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Biodiversity, Threatened and Imperiled Species

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This digital collection includes presentations given at the 8th International Wildlife Ranching Symposium held in 2014 for the symposium theme: Biodiversity, Threatened and Imperiled Species.


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  • ItemOpen Access
    Supporting landscape-scale planning with decision support toolkits
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2014-09) Crist, Patrick, speaker; Anderson, David, moderator; International Wildlife Ranching Symposium, producer
    Conservation decisions often come down to actions by individual private landowners, whether it be acquisition of easements, land or development rights; outreach and education, assistance with restoration, etc. To target the locations that will offer the most conservation benefit, it is useful to put decisions into a larger landscape context. A broader context can help identify areas that can conserve the most valuable areas with least conflicts and perhaps lower cost; in other words, a larger context provides more options. However, there is often a disconnect between conservation plans developed at broad scales of landscapes or ecoregions and implementation that must happen at the site scale. This disconnect can happen for many reasons, one being that broad-scale plans are often developed using coarser data or planning units that may not be informative to site-level decision making. This presentation will illustrate with real-world examples the application of decision support toolkits that are able to support both landscape-scale assessment and prioritization, and site-level decision making. This is accomplished through the use of a framework planning tool, NatureServe Vista that, unlike many conservation tools, retains data in its source resolution. Vista can facilitate cumulative effects assessment and landscape prioritization; then be used to explore, assess, and plan actions for individual sites. In this presentation we will illustrate the multi-scale application for both coastal and inland areas.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Critical ecosystem profile for the tropical Andes - engaging civil society to conserve a biodiversity hotspot
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2014-09) Comer, Patrick, speaker; Anderson, David, moderator; International Wildlife Ranching Symposium, producer
    The Tropical Andes is among the top of the list of worldwide hotspots for endemic species. This region also supports exceptional cultural diversity and large populations of indigenous peoples. Home to some of the earliest recorded human civilizations, the Andes are also where numerous crops, including potatoes, beans, quinoa, amaranth, tobacco, and coca were first domesticated. Indigenous populations today play important roles in economic activities, politics, and land use and stewardship, and therefore can be important allies in biodiversity conservation. This biodiversity hotspot is identified as one of the most severely threatened areas in the tropics. The numerous threats to the tropical Andes' biodiversity have been compounded in recent years by the manifold impacts of climate change. A Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) aims to ensure that civil society is engaged in efforts to conserve biodiversity in the hotspots, and to this end, CEPF provides civil society with an agile and flexible funding mechanism complementing funding currently available to government agencies. In 2013, CEPF began exploring an investment program in the Tropical Andes Hotspot, extending from Venezuela to northern Argentina. NatureServe led a team to delineate Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) areas in most critical need of protection to limit species extinction. Regional threats analyses and workshops were conducted, documenting strategies for civil society to pursue around each KBA. CEPF promotes working alliances among community-based organizations (CBOs), nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), government, academic institutions and the private sector, combining unique capacities and eliminating duplicative efforts for a comprehensive approach to conservation.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Linking sustainable forest management with habitat conservation for the Amur tiger (Panthera tigris altaica)
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2014-09) Han, Xuemei, speaker; Anderson, David, moderator; International Wildlife Ranching Symposium, producer
    The critically endangered wild cat, Amur tiger (Panthera tigris altaica), has experienced a serious shrinking of its range and a significant population decline during the past century in Northeastern China and Russian Far East. This study demonstrates a multi-disciplinary approach to conserve the Amur tiger habitat through sustainable forest management. The forests habitat was evaluated from a dynamic perspective. By applying multiple metrological silvicultural methods, innovative habitat mapping based on the remote sensed data, and the computer model, Landscape Management System, a design of sustainable forest management plan was suggested to keep a diversified stand structures is critical to conserve Amur tigers in Northeast China.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The potential of wildlife to improve the standard of living and food security in rural Africa
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2014-09) van Hoven, Wouter, speaker; International Wildlife Ranching Symposium, producer
    Poaching, unsustainable wildlife utilization practices and the bush meat trade has cleared wildlife out of many of their former natural habitats in Africa. Based on the success of reintroducing wildlife into the Quicama National Park in Angola in cooperation with the local community, all wildlife that have been settled in the wildlife sterile landscape has flourished, multiplied and not one was lost to poaching over the past 12 years. The community is benefitting now from the Park through amongst others employment and the tourist camp is permanently fully booked. Amongst others, the 34 elephants that were airlifted there in family groups have increased to 120. South Africa has experienced a forty fold increase in its wildlife numbers over a period of 50 years due to the private sector and communities taking custodianship of wildlife on private lands. Based on these experiences and successes in starting new nodes of wildlife in Angola, wildlife can be established in other parts of Africa where civil war and over-utilization like in the bush meat trade has wiped wildlife out. The clearest successes in promoting wildlife conservation outside of protected areas in Africa have been achieved where authority to manage and utilize wildlife has been devolved to the landholder level.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Biodiversity conservation on private and communal lands
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2014-09) Sueltenfuss, Jeremy, speaker; Anderson, David, moderator; International Wildlife Ranching Symposium, producer
    How are we doing in conserving Colorado's Biodiversity? How much of it is left? Are there landscapes in Colorado where we still have the basic fabric intact to conserve entire systems? Are there hotspots where actions are more urgent than others? Are there species and places that we've successfully conserved through our actions? What role might private lands play in the big picture for conserving Colorado's biodiversity, now and in the future? What strategies are most likely to be effective given what remains? These are some of the many big questions that The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the Colorado Natural Heritage Program (CNHP) have worked to answer collaboratively. Our efforts, which culminated in the publication of the State of Colorado's Biodiversity, began as a way to support TNC's Measures of Success Program, but we soon realized that answering these questions would benefit leaders, managers, decision makers, as well as the general public and the private landowners in whose hands so much of our sustainable future rests. With an emphasis on private lands, we will share the results of this work, examine how it is being implemented broadly to support conservation statewide, and how it is serving as a model for other such efforts.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Rare plant conservation initiative: saving Colorado's wildflowers
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2014-09) Panjabi, Susan Spackman, speaker; Anderson, David, moderator; International Wildlife Ranching Symposium, producer
    The Colorado Rare Plant Conservation Initiative (RPCI) is a diverse partnership of public agencies, private organizations and academic institutions. The overall goal of the RPCI is to conserve Colorado's most imperiled native plants (122 plant species at significant risk of extinction) and their habitats through collaborative partnerships for the preservation of our natural heritage and the benefit of future generations. This partnership has produced a strategy for Colorado's imperiled plants and their habitats that represents a collective vision for plant conservation in Colorado, emphasizing a proactive approach to ensure the long-term stewardship and viability of Colorado's rarest plants. The strategy identifies six objectives for the next ten years: 1) secure on-the-ground, site-specific habitat protection, 2) minimize the impacts of specific land uses, 3) improve scientific understanding through inventory, research and monitoring, 4) develop and implement a state program and polices, 5) facilitate stewardship through education and outreach, and 6) adopt measures for off-site conservation. The implementation of this strategy is supporting a systematic and meaningful advance in plant conservation in Colorado, with the aim of avoiding the need for federal listings. The efforts of RPCI, including Conservation Action Planning workshops, legislative initiatives, research projects, and the development of Best Management Practices, have already led to significant progress for rare plant conservation in Colorado with respect to policy, on-the-ground action, and awareness of rare plants. The strategy has become a model for collaborative plant conservation, and this approach is now being implemented and expanded to other states and internationally.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Wetland condition assessment on Colorado private lands
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2014-09) Lemly, Joanna, speaker; Anderson, David, moderator; International Wildlife Ranching Symposium, producer
    Wetlands are recognized as vital ecosystems to protect at all levels because of their importance in many ecological roles, including wildlife habitat. In Colorado they occupy approximately 2% of the state's area, yet provide habitat for over 75% of species in the state. A vast majority of Colorado's land is privately owned, making wetlands on private lands and collaborations with those private landowners an integral part of the protection and management of wetlands. Recognizing this fact, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) awards up to $1.5 million annually for habitat improvement projects in wetlands, much of which occurs on private lands. To assist with their endeavor, the Colorado Natural Heritage Program (CNHP) has partnered with CPW to assess the condition and habitat value of wetlands in Colorado. The information gathered from these projects helps CPW target locations and wetland types most in need of restoration or habitat enhancement. To date, four major river basins have been assessed: the Rio Grande Headwaters, North Platte Watershed, South Platte Watershed, and the Lower Arkansas River Watershed. CNHP also strives to make the information from these studies available and useful for private landowners. Working with private landowners often necessitates a heightened awareness of data sensitivity, as landowners are concerned about who might have access to information about their land. CNHP takes these issues very seriously and takes several steps to protect private data, which has led to greater access to private lands around the state for data collection.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Protecting the Florida panther and panther habitat on private lands: conflicts and management
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2014-09) Pienaar, Elizabeth F., speaker; Kreye, Melissa M., speaker; Anderson, David, moderator; International Wildlife Ranching Symposium, producer
    Although it is protected by the Endangered Species Act, both management and recovery of the Florida panther is contingent on habitat conservation on private lands as well as landowner support for panther conservation efforts. Conflict over cattle depredation by the Florida panther and mitigation for incidental take of the panther has contributed to the formation of the Florida Panther Recovery Implementation Team by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). This Team consists of representatives of the USFWS, the National Park Service, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), environmental NGOs and private landowners, with a mandate to facilitate the recovery of the Florida panther, in part by addressing the human dimensions of panther recovery. One of the key challenges that agencies face is how to engage stakeholders (in particular landowners) in panther management, which is particularly difficult when there is a history of distrust between agencies and stakeholders. To assist in these efforts, I conducted interviews and focus group meetings with a variety of stakeholders to assess their opinions about human-panther conflict, options for managing the Florida panther on private lands, habitat conservation incentives, and the role of agencies in mitigating human-panther conflicts. I will present a synthesis of these discussions and I will highlight the key areas of contention and conflict between various stakeholder groups that must be addressed in order to attain panther recovery.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Evaluating wetland condition in urban Denver
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2014-09) Smith, Gabrielle, speaker; Kuhn, Bernadette, speaker; Smith, Pam, speaker; Sueltenfuss, Jeremy, speaker; Anderson, David, moderator; International Wildlife Ranching Symposium, producer
    Denver's urban wetlands are poorly mapped, understudied as critical wildlife habitat, and perpetually subject to frequent anthropogenic disturbance. As Denver County continues to lead the state in population growth, current information on the location and status of these wetlands is needed for city planners, land managers, and the public to prioritize conservation and restoration efforts. Our team conducted field-based wetland assessments at 27 sites within Denver County, as well 4 several locations in Denver's Mountain Parks. We used NatureServe's Environmental Integrity Assessment framework, a multi-metric index based on four major scoring categories: landscape context, biotic condition, hydrologic condition, and physiochemical condition. In addition, we used 2010 color infrared imagery to create an updated National Wetland Inventory GIS layer of wetlands in Denver County. NWI maps have not been updated for the County since 1985. We used our results to create a list of prioritized wetlands for conservation and restoration. Despite the poor ecological condition of most sites, our team identified urban wetlands with high plant diversity, rare plant species, and even a rare amphibian occurrence. Our results suggest that although the majority of these wetlands are highly disturbed, they provide critical refuges for wildlife and plant diversity in an otherwise developed landscape.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Private lands for public access: the Sutter Buttes of California
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2014-09) Anderson, Walt, speaker; Anderson, David, moderator; International Wildlife Ranching Symposium, producer
    The Sutter Buttes, the only mountain range in California's Central Valley, rise from an intensely cultivated, highly altered landscape. Fences divide the land by property ownership, keeping livestock in and trespassers out. It was inevitable in urbanizing California that the general public would want to get beyond fences to hike, explore, and take photographs. Pressure for a state park mounted, creating a polarized division between private landowners and access-demanding public. Out of conflict arose innovation: a program of public access and interpretation was developed on one ranch property; later the author expanded the concept to about 40 properties in the range. Landowners were compensated for public access, allowing traditional uses (cattle and sheep ranching) to co-exist with hikes and workshops covering geology, natural and cultural history, and environmental education. At the same time, sensitive areas (e.g., eagle eyries, bat colonies) could be protected. From a private enterprise company (Sutter Buttes Naturalists) evolved the Middle Mountain Foundation, now the Sutter Buttes Regional Land Trust. Landowners and "outsiders" together are active in land management, conservation, and education issues, demonstrating that local communities can achieve desired goals without the need for government involvement. The evolving model met its founder's goals of achieving a "positive spirit of constructive collaboration"; new issues are dealt with as they arise. Non-destructive public use has led to economic development, conservation of natural resources, and changes in attitudes and cultural perceptions. Thousands are exposed to the model and landscape at an Oakland Museum exhibit.
  • ItemOpen Access
    WPS's approach to Sumatran Rhino conservation in Indonesia
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2014-09) Schmidt, Eric, speaker; van Hoven, Wouter, moderator; International Wildlife Ranching Symposium, producer
    Wildlife Protection Solutions (WPS) is an international non-profit group dedicated to the conservation of endangered species. Our current focus is on the five species of rhinos, with a special emphasis on creating habitat and breeding programs that will allow rhino populations to grow faster than they are being poached. We relocate rhinos and then combine proven field methods with the latest remote sensing and drone technologies to protect endangered species.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Unmanned aerial systems to fight rhino poaching
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2014-09) Koster, Jean, author; van Hoven, Wouter, moderator; International Wildlife Ranching Symposium, publisher
    Rampant Rhino poaching is a key concern for Africa and specifically for Kruger National Park. Many conservation organizations concluded that to combat poaching new technology helps – such as GPS collars and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). The result has been disappointing so far; as the poaching increased exponentially. Rangers need additional help; and an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) may provide a solution. Using UAS to fight poaching is a daunting task. First, places like Kruger have to be considered "harsh environments". Most UAV that people promote for the commercial market do not meet such requirements. Military UAS who could handle harsh environments are too costly. This presentation discusses the opportunities and systems engineering of how UAS may support the rangers in the war against poaching; and help protect rhinos and rangers. The systems engineering includes common UAV technologies, additional technologies, and concepts of operations, risks, and ancillary helpful actions. There are 2 key UAS that could be operated by rangers: 1) A centrally controlled sector aircraft. 2) A field deployable aircraft. Both could be either fixed wing aircraft or helicopter type aircraft; both have their specific applications and system requirements. In addition to these architectures there are other systems that are needed to increase success rate: for example ground systems. This presentation will discuss opportunities and concerns about using UAS in the fight against poaching of rhinos and other wildlife.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The biodiversity indicators dashboard: monitoring biodiversity trend and conservation performance
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2014-09) Han, Xuemei, speaker; Anderson, David, moderator; International Wildlife Ranching Symposium, producer
    Recognizing the imperiled status of biodiversity and its benefit to human well-being, the world's governments committed in 2010 to take effective and urgent action to halt biodiversity loss through the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its 'Aichi Targets'. These targets, and many other conservation programs, require monitoring to assess progress toward specific goals. However, comprehensive and easily understood information on biodiversity trends at appropriate spatial scales is often not available to the policy makers, managers, and scientists who require it. We surveyed conservation stakeholders in three geographically diverse regions of critical biodiversity concern (the Tropical Andes, the African Great Lakes, and the Greater Mekong) and found high demand for biodiversity indicator information but uneven availability. To begin to address this need, we envision a biodiversity 'dashboard', a visualization of biodiversity indicators designed to enable tracking of biodiversity and conservation performance data in a clear, user-friendly format. We structured around the Pressure-State-Response-Benefit framework, selecting four indicators to measure pressure on biodiversity (deforestation rate), state of species (Red List Index), conservation response (protection of key biodiversity areas), and benefits to human populations (freshwater provision). Disaggregating global data, we present dashboard maps and graphics for the three regions surveyed and their component countries. These visualizations provide charts showing regional and national trends and lay the foundation for a web-enabled, interactive biodiversity indicators dashboard. This should be able to help track progress toward the Aichi Targets, support national monitoring and reporting, and inform outcome-based policy-making for the protection of natural resources.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Saving Mali's desert elephants from war and poaching: a successful model of national and community engagement
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2014-09) Martin, Vance, speaker; van Hoven, Wouter, moderator; International Wildlife Ranching Symposium, producer
    Do poor villagers need elephants? The local people of Central Mali (West Africa) -- many ethnicities and clans -- know that elephants attract the attention (and therefore the assistance) of the wider community -- national, and international -- and are proud of that. As they say, "If the elephants disappear, our area will no longer be special." They also view elephants as an indicator of a healthy ecosystem and they know that their livelihoods depend on a healthy ecosystem. They also know from direct experience that elephants are important as seed dispersers and in forest regeneration. Elephants knock down otherwise inaccessible fruits and seeds from high branches that are gathered by the women for food and sometimes sale. Fruits and leaves are also eaten by livestock. Dung is valued to help conjunctivitis, a widespread problem in these environments. Over 12 years, The WILD Foundation and its many partners developed the Mali Elephant Project (MEP) as a very successful model of CBNRM. With engagement from local communities to the head of state, MEP has brought attention, action, and protection to this unique herd of elephants (the northern most in Africa, desert-adapted, and with the longest recorded elephant migration). It is now "war-tested" with only 2 elephants poached during the Tuareg rebellion and jihadist invasion of 2013. Yet local bandits remain, and the single biggest poaching incident in Mali's history occurred on the full moon night of the 13th/14th May 2014. But the local communities and the army solved it!
  • ItemOpen Access
    Deconstructing a partnership: evaluating a win-win conservation and development story, the case of the Mara conservancies, Kenya
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2014-09) Jandreau, Connor, speaker; Hentschel, Margit, moderator; International Wildlife Ranching Symposium, producer
    Kenya's Maasai Mara ecosystem is a particularly contested landscape when it concerns conservation and development interests. In recent years, private conservancies have emerged, redefining the relationships between conservation, tourism and local Maasai pastoralists. The partnership forged between ecotourism operators and Maasai landowners is crowned in a community-based conservation model, bringing together a win for wildlife, and a win for livelihoods. Despite this, there are inherent trade-offs being made by various stakeholders, not least pastoralists who now have to navigate an extended network of protected area boundaries with their livestock. The conservancy is quick to point to the successes, but sufficient attention has not yet been paid to the winners and losers in the process. My research took place over the months of January to August 2013 where I explored the interface between conservation and pastoral interests. I conducted semi-structured interviews, focus groups and other qualitative research methods as a way to gauge various stakeholder positions in relation to the conservancy format. Initial findings suggest the conservancies have made strong progress in alleviating some of the historical failures inherent in East Africa's well-preserved fortress conservation story. The conservancies are beginning to fashion compatibility between tourism and livestock, where wildlife benefit. Yet the future of the conservancies remains unclear, in large part due to community concerns for livestock, resource access, and rights to self-determination. The conservancy format in Maasailand needs to consider greater efforts in fashioning a true partnership before it can consider itself a win-win enterprise.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Increasing scale and effectiveness of private land conservation
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2014-09) Pague, Chris, speaker; Sanderson, John, speaker; International Wildlife Ranching Symposium, producer
    The importance of private lands for conservation is increasingly apparent. Private landowners and wildlife managers face many challenges as they work to maintain the ecological, economic and social integrity of these lands. For many years The Nature Conservancy conserved private lands by purchasing them and then establishing nature preserves or transferring lands to public agencies. During the past two decades, conservation easements have become firmly established as the transactional tool of choice for conserving private lands. These tools for land protection remain valuable, yet they are insufficient, in part because the cost of buying land or easements far outstrips the availability of funding sources. There is substantial need and opportunity to develop financial and management tools and techniques that advance agricultural, economic, and conservation outcomes on private lands at a scale that effectively conserves whole landscapes and the species they contain. The Nature Conservancy is investing in several novel approaches, including multi-part transactions that incorporate much greater acreages than traditional transactions, enhancing both economic opportunity and conservation outcomes; increasingly sophisticated conservation easements that foster negotiations with energy developers; market-based sustainable grazing agreements between agricultural producers and buyers; and community-based land management programs that enhance both conservation and economic returns. Working in collaboration with private landowners, state and federal agencies, and academic researchers, we are analyzing vulnerabilities of private lands and demonstrating adaptation strategies that may increase resilience of socio-ecological systems including private lands.