What We’re Reading- June 8, 2018

Stakeholders Diverse Interests in Endangered Vulture Conservation
The Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) is an endangered bird native across northern Africa, the Middle East, and as far east as the Indian subcontinent.  Researchers asked diverse stakeholders including hunters, ranchers, and tourists in northern Spain (the upper range of the vulture’s distribution) about their knowledge of the species and the value they placed on the birds.  Unsurprisingly, the authors found that knowledge of threatened status and diverse ecosystem services provided by the vulture (e.g. carcass removal, pest control, etc.) varied by stakeholder group.  They also found that each stakeholder group suggested different conservation actions that had some concordance with their stakeholder group perspective; for example, tourists suggested adding fees for entry into the protective area, suggesting these would not be a deterrent for ecotourism.  Thus the authors suggest a multi-faceted approach to conservation stemming from engaging the diverse stakeholders.

Species Specificity in the Impacts of Logging
This paper assessed distance of nest sites before, during, and after timber harvest over a nine year period for chimpanzees and gorillas!  The authors found differences in how each species coped with logging.  Chimpanzees shifted their ranges on a smaller spatial scale to stay near the fruit trees they rely on; whereas gorillas moved greater distances away from logging, potentially because they are diet generalists.  However, gorillas were able to move back after human activity ended.  The authors have an engaging discussion section where they focus on the nuances of their findings and highlight different behaviors in the two species.  They hypothesize that selective timber harvest may favor diet generalists.  When thinking about how to balance timber extraction with great ape conservation, this study highlights how each species needs unique resources and thus unique conservation strategies, otherwise the resource extraction plan could favor one endangered species over another.

Side image of timber harvest of gorilla habitat by Ian Redman via ARKive.

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