Proceedings of the 2007 SCGIS Annual Meeting
(June 25 - 27, 2007, Asilomar, Monterey, California, USA)
Track 1: Conservation and Community
WEDNESDAY 9-10:30 Session 1D: Species-Based Methods
Miguel Angel González Botello
Distribution Patterns of Cacti in Nuevo Leon, Mexico
In the period between 2000 and 2003 the state of Nuevo Leon was surveyed to make a list of its cacti. More than 600 specimens were collected and added to the CFNL herbarium and databases from 20 herbaria were consulted as well as field numbers of various investigators. This resulted in 171 taxa being recognized for the state: 134 species and
Flora Endemism in the Gypsum Outcrops of the Sierra Madre Oriental of Southern Nuevo Leon, Mexico
1 Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, Facultad de Ciencias Forestales, Herbario CFNL. * Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the main factors of endemism is related to soil types and rock outcrops. Around the world serpentine and gypsum outcrops are refuge to a large number of endemic species. In Nuevo Leon, a state located in northeastern Mexico, traversed by the Sierra Madre Oriental, it is an important factor in the development of endemic species. One of the habitats where endemism is strong corresponds to the gypsum outcrops in the south and west part of the Sierra.
The current Natural Protected Areas System does not cover any areas of gypsum within the Sierra Madre Oriental, but only some in the Altiplano Ecoregion. The absence of reserves in gypsum in the Sierra Madre Oriental Ecoregion represents a serious gap in conservation, where a high impact of goats, mining and endangered species poaching occurs.
We used ESRI ArcGIS 9 and Landsat imagery to locate gypsum outcrops (Landsat TM, Geo-Cover-Ortho Mosaics). With a combination of RGB 7,4,2 the gypsum rich areas are displayed in cyan. We first made a coarse delimitation of the gypsum areas using Landsat. We then refined it using the INEGI's Digital Orthophoto Web Service. This was done at a scale of 1:13,000 and allowed us to easily distinguish the dense vegetation gypsum.
A Digital Elevation Model (DEM) was derived from the Mexican Elevation Continuous, provided by INEGI. With this DEM, we created slope and aspect rasters. We analyzed the gypsum area with respect to the frequency distributions of elevation, slope, aspect, topoform, temperature, rainfall, climate, vegetation and NDVI.
We have checked the GBH, TEX and CFNL herbaria, where the majority of gypsophiles for this area are deposited, and are in the process of checking others. The number of endemic species for Nuevo Leon, those growing on gypsum as well as those restricted to gypsum, are being recorded. Also, we are making fieldtrips to record the presence of gypsophiles. We plan to finish the fieldwork in late June 2007.
Our preliminary results reveal a total of 250 dicotyledons endemic to Nuevo Leon; of these, at least 72 are found on gypsum (29%), 40 of which are obliged gypsophiles (56%). Asteraceae, Cactaceae, Lamiaceae and Fabaceae comprise 58% of the total state endemics; Asteraceae, Cactaceae and Scrophulariaceae comprise 56% of the endemic species present on gypsum, of which 53% are obliged gypsophiles.
In the Sierra Madre Oriental gypsum is present between 800 and 2,700 meters above sea level, but two thirds range between 1,700 and 2,300 m. More than 60% of these areas have an annual rainfall between 300 to 400 mm. Most of the areas are oriented southwest to southeast. And more than half are located in Pine woods. When we finish this project we will be able to propose new protected areas based on the distribution of endemic species in the gypsum rich state of Nuevo Leon.
George Were Eshiamwata
Using Geographical Information System and Remote Sensing Techniques to Monitor Important Bird Areas in Africa
With the growing large-scale modification and alteration of natural ecosystems, a fundamental challenge facing conservationists, conservation planners and policy makers is the need to effectively monitor and detect the spatial and temporal changes in biodiversity associated with the ever increasing human activities and other natural phenomena. There is therefore an urgent need to develop and promote the use of tools, methodologies and protocols that will ensure efficient, sustainable and cost-effective monitoring of biodiversity. This study aims to demonstrate the potential of remote sensing as a tool for monitoring biodiversity at the BirdLife-designated Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Africa. This tool will be applied on Africa IBAs and will have the potential for application elsewhere within the Global BirdLife Partnership.
Taku Awa II
Contribution to the Bio-ecology of the Grey-Necked Picathartes, Picathartes oreas
Within the Mbam-minkom mountain forest of southern Cameroon is the ground-dwelling Grey-necked Picathartes, classified as "Vulnerable" by IUCN and BirdLife International. It lives in closed canopy forest and constructs it nests with soil on overhangs of rock faces and caves. It is restricted to the Guinea-Congo basin rain forest of central Africa and although its range covers 314,000 km, its population throughout Central Africa is highly fragmented, is still considered small (2,500-1,000 individuals) and may be in overall decline. All over this rock fowl's range, it remains seriously threatened by forest clearance and increasing human disturbance. The lack of suitable breeding sites, particularly rocks, may partly account for its scarcity, while cannibalism and predation probably contribute to low breeding success.
Over the past three years we have been investigating the population status and habitat requirements of this enigmatic bird. Methods involve vegetation surveys, ground truthing, quadrat sampling, pitfall and malaise trapping for assessment of potential food supply, radio-tracking to determine home range, observations from hideouts to uncover behaviour, monitoring and involvement of adjacent communities.
Ninety breeding and 24 potential breeding sites have been mapped with population estimated at 40 mature individuals. Closed canopy intact vegetation needed at least 200 m around breeding sites to provide hideout and foraging ground to this shy bird that feeds on invertebrates, mostly insects and some vertebrates such as small frogs and lizards. Slash and burn agriculture and illegal timber exploitation remain its major threat. Sensitization is ongoing to develop management plans for site protection as a community sanctuary.
Lorena Fernanda Rivas
Factors Affecting the Distribution of the Darwin's Rhea in the Auca Mahuida Reserve in Argentine Patagonia
The Auca Mahuida Reserve covers almost 80,000 hectares and is one of the least inhabited places in Patagonia. The wildlife of Auca Mahuida is extremely rich and is constituted by species that have disappeared elsewhere or are in a critical situation, such as Darwin's Rhea, a large, flightless, ostrich-like bird. Darwin's Rheas have been reduced more than 80% in some parts of the province of Neuquén and in the rest of Patagonia due to poaching and the illegal collection of their eggs. In Auca Mahuida, this reduction is principally due to poaching in the oil exploration trails created by oil companies active in the area, which provide access for hunters and make control by wildlife rangers more difficult. In order to develop a conservation plan for Darwin's Rhea in Auca Mahuida, the distribution of the species in the reserve was determined by surveys for the last 4 years, the oil trails digitized from satellite images, and livestock density determined by interviews with residents of the area. We analyzed and mapped these and other environmental variables in the landscape to begin to understand how the distribution of Darwin's Rhea is affected by human activities. We are using this information to identify critical areas where conservation efforts for the species should be focused.
WEDNESDAY 11-12:30 Session 1E: Species Methods: Mammals
Francis Kamau Muthoni
The Population Size, Relative Abundance and Spatial Distribution of Critically Endangered Hirola Antelope (Beatragus hunteri) in Ijara and Garissa Districts, Kenya
The Hirola antelope (Beatragus hunteri) is a "Critically Endangered" species endemic to a small area in Southeast Kenya and Southwest Somalia. The Hirola is one of the world's most endangered genera of large mammals and the only existing member of its genus. The Hirola is now either low in numbers or extinct in Somalia. The natural population in Kenya has declined from roughly 14,000 animals in the 1970s to 500–2,000 today. The decline of the Hirola in its natural range is probably due to a combination of factors including disease, drought, poaching, competition with livestock and habitat loss and degradation.
Heidi Luisiana Quintana Navarrete
Endemism Mammals Distribution in Peru's Montane Forests
Peru's Montane Forest shelters the higher endemic species diversity; however, we must recognize other higher endemism places. To analyze the distributions, the geographic barriers were used to separate mammal populations. However, the behaviour species biology and the deforestation determine the real distribution.
Tendai Nancy Nyabadza
Problem Animal Control Strategies in Human-Elephant Conflict Areas of Dande Communal Area, Zimbabwe
Human-elephant conflict is a major conservation and management issue across Africa. With most elephant range existing outside protected areas and agriculture rapidly expanding, the potential for conflict increases. Rural farmers in many areas are severely affected by conflict with wildlife. The purpose of this research was to assess levels of conflict between the Dande community of the Mid-Zambezi valley in Zimbabwe and the elephants (Loxodonta africana), the spatial distribution and nature of conflict, and the effectiveness of problem animal control (PAC) strategies implemented by the villagers in terms of ensuring the community's livelihood security.
Four villages in Guruve District, namely Chadope, Museruka, Bwazi and Chikafa, were sampled for the study. Another two were sampled in Muzarabani for the research, namely Masawi and Chiwashira. In each village, ten households were selected for interviews using a structured questionnaire. In total, 55 questionnaire interviews were conducted and the data was analyzed using SPSS program. For data synthesis, focus group discussions were later held in the six villages. Attendance was optional to the entire village. Average attendance for the six discussions was 22 villagers.
In all six villages, the elephant was cited as the most difficult problem animal, followed by the baboon and then the bush pig. For each problem animal and across the villages, the main point of conflict is the cropping field, followed by the gardens and then homesteads in five of the villages. Forty-seven percent of the interviewed farmers reported that elephants prefer maize compared to other crops grown in their community. Annual average acreage damaged by elephants in all the villages, with the exception of Bwazi village, has been decreasing in subsequent seasons since 2000.
Villagers apply combinations of both traditional and modern PAC strategies to curb the extent of conflict with elephants at the various conflict points as the elephants quickly habituate to the use of one method at a time reducing the method's effectiveness. According to the villagers, those villages that are making use of the modern methods such as burning chili dung having less difficulty in chasing or deterring crop raiders than those that are still using only the traditional PAC methods. One of the most promising modern strategies involves application of a chili pepper solution around the cropping fields which has proven to be an effective repellent of elephants and one that they do not habituate to. Utilization of this method is, however, constrained by lack of supply. There is a need to establish a good source for chili pepper for the community to enhance the level of livelihood security for the community.
In conclusion, the PAC strategies that the Dande community is using against elephants, especially the modern methods, are quite effective in the field. Meanwhile, the long-term biological effects of the ingredients in the chili pepper need to be established to ensure that in using the peppers, it is not going to have a negative effect on the species.
A Study on Status of Elephant-Human Conflict in Northern West Bengal, India
Northern West Bengal (North Bengal) forests harbor about 2% of total elephant population in India. However, it experiences the most intense elephant human conflict (EHC). To assess the status of the EHC level and understand the causal factors of conflicts, a GIS and remote sensing based study was carried out in the elephant habitats of North Bengal. EHC incidence density was calculated from secondary data and GIS data. Correlations of EHC with fragmentation indices (calculated using GIS) and human population density were then examined. EHC occurred in the form of crop damages, house damages, and injuries and deaths of humans and elephants. EHC intensity was calculated to be 1.54 incidents per km2 per year while human deaths alone was 50+ per year on an average. Conflict cases soared during maize (May-July) and paddy (October-November) harvest seasons and it waned during dry (February-March) season. Positive correlations were found between EHC and fragmentation indices (number of forest patches, perimeter/area ratio) and human population density. A negative correlation was found with mean patch size. This indicates that EHC in North Bengal is largely due to the fragmentation of their habitat, which has been compounded by the increasing human population density in the region.
George Chandeep Dishanker Corea
Use of GIS in Human-Elephant Conflict Mitigation through Community Integrated Approaches in Small Conservation Organizations
GIS systems that are used to analyze and predict human-elephant conflict (HEC) usually use large-scale grids that do not satisfactorily look at addressing the problem at the local/community level. In more than 90 percent of the cases, they aren't used by the local communities or regional planning/administrative bodies and are hardly ever built in a participatory system. The largest benefit of GIS is that the technology reduces the information vacuum due to its ability to combine, catalogue and process divergent information sources, and it can be used to create a visual result that can be interpreted and utilized by decision makers at all levels. And community members can look at well- executed maps and understand why human-elephant conflict is occurring. Even international leaders in RS/GIS technology and the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI), have realized that "the cooperation of local people is essential to the action that will be needed to protect and manage the earth's environment. To achieve this, there must be ready access to resources information at the local level and well-established methods for incorporating local knowledge and priorities in any larger-scale decisions." (www.esri.com/library/whitepapers/pdfs/consprgm.pdf)
The Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society, a small research-based conservation organization, has started to implement these largely theoretical concepts into its pioneering "Saving Elephants by Helping People (SEHP)" project, which was initiated in 1997. The envisaged output of this process is the integration of RS/GIS outputs into community-level planning that has measurable impact on the sustainable conservation of resources.
Creating resource-use maps for planning of SLWCS Wasgamuwa Research activities
Developing community-level maps for villages to better manage their own resources
Publishing fine-level GIS data relating to a community, its resources and HEC in Wilgamuwa DSD
Establishing a better understanding of GIS methodologies/application at field level
Creating baseline GIS/RS for conservation planning as envisaged by SEHP in the broader context
Composing a comparative analysis with other GIS-based elephant studies in Sri Lanka and Asia
The purpose of developing this project is to enhance our knowledge of the ecosystem so that it can be used to enhance our understanding of the HEC and poverty problems, to explicitly state our assumptions, and to identify what data are missing and what data are most important. We will then use the resultant model/outputs for effective conservation.
When we look at just the 18 villages in the Wilgamuwa Division of the Matale District where we conducted an in-depth HEC survey, we get a good picture of how intense the conflict between man and elephant really is. A total of 348 incidents of damage were recorded from June 2004 to May 2006. Of this, 262 incidents were crop damage, which included 187 (71%) paddy and 75 (29%) home garden incidents. Human injury included one human death in 2004, two deaths in 2005 and four deaths in 2006. All of those killed were men, and they were reported to have been killed by single bull elephants. In the same period, there were five confirmed elephant deaths, four of which were due to gun shot injuries and poisoning. We have also been continually monitoring the fences we and the government established and the effectiveness of the management/maintenance of them. As we look at this data it is important to use GIS to paint a good picture for both the local community and national stakeholders of the need for proper management planning at a landscape level. The government of Sri Lanka is about to embark on the final phase of an irrigation development project, which has already caused much destruction of forest and necessitated the movement of over 100,000 people since its inception in the 1980s. The study area lies in the center of this project, and we are well poised to help the government and local communities minimize the negative impacts in the medium and long term while ensuring that necessary sustainable development takes place.
Some of the work will be based on the Amboseli GIS project, "Predicting HEC through GIS."
WEDNESDAY 2-3:30 Session 1F: Species Methods: Fish
Evaluating Basins for Salmon Conservation across the North Pacific by Assessing Current Abundance and Diversity, Key Threats, and Protected Areas
As part of the State of the Salmon program, a joint effort of Ecotrust and the Wild Salmon Center, we compiled and estimated abundance data for anadromous Oncorhynchus species across the North Pacific (U.S., Canada, Japan, and Russia). This data was evaluated in order to prioritize conservation efforts by identifying those basins with the highest conservation value in terms of current abundance and diversity of salmon species and life histories. After developing databases of dams and hatcheries georeferenced to regional hydrolographies, network analyses were conducted to determine cumulative impedance to fish migration upstream networks, downstream effects of dams, and hatchery impacts. Current levels of protection were also taken into account. A workshop was held, bringing together experts from varied organizations and countries, in order to evaluate our data, build consensus and compare expert opinions about conservation priorities with a data-driven prioritization.
Predicting Salmonid Recolonization Patterns Following the Removal of the Elwha River Dams
Construction of two dams in the early 1900s on the Elwha River in Washington State, USA, substantially reduced the amount of accessible salmon habitat in the watershed. As a result of collaborative restoration efforts, both dams are scheduled to be removed, and salmon recovery is one of the primary objectives of this effort. In this study, we combined geospatial data with species-specific habitat requirements to develop models to predict the recolonization patterns of Pacific salmon in the Elwha basin following the removal of the dams. Topographic and hydrologic modeling were used to identify reach-scale channel characteristics, allowing us to rate the potential of individual reaches to support salmonid spawning. The results were used to create predictive maps of post-removal salmon distributions, which will help guide resource managers when evaluating the restoration actions that best facilitate salmonid recolonization. Future monitoring efforts will allow for ground-truthing of our assumptions regarding fish-habitat relationships.
Dina Malalaniaina Fabrice Rajaonarivahoaka
Conservation of Paratilapia Polleni or sp. marakely
Our intervention area is the Commune of Andrahanjo, situated in the northern part of Madagascar. Most residents of the area are farmers. Some of them practice breeding endemic and seriously menaced fish, named Paratilapia Polleni or sp. marakely, on five hectares. There were only nine families in 2000 and twenty-eight families in 2007 involved in this activity; they get help from Public Water and Forests Services technical department.
A lot of dangers menace this species: degradation of habitat and aquatic ecosystem due to deforestation, erosion, hydrologic regime change, overexploitation of aquatic resources, and invasion of exotic concurrent and predatory species. Also, the people fail to recognize the Malagasy aquatic heritage because of lack of information and communications between different actors concerned with the endemic type of Malagasy aquatic species.
In face of dangers to this fish species, our association just carried out many concrete actions:
IEC having as principal objective the sensitization of all responsible actors: decision-makers, economic operators, authorities, local communities
Because their ponds are far from the main road, they are required to rent carts at high costs or sell products at very low prices to the local retailers who dry fish. These retailers sell the fish at high prices five or six months later.
The objective of this project is mainly the reproduction and the conservation of the species which is seriously menaced. Consequently, our association works with many technical partners like Ministry of forests and environment, local authorities and fish breeders. The marketing of products will be planned in 2008. At least, the fish breeders will preserve the fish species and will benefit from fish sale. They would easily produce eight hundred kilogrammes every quarter and this operation would be able to earn about $2,400. Financially, this is of course very rewarding. However, these profits would not be regular owing to thieves who steal at night, vandalism acts, and variations in market demand.
All the same, the objectives of this group of "Paratilapia breeders" are to:
increase number of fish ponds for conservation and multiplication of the species
master all modern fish-rearing techniques
find more outlets in the capital city or in towns in the province of Tamatave (supermarkets, restaurants) for next year campaign 2008
multiply contacts and relationship with private or public technical breeding departments
become the first conservator and producer of this species in Madagascar
reinforce the members' capacities and competences about conservation, sale strategy and market law
In the end, conservation of this endemic fish needs a lot of care because this species only exists in Madagascar and intensive fishing may wipe it out. The fish producers always need permanent technical assistance from specialists for reproduction in order to preserve the species.
Our project will be presented with ArcGIS 8.3 with help from SCGIS-Madagascar
Nicholas Anthony Owen Hill
The Spatio-temporal Dynamics of Fishing Behaviour and Its Determinants in Poor Fishing Communities
The spatio-temporal dynamics of fishing behaviour are of central concern to conservation biologists working with coral reef ecosystems. The livelihoods and food security of the majority of poor people in the coastal area of East Africa depend on marine resources. However, fisheries are in decline due to over-exploitation, threatening the integrity of reef ecosystem services and the livelihoods of coastal communities. Attempts to address resource degradation have largely proven unsuccessful because of the failure to incorporate the determinants of fishing behaviour (where, how, when and how much) when implementing interventions. Without this information it is impossible to determine how successful interventions may be and how their benefit can be maximised. Detailed spatial and temporal information on fishing behaviour and resource distribution is required that can be related to biological and socio-economic determinants. We discuss how this information may be obtained and used with specific reference to small-scale fisheries in East Africa.
WEDNESDAY 4-5:30 Session 1G: Marine Conservation
Using Remote Sensing and GIS to Evaluate Marine Benthic Communities
The Marine Life Management Act was passed by the California legislature in 1999 with the purpose of managing and conserving California's marine living resources. One of its goals is to collect baseline data in an effort to understand marine ecosystems and monitor the changes and anthropogenic effects over time. By using remote sensing techniques and GIS, topographic complexity can be evaluated and used as a proxy for benthic community evaluation and population estimates. A number of stakeholders and agencies are interested in this work and have expressed interest in expanding the technology and refining the methodology for this type of marine biological assessment. This presentation will discuss the results of one study in Monterey Bay and outline the advantages and shortcomings of using this methodology for marine, benthic community assessment. This project has demonstrated that without local and regional collaboration, data collection and study of these ecosystems would have been difficult to pursue.
Identifying Priority Areas for Marine Conservation in BC: A Collaborative Approach
Implementation of marine conservation measures has been slow in British Columbia, with an increasing number of marine species proposed or listed as threatened. The purpose of the British Columbia Marine Conservation Analysis (BCMCA) Project is to collaboratively identify areas of high conservation utility/interest for the coast of BC. The project team is comprised of representatives from academia, First Nations communities, nonprofit environmental groups, the federal government, and the provincial government. The BCMCA project will involve two main components: (1) an atlas of known ecological and human use values and (2) the Marxan spatial analysis. The Atlas will map ecological data, human use data, and a combination of areas of ecological value and human use hotspots. The Marxan spatial analysis will iteratively identify: (1) areas of high conservation value using ecological data only, (2) areas of high conservation utility that minimize impacts to marine users and coastal communities, and (3) areas of high conservation value that incorporate reserve design principles. To guide and inform our analysis, we are hosting a minimum of 8 expert workshops, focused on various ecosystem and human components. These workshops will help us assemble and use the best available biological, ecological, oceanographic, and socio-economic data and to draw on the knowledge and expertise of resource managers, the conservation community, academics, and First Nations to develop sound, scientifically defensible methods and products. The results of the BCMCA project are intended to help advance marine planning initiatives in BC by identifying priority areas for conservation.
Tools for Coastal-Marine Ecosystem-Based Management: Recent Developments in the EBM Tools Network
The Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM) Tools Network is an international, voluntary alliance of EBM tool developers, practitioners, and training providers from government, academia, NGOs, philanthropic organizations, and for-profit businesses. The objectives of the Network are to increase awareness of existing EBM tools, promote their development and maintenance, and promote their effective use. The Network communicates regularly with several hundred EBM practitioners around the world and is now working to build a strong, interactive community of practice around EBM tools. This presentation will discuss our efforts to build this community through listserves and a tools training and support program. We are particularly interested in hearing from SCGIS members about their interest in EBM tools and EBM tools training opportunities.
We will discuss both the current efforts to create and foster community within the practice of coastal and marine ecosystem-based management and the emerging practice of GIS and technical applications within the field of coastal-marine ecosystem-based management.
Deep Sea Fisheries in the Southeast United States: Community Interviews Fill Data Gaps
Deep sea habitats are poorly known but support a wide range of species in addition to important fisheries. Faced with the lack of published data, we conducted interviews with fishermen, restaurant owners, seafood dealers, government agency staff, and academics on the depth and offshore location of specific commercial fisheries. We combined this information with data mining to overlay seafloor habitat and fishing activity in a GIS database for presentation to decision-makers. This enabled prioritization of vulnerable areas such as deep sea corals that are now being formally proposed for protection in regional fishery management councils. Habitat areas with deep sea coral reefs, pinnacles, and canyons have been more or less impacted by trawls and dredges over time in areas identified through interviews. The underlying uncertainty remains a significant challenge, though partnerships forged during the interview process have also provided a starting point for conservation efforts in the council arena.