiawei; Zhao, Alicia: Quantifying the regional stranded asset risks from new coal plants under 1.5 °C. In: Environmental Research Letters, vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 024029, 2022. (Type: Journal Article | | )|
Momentum to phase out unabated coal use is growing globally. This transition is critical to meeting the Paris climate goals but can potentially lead to large amounts of stranded assets, especially in regions with newer and growing coal fleets. Here we combine plant-level data with a global integrated assessment model to quantify changes in global stranded asset risks from coal-fired power plants across regions and over time. With new plant proposals, cancellations, and retirements over the past five years, global net committed emissions in 2030 from existing and planned coal plants declined by 3.3 GtCO2 (25%). While these emissions are now roughly in line with initial Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the Paris Agreement, they remain far off track from longer-term climate goals. Progress made in 2021 towards no new coal can potentially avoid a 24% (503 GW) increase in capacity and a 55% ($520 billion) increase in stranded assets under 1.5 °C. Stranded asset risks fall disproportionately on emerging Asian economies with newer and growing coal fleets. Recent no new coal commitments from major coal financers can potentially reduce stranding of international investments by over 50%.
| Booth, Eric G.; Kucharik, Christopher J.: Data inaccessibility at sub-county scale limits implementation of manuresheds. In: Journal of Environmental Quality, vol. 51, no. 4, pp. 614-621, 2022. (Type: Journal Article | | )|
Abstract The manureshed concept aims to rebalance surplus manure nutrients produced at animal feeding operations (sources) and the demands from nutrient-deficient croplands (sinks) to reduce negative environmental impacts and utilize nutrients more efficiently. Due to water quality implications, studies focused on this rebalancing have typically created domain boundaries that match a particular watershed. However, a majority of agricultural datasets that are used to inform these analyses—specifically, livestock populations—are only available at the county scale, which generally does not match watershed boundaries. The common method used to address this mismatch is to weight the county statistics based on the proportion of watershed area within the county. However, these straightforward assumptions imply that animal density is uniform across a county, which can be highly problematic, especially in an era of increasing concentration of livestock production on a smaller land area. We present a case study of the Lake Mendota watershed in south-central Wisconsin using both a typical county-based downscaled dataset as well as a more spatially explicit dataset of livestock counts from the Census of Agriculture that aggregates a set of zip codes that best matches the watershed boundary. This comparison reveals a substantial difference in estimated livestock numbers and their associated manure production that is due to a concentration of dairy operations within the watershed compared with the rest of the county. We argue that sub-county scale data need to become more available and integrated into nutrient and water quality management efforts so that manuresheds can be more effectively delineated and implemented.
| Goldberg, D.; Harkey, M.; Foy, B.; Judd, L.; Johnson, J.; Yarwood, G.; Holloway, T.: Evaluating NOx emissions and their effect on O3 production in Texas using TROPOMI NO2 and HCHO. In: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions, vol. 2022, pp. 1-33, 2022. (Type: Journal Article | )|