Help tooltips: On  |  Off

The journal, Conservation Evidence

Our online journal publishes research, monitoring results and case studies on the effects of conservation interventions. All papers include some monitoring of the effects of the intervention and are written by, or in partnership with, those who did the conservation work. It includes interventions such as habitat creation, habitat restoration, translocations, reintroductions, invasive species control, and education or integrated conservation development programmes, from anywhere around the world.

A volume is created each year with peer-reviewed papers published throughout the year. We now accept Short Communications as well as standard papers.

Special issues contain new papers on a specific topic.

Virtual collections collate papers published in the journal on specific topics such as management of particular groups of species.

To search for papers on a specific topic within the journal select 'Advanced search' on the Home page, enter your keyword(s) and within the Source box type: "conservation evidence".

Latest papers



Introduction of Short Communications in the Conservation Evidence journal
Sutherland W.J., Smith R.K., Mitchell R. & Dicks L.V. (2014), 11, 1-1

Following a review of the journal we have decided to introduce Short Communications as an option within the journal.  We want to make it even less arduous for practitioners to share their experiences.

We have the same criteria for Short communications as for the standard papers – they must include a conservation intervention with appropriate monitoring to evaluate the consequences of the intervention. The short format provides the opportunity for documenting simple interventions, such as straight forward treatment of an invasive plant, or a comparison of use for two designs of nest boxes.

Short communications will cover a maximum of one printed page (1,000 words or fewer with a figure/table/photo).  They will have the same sections as the standard papers, as shown below.

The guidelines for authors have been modified to describe the required format for Short Communications in addition to the standard papers.

 

Comparative effectiveness research: the missing link in conservation
Smith R.K., Dicks L.V., Mitchell R. & Sutherland W.J. (2014), 11, 2-6

This editorial highlights the deficit of studies that directly compare different conservation interventions for the same threat. Most studies test a single intervention (86% in Conservation Evidence), comparing it against a control that lacks the intervention. Such studies can provide evidence that a particular intervention is effective, but do not inform a practitioner whether that intervention is the best option relative to others. Comparing results from different studies is difficult, as outcomes depend on factors such as the site, species and method of measurement.  We suggest that a key step to understanding the effectiveness of conservation interventions is to compare different interventions in the same context within studies. If widely adopted this could transform global conservation practice. We provide some guidance on how to design and conduct comparative studies.

 

Fifty-three captive-bred, sub-adult red-billed curassow Crax blumenbachii were reintroduced to the Guapiaçu Ecological Reserve, Brazil, from 2006 to 2008.  Post-reintroduction movements were monitored for 25 months, but little information on breeding was collected during this period as few of the birds had reached sexual maturity. However, in the period 2009-2014, six observations of probable breeding were made. This positive outcome will help inform the feasibility of further reintroductions.

Bear-proof fences reduce livestock losses in the Tibetan Autonomous Region, China
Papworth S.K., Kang A., Rao M., Chin S.T., Zhao H., Zhao X. & Corrasco L.R. (2014), 11, 8-11

Tibetan brown bears Ursus arctos pruinosus in the Tibetan Plateau attack and kill livestock and ransack homes for food, causing significant economic costs for local herders. Although a government fund compensates herders for livestock lost to bear attacks in the Tibetan Autonomous Region (China), compensation may not reflect the real cost of losing livestock and payments can be delayed. We investigate whether bear-proof fences are a cost-effective method for reducing bear attacks and livestock losses. In January 2009, 14 bear-proof fences were constructed from wire mesh and steel posts around households which had previously experienced substantial losses to bear attacks in the Nagqu Prefecture of the Tibetan Autonomous Region. These households lost 162 animals to bears in the year before fence construction, whereas just three animals were lost in the year after fence construction. Fences were still standing 4.8 years after completion and any small damage has been repaired by households. For households that suffer substantial losses to bear attacks, bear-proof fences appear to be an effective and cost-saving intervention to reduce human-bear conflict.

The provision of nest-boxes was tested as a low cost method to increase fledging success in the rifleman Acanthisitta chloris, a declining endemic New Zealand species that is at risk from introduced mammalian predators. Nest success of riflemen in nest-boxes (80%) was five times higher than those in natural nest sites (16%). This difference was due to a reduction in the rate of predation in nest-boxes. However, aluminium nest guards did not further increase nest success in nest-boxes (82%). This outcome indicates that nest-boxes can provide a low cost and non-lethal method to protect rifleman nests from predators and increase fledging productivity.

Restoration of a degraded dry forest using nurse trees at Dambulla, Sri Lanka
Medawatte W.W.M.B.A., Amarasinghe J., Iqbal M.C.M. & Ranwala S.M.W. (2014), 11, 16-19

We determined the effect of over-storey nurse tree cultivation on species composition in a naturally regenerated dry forest in a dry zone arboretum in Sri Lanka. The forest had previously been abandoned shifting cultivated land. One area was restored using nurse trees, one area was restored without nurse trees, and one area was left unmanaged as a control. Species dominance, richness and diversity of regenerated trees were assessed within random plots in the three treatment types. Regenerated tree species richness and diversity were greater in the restored land with nurse trees than in the restored land without nurse trees or in the control area. Dry forest tree species were dominant in the plots with nurse trees, while light-demanding and competitive pioneer scrubland species were dominant in the plots without nurse trees and the control area. We suggest that monospecific tree plantations that have been established for reforestation or agroforestry purposes could be used as nurse trees for dry forest restoration.

In December 2011, 59 adult Seychelles warblers Acrocephalus sechellensis were translocated between two islands in the Seychelles. Birds were captured on Cousin Island and translocated to Frégate Island using a hard release method, with minimum time in captivity. Frégate had been previously identified as a suitable host for a substantial population of Seychelles warblers, although the presence of the species had never been confirmed on this island. It was estimated that Frégate currently has the potential to support about 500 Seychelles warblers, rising to over 2,000 after habitat regeneration. All birds survived the translocation and were released unharmed at the new site within 24 hours of capture. Close monitoring of both the new and source population was undertaken over a period of 18 months. By June 2013, the Frégate population had increased to 80 individuals, which included 38 of the original translocated birds and 42 birds which had hatched on Frégate. There was also evidence that multiple generations had already hatched on the island. This shows that the Seychelles warbler responded well to a hard release translocation, with observed population growth on Frégate comparable to previous warbler translocations. The source population on Cousin recovered to carrying capacity within a single breeding season. This is the fourth translocation of this species, fulfilling the species action plan requirement of five populations of this endemic island passerine.

The use of helicopters for spreading bait pellets in rodent eradication operations for conservation programmes is increasing. While aerial applications generally have a high success rate at eradicating rodents, operations that tackle extensive areas of steep terrain (slopes >50°) are more challenging, as the effectiveness of spreading bait pellets at the targeted density in these areas is unknown. We undertook an aerial baiting trial on Gough Island, where predation by the non-native house mouse Mus musculus is devastating the globally important seabird populations. It is therefore critical to deliver bait to the island’s large areas of vegetated cliffs that contain burrowing petrels and mice. Using a helicopter and bait hopper we spread non-toxic bait pellets on two areas of coastal cliffs and the adjoining flat ground, and measured the resulting density of pellets using teams of roped climbers and distance sampling. Compared with adjacent flat areas, the vegetated cliff areas retained an average 66-76% of pellets (lower 95% confidence interval 45-60%). While baiting rates on cliffs were lower than adjoining flat areas, the recommended best practice for aerial eradications prescribes applying two additional drops on steep areas. Consequently, current best practice would be sufficient to ensure coverage at densities at or above the targeted baiting rate. While these trials were focused on Gough Island, the results should be useful for eradication operations on other islands with cliffs with similar terrain and vegetation cover.

A dramatic decline in American eel Anguilla rostrata abundance led to the species being assessed as endangered in Ontario (Canada) and the closure of fisheries. As part of efforts to recover populations, four million eels (glass eels and elvers) were released over a five year period into the upper St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario. A large-scale electrofishing survey of eastern Lake Ontario tributaries was undertaken to assess the distribution and survival of the released eels. Four hundred and seventy-six eels were collected from 37 sites along seven watercourses. Eels were well-distributed along five rivers close to the release site. By contrast, distribution along the two largest rivers surveyed was restricted to a few kilometres upstream of Lake Ontario because of multiple impassable dams. The average length of eels caught in these two rivers was 40 mm shorter than eels in other watercourses. Eels were not detected in five smaller and colder creeks further west.