RECENT PUBLICATIONS

Also see Annual Bibliographies of  WCS-authored research publications, or search for all WCS research publications in the Publications Database.


WCS-AUTHORED PUBLICATIONS, 20-26 July 2021

 

Peer-Reviewed Literature

 

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 1 of 7

Coronado, E. N. H., A. Hastie, J. Reyna, ..., S. Ríos, ... and M. Montoya (2021). "Intensive field sampling increases the known extent of carbon-rich Amazonian peatland pole forests." Environmental Research Letters 16(7), e074048. http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/ac0e65

Peatland pole forest is the most carbon-dense ecosystem in Amazonia, but its spatial distribution and species composition are poorly known. To address this knowledge gap, we quantified variation in the floristic composition, peat thickness, and the amount of carbon stored above and below ground of 102 forest plots and 53 transects in northern Peruvian Amazonia. This large dataset includes 571 ground reference points of peat thickness measurements across six ecosystem types. These field data were also used to generate a new land-cover classification based on multiple satellite products using a random forest classification. Peatland pole forests are floristically distinctive and dominated by thin-stemmed woody species such as Pachira nitida (Malvaceae), Platycarpum loretense (Rubiaceae), and Hevea guianensis (Euphorbiaceae). In contrast, palm swamps and open peatlands are dominated by Mauritia flexuosa (Arecaceae). Peatland pole forests have high peat thickness (274 +/- 22 cm, mean +/- 95% CI, n = 184) similar to open peatlands (282 +/- 46 cm, n = 46), but greater than palm swamps (161 +/- 17 cm, n = 220) and seasonally-flooded forest, terra firme, and white-sand forest where peat is rare or absent. As a result, peatland pole forest has exceptional carbon density (1,133 +/- 93 Mg C ha(-1)). The new sites expand the known distribution of peatland pole forest by 61% within the Pastaza-Maranon Foreland basin, mainly alongside the Tigre river, to cover a total of 7540 km(2) in northern Peruvian Amazonia. However, only 15% of the pole forest area is within a protected area, whilst an additional 26% lies within indigenous territories. The current low levels of protection and forest degradation but high threat from road paving projects makes the Tigre river basin a priority for conservation. The long-term conservation of peatland pole forests has the potential to make a large contribution towards international commitments to mitigate climate change.

 

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 2 of 7

Cunha, F. A. G., C. K. Fagundes, E. S. Brito et al. (2021). "Distribution of Chelus fimbriata and Chelus orinocensis (Testudines: Chelidae)." Chelonian Conservation and Biology 20(1), 109-115. https://doi.org/10.2744/ccb-1398.1

The matamatas (Chelus fimbriata and the recently described Chelus orinocensis) are the largest species in the family Chelidae, easily identified by their distinct morphological characteristics. The matamatas have a wide distribution in South America, occurring in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, French Guiana, Peru, and Venezuela, as well as Trinidad and Tobago. However, there are many gaps in the knowledge of its distribution. The objective of this study was to present new records of occurrence for the C. fimbriata species complex and describe the area of distribution. We compiled data from published papers, databases in museums and other scientific collections, and research institutes and conservation organizations. From these data we mapped the species distribution, considering 3 types of river drainages based on water color in the Amazon Basin. We added 182 new records in Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Bolivia, and Peru, demonstrating that the C. fimbriata species complex has a wide distribution, totaling 6,907,551 km(2) across all 3 river types. Most records were concentrated in areas lower than 200 m above sea level.

 

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 3 of 7

Fielding, R. and C. Barrientos (2021). "History of whaling in Annobón, Equatorial Guinea, and new evidence of its continued occurrence." Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 22(1), 29-37. https://doi.org/10.47536/jcrm.v22i1.217

A regular, though infrequent, artisanal whaling operation targeting humpback whales has been known to occur from the West African island of Annobón, Equatorial Guinea, since the late 18th century. Little has been known outside of Equatorial Guinea about this whaling operation since the mid-1970s. This paper presents a brief history of Annobonés whaling, describes recently surfaced evidence of its continuation as recently as 2017 and considers the future of the operation.

 

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 4 of 7

Grace, M. K., H. R. Akçakaya, E. L. Bennett, ..., S. Hedges et al. (Early View). "Testing a global standard for quantifying species recovery and assessing conservation impact." Conservation Biology. https://doi.org/10.1111/cobi.13756

 

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 5 of 7

Halliday, W. D. (Accepted Article). "Underwater sound levels in the Arctic: Filling knowledge gaps." Geophysical Research Letters, e2021GL094607. https://doi.org/10.1029/2021GL094607

Climate change is projected to cause the Arctic soundscape to become noisier due to sea ice loss and increased anthropogenic activity. Many studies on underwater sound levels have been conducted in the western North American Arctic and Fram Strait, but the rest of the Arctic is full of geographic gaps. Han et al. (2021) published a study in Geophysical Research Letters on underwater sound levels in the East Siberian Sea, providing the first estimates of seasonal trends and the natural and anthropogenic drivers of underwater sound levels in this region. This is an excellent first step in filling geographic gaps in the Russian Arctic, and I call on other researchers to continue to fill these geographic gaps throughout the Arctic so that we can set a baseline and study changes to underwater sound levels being caused directly and indirectly by climate change.

 

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 6 of 7

Hansen, A. J., B. P. Noble, J. Veneros, ..., J. E. M. Watson, ..., H. S. Grantham, T. D. Evans et al. (Early View). "Toward monitoring forest ecosystem integrity within the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework." Conservation Letters, e12822. https://doi.org/10.1111/conl.12822

Signatory countries to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) are formulating goals and indicators through 2050 under the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF). Among the goals is increasing the integrity of ecosystems. The CBD is now seeking input toward a quantifiable definition of integrity and methods to track it globally. Here, we offer a schema for using Earth observations (EO) to monitor and evaluate global forest ecosystem integrity (EI). Our approach builds on three topics: the concept of EI, the use of satellite-based EO, and the use of "essential biodiversity variables" to monitor and report on it. Within this schema, EI is a measure of the structure, function, and composition of an ecosystem relative to the range of variation determined by climatic-geophysical environment. We use evaluation criteria to recommend eight potential indicators of EI that can be monitored around the globe using Earth Observations to support the efforts of nations to monitor and report progress to implement the post-2020 GBF. If operationalized, this schema should help Parties to the CBD take action and report progress on achieving ecosystem commitments during this decade.

 

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 7 of 7

Stark, K., V. Adams, C. J. Brown, ..., J. E. M. Watson et al. (Accepted Article). "Importance of equitable cost sharing in the Convention on Biological Diversity's protected area agenda." Conservation Biology. https://doi.org/10.1111/cobi.13812