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Beyond the boundaries: How regulation-centered marine protected area information improves ocean protection assessments

Comprehensive, spatially explicit data that include regulatory information are essential for evaluating the level of protection that marine protected areas (MPAs) and other marine managed areas (MMAs) provide to marine life, and to inform progress towards ocean protection targets. An analysis based on the ProtectedSeas database, which includes information on regulated activities, found that 85% of U.S.

The effects of protected areas on the ecological niches of birds and mammals

Protected areas are a cornerstone for biodiversity conservation, and typically support more natural and undisturbed habitats compared to unprotected lands. The effect of protected areas on intra-specific ecological niche has been rarely investigated. Here, we explore potential differences in ecological niche properties of birds and mammals across protected and unprotected areas, and relate such differences to species traits.

Rapid Biodiversity Assessment (BIORAP), Nauru. June 2013 - Synthesis Report

A BIORAP is a biological inventory programme undertaken in marine and terrestrial environments, and is designed to rapidly assess the biodiversity of highly diverse areas. Options to manage threats and protect some remaining examples of indigenous biodiversity of national or international significance are recommended to governing communities.The Nauru BIORAP took place in selected terrestrial and marine areas of the Republic of Nauru during 17–27 June, 2013. The key finding of the Nauru BIORAP are presented in this synthesis report.

Improving biodiversity protection through artificial intelligence

Over a million species face extinction, highlighting the urgent need for conservation policies that maximize the protection of biodiversity to sustain its manifold contributions to people’s lives. Here we present a novel framework for spatial conservation prioritization based on reinforcement learning that consistently outperforms available state-of-the-art software using simulated and empirical data.

A Typology for Reef Passages

Coral reefs host exceptionally diverse and abundant marine life. Connecting coasts and sheltered lagoons to the open ocean, reef passages are important yet poorly studied components of these ecosystems. Abiotic and biotic elements ‘pass’ through these reef passages, supporting critical ecological processes (e.g. fish spawning). Reef passages provide multiple social and ecological benefits for islands and their peoples, but are so far neither characterized nor recognized for their multifaceted significance.

Assessment of scientific gaps related to the effective environmental management of deep-seabed mining

A comprehensive understanding of the deep-sea environment and mining’s likely impacts is necessary to assess whether and under what conditions deep-seabed mining operations comply with the International Seabed Authority’s obligations to prevent ‘serious harm’ and ensure the ‘effective protection of the marine environment from harmful effects’ in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Mangroves are an overlooked hotspot of insect diversity despite low plant diversity

The world’s fast disappearing mangrove forests have low plant diversity and are often assumed to also have a species-poor insect fauna. We here compare the tropical arthropod fauna across a freshwater swamp and six different forest types (rain-, swamp, dry-coastal, urban, freshwater swamp, mangroves) based on 140,000 barcoded specimens belonging to ca. 8500 species. We find that the globally imperiled habitat “mangroves” is an overlooked hotspot for insect diversity.

The number of tree species on Earth

One of the most fundamental questions in ecology is how many species inhabit the Earth. However, due to massive logistical and financial challenges and taxonomic difficulties connected to the species concept definition, the global numbers of species, including those of important and well-studied life forms such as trees, still remain largely unknown. Here, based on global ground sourced data, we estimate the total tree species richness at global, continental, and biome levels.

Predicting the optimal amount of time to spend learning before designating protected habitat for threatened species

Deciding when to protect threatened species habitat when complete knowledge about the habitat extent is uncertain is a common problem in conservation. More accurate habitat mapping improves conservation outcomes once that habitat is protected. However, delaying protection to improve accuracy can lead to species decline or, at worst, local extinction when threats to that habitat continue unabated before protection is implemented. Hence, there is a trade-off between gaining knowledge and taking conservation action.