Articles recommended by The Wildlife Professionalís Science Advisory Board

Read article abstracts from last quarter’s The Journal of Wildlife Management:
JWM Vol. 72, No. 3
JWM Vol. 72, No. 4

BioScience
Volume 57, Number 11
Daniel McKenney, John Pedlar, Kevin Lawrence, Kathy Campbell, and Michael Hutchinson
Potential Impacts of Climate Change on the Distribution of North American Trees
Abstract
The authors project tree distribution under two scenarios: that trees shift in distribution to areas which will acquire a climate akin to the trees’ native climate, and that trees do not shift distribution but shrink their occurrence to areas with a climate that can still support them. They say the most likely scenario will, in all likelihood, not be like either of these extremes but rather somewhere in the middle. With the first scenario, the models predict an overall decline in range size of 12 percent and a northward shift of 700 km. With the second, models indicate that ranges will decrease in size by 58 percent and shift northward 330 km. Both situations involve a major shuffle in plant communities and downstream effects on wildlife.

BioScience
Volume 58, Number 2
Gregory J. Nowacki and Marc D. Abrams
The Demise of Fire and “Mesophication” of Forests in the Eastern United States
Abstract
The fire-suppression policies of the United States, which started in the 1920s, altered the ecosystems of the East. Open landscapes changed into forest communities, which allowed the growth of fire-sensitive, shade-tolerant plants. The authors term this feedback mechanism “mesophication” and note that restoring fire-adapted ecosystems will be a costly and difficult venture.

 
BioScience
Volume 58, Number 3
Jeffrey P. Cohn
Citizen Science: Can Volunteers Do Real Research?
Abstract
This is an article about how non-scientists can help with wildlife research by volunteering in various capacities.

 

BioScience
Volume 58, Number 3
John A. Wiens, Gregory D. Hayward, Richard S. Holthausen, and Michale J. Wisdom
Using Surrogate Species and Groups for Conservation Planning and Management
Abstract
This article considers the use of “surrogate” species or groups of species to stand in for larger sets of species when developing conservation and management plans. They use the Columbian Basin as an example, outlining 10 items that may enhance the effectiveness of using surrogate species, including specifying management or conservation objectives, identifying criteria for choosing a surrogate, and monitoring the effectiveness of the approach.

 
Conservation Biology

Volume 21, Number 6
Rurik List, Gerardo Ceballos, Charles Curtin, Peter J. P. Gogan, Jesus Pacheco, and Joe Truett
Historic Distribution and Challenges to Bison Recovery in the Northern Chihuahuan Desert
Abstract
Though bison are well known for roaming the plains of the U.S. and Canada, the southern reach of their range has been controversial. In this essay, researchers present archaeological and ecological evidence supporting a southern border for bison into the northern Chihuahuan Desert. Because this desert and shrubland habitat supported bison historically, the authors suggest that bison could again graze in these habitats, despite the fact that New Mexico does not recognize bison as a native species. To do this, however, requires recognition of bison as a native species and accommodating these wild grazers within areas that are now primarily grazed by livestock.

 

Conservation Biology
Volume 22, Number 1
Holly P. Jones et al.
Severity of the Effect of Invasive Rats on Seabirds: A Global Review
Abstract
This review article examined 94 separate studies on rats and their effect on seabirds, specifically on islands or island chains. They found that small burrow-nesting seabirds were most affected by invasive rat species, while large, ground-nesting seabirds were affected the least by rats. Given seabirds’ important role in marine ecosystems, the authors say their review should help conservationists and managers identify where to expend their efforts toward rat control or eradication.

 

Human-Wildlife Conflicts
Volume 2, Number 1
Ben West
Echinacea and deer whistles: science and trust in the wildlife arena
Full text
This is a commentary about how even scientists can “fall for” ideas that aren’t based in science. As examples, West offers an anecdote about a scientist colleague who swore by Echinacea as a treatment for the common cold, even though no scientific evidence backs its usefulness. Another example is about deer whistles, which are promoted by various insurance companies, police officials, and others, but which have no effect on deer, according to the scientific literature. West uses these examples to emphasize that wildlife researchers should not depend on the scientific facts alone when communicating with their colleagues and especially the public. Instead, they should focus on developing trust and collaboration to get needed work done.

 

Journal of Wildlife Management
Volume 72, Number 2
Schwartz et al.
Evaluation of rules to distinguish unique female grizzly bears with cubs in Yellowstone
Abstract
This paper has some pretty profound management implications for one simple reason. The authors found that the current ways of estimating females with cubs is conservative, but that with refinement, could provide a good index of population size. More importantly, such an index would provide a much better understanding of allowable mortality rates. Lastly, the index they developed was more practical and cost-effective than the other techniques used in the past on Yellowstone and other areas grizzlies occur (hair snaring and mark recapture). I think this paper is a nice management piece that will save folks money and improve our understanding of grizzly populations in general.

 

PLOS Biology
Volume 6, Number 3
Boitani et al.
Change the IUCN Protected Area Categories to Reflect Biodiversity Outcomes
Abstract
This is a perspective on the way the IUCN classifies so-called “protected areas” (parks, refuges, and the like). Starting in 1994, the IUCN started classifying PAs by their primary management objectives, such as education, restoration, utilization of natural resources, etc. The authors put forward the argument that this classification system has lost value as parks have grown in conservation importance. As an alternative, they suggest PAs be categorized by their conservation outcome objective. In other words, by identifying the biodiversity the PA was established to protect and by identifying how that biodiversity might continue to be protected.

 

Science
Volume 318, Number 5857
O. Hoegh-Guldberg et al.
Coral Reefs Under Rapid Climate Change and Ocean Acidification
Abstract
This is a review of the literature on climate change and coral reefs. It touches on the effects of climate change on reefs, specifically coral bleaching and ocean acidification, and predicts the impact of each based on different climate warming scenarios. The review also touches on ecological feedback loops, different trajectories that may occur in response to climate change, and the socioeconomic impacts of reef decline, which includes a loss of tourism income and reef fish productivity. Finally the authors discuss opportunities for management intervention, such as reducing the influence of local stressors like declining water quality, coastal pollution and overexploitation of key groups like herbivores.

 

Science
Volume 318, Number 5857
Carlos Guiltherme Becker, Carlos Roberto Fonseca, Celio Fernando Baptista Haddad, Romulo Fernandes Batista, Paulo Inacio Prado
Habitat Split and the Global Decline of Amphibians
Abstract
In this paper, researchers offer an additional reason why amphibian populations are in trouble around the globe. Terming the cause “habitat split,” the authors explain that human activities have, in many instances, divided the habitat required by amphibians of one life stage (larva) from the habitat required by another stage of the same species (adults). Specifically, the authors examine the situation in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, finding that habitat split negatively affected species with an aquatic larval stage, but not those species with terrestrial larval stages.

 

Science
Volume 318, Number 5858
Tim Clutton-Brock
Sexual Selection in Males and Females (Review)
Abstract
This article is a review of the literature that offers a new way of considering sexual selection. Clutton-Brock notes that sexual selection in females is present and obvious in many species but has gotten relatively little attention. He also notes that the mechanisms controlling evolution of sexual characters is more complex than once thought, but emphasizes that this complexity doesn’t “undermine its basic structure” as a framework for thinking about evolution.

 

Science
Volume 319, Number 5867
Joseph Fargione, Jason Hill, David Tilman, Stephen Polasky, and Peter Hawthorne
Land Clearing and the Biofuel Carbon Debt
Abstract
Biofuels have been highlighted as one solution to the problem of curtailing greenhouse gas emissions. But when high value lands like rainforests, peatlands, savannas or grasslands are converted to biofuel crops, carbon dioxide is emitted. The authors calculated how much CO2 would be emitted under six different conversion scenarios (e.g. Amazon to soybean biodiesel, Malaysian lowland tropical rainforest to palm biodiesel, etc.) and how this would compare to the GHG savings of using the produced biofuels. They found that converting these native habitats would release 17 to 420 times more CO2 than the annual reduction from using biofuels would provide.

 

Science
Volume 319, Number 5867
Timothy Searchinger et al.
Use of U.S. Croplands for Biofuels Increases Greenhouse Gases Through Emissions from Land-Use Change
Abstract
Very similar to the article above (we could pair the two together), except focuses exclusive on the conversion of U.S. croplands to corn-based ethanol crops. The authors find that, instead of reducing GHG emissions, converting crops would double GHG emissions of the next 30 years and increase GHG for the next 167 years. An increase would even be present if switchgrass was used. The authors say this highlights the potential value of using waste products to produce ethanol.

 
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