School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences - Research Publications

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    Mitochondrial phylogeny within the Yellow Chat (Epthianura crocea) does not support subspecific designation of endangered Alligator Rivers population
    Leppitt, R ; Rose, A ; Houston, WA ; Kyne, PM ; Banks, SC ; Woinarski, JCZ ; Garnett, ST (WILEY, 2022-07-01)
    The delineation of subspecies is important in the evaluation and protection of biodiversity. Subspecies delineation is hampered by inconsistently applied criteria and a lack of agreement and shifting standards on how a subspecies should be defined. The Australian endemic Yellow Chat (Epthianura crocea) is split into three subspecies (E. c. crocea, E. c. tunneyi, and E. c. macgregori) based on minor plumage differences and geographical isolation. Both E. c. tunneyi (Endangered) and E. c. macgregori (Critically Endangered) are recognized under Australian legislation as threatened and are the subject of significant conservation effort. We used mitochondrial DNA to evaluate the phylogeny of the Yellow Chat and determine how much genetic variation is present in each of the three subspecies. We found no significant difference in the cytochrome b sequences (833 base pairs) of E. c. crocea and E. c. tunneyi, but approximately 0.70% or 5.83 bp difference between E. c macgregori and both E. c. crocea and E. c. tunneyi. This analysis supports the delineation of E. c. macgregori as a valid subspecies but does not support separation of E. c. crocea from E. c. tunneyi. We also found very low levels of genetic variation within the Yellow Chat, suggesting it may be vulnerable to environmental change. Our results cast doubt upon the geographic isolation of E. c. crocea from E. c. tunneyi, but more advanced genetic sequencing and a robust comparison of plumage are needed to fully resolve taxonomy.
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    The 2019-2020 Australian forest fires are a harbinger of decreased prescribed burning effectiveness under rising extreme conditions
    Clarke, H ; Cirulis, B ; Penman, T ; Price, O ; Boer, MM ; Bradstock, R (NATURE PORTFOLIO, 2022-07-13)
    There is an imperative for fire agencies to quantify the potential for prescribed burning to mitigate risk to life, property and environmental values while facing changing climates. The 2019-2020 Black Summer fires in eastern Australia raised questions about the effectiveness of prescribed burning in mitigating risk under unprecedented fire conditions. We performed a simulation experiment to test the effects of different rates of prescribed burning treatment on risks posed by wildfire to life, property and infrastructure. In four forested case study landscapes, we found that the risks posed by wildfire were substantially higher under the fire weather conditions of the 2019-2020 season, compared to the full range of long-term historic weather conditions. For area burnt and house loss, the 2019-2020 conditions resulted in more than a doubling of residual risk across the four landscapes, regardless of treatment rate (mean increase of 230%, range 164-360%). Fire managers must prepare for a higher level of residual risk as climate change increases the likelihood of similar or even more dangerous fire seasons.
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    Expert range maps of global mammal distributions harmonised to three taxonomic authorities.
    Marsh, CJ ; Sica, YV ; Burgin, CJ ; Dorman, WA ; Anderson, RC ; Del Toro Mijares, I ; Vigneron, JG ; Barve, V ; Dombrowik, VL ; Duong, M ; Guralnick, R ; Hart, JA ; Maypole, JK ; McCall, K ; Ranipeta, A ; Schuerkmann, A ; Torselli, MA ; Lacher, T ; Mittermeier, RA ; Rylands, AB ; Sechrest, W ; Wilson, DE ; Abba, AM ; Aguirre, LF ; Arroyo-Cabrales, J ; Astúa, D ; Baker, AM ; Braulik, G ; Braun, JK ; Brito, J ; Busher, PE ; Burneo, SF ; Camacho, MA ; Cavallini, P ; de Almeida Chiquito, E ; Cook, JA ; Cserkész, T ; Csorba, G ; Cuéllar Soto, E ; da Cunha Tavares, V ; Davenport, TRB ; Deméré, T ; Denys, C ; Dickman, CR ; Eldridge, MDB ; Fernandez-Duque, E ; Francis, CM ; Frankham, G ; Franklin, WL ; Freitas, T ; Friend, JA ; Gadsby, EL ; Garbino, GST ; Gaubert, P ; Giannini, N ; Giarla, T ; Gilchrist, JS ; Gongora, J ; Goodman, SM ; Gursky-Doyen, S ; Hackländer, K ; Hafner, MS ; Hawkins, M ; Helgen, KM ; Heritage, S ; Hinckley, A ; Hintsche, S ; Holden, M ; Holekamp, KE ; Honeycutt, RL ; Huffman, BA ; Humle, T ; Hutterer, R ; Ibáñez Ulargui, C ; Jackson, SM ; Janecka, J ; Janecka, M ; Jenkins, P ; Juškaitis, R ; Juste, J ; Kays, R ; Kilpatrick, CW ; Kingston, T ; Koprowski, JL ; Kryštufek, B ; Lavery, T ; Lee, TE ; Leite, YLR ; Novaes, RLM ; Lim, BK ; Lissovsky, A ; López-Antoñanzas, R ; López-Baucells, A ; MacLeod, CD ; Maisels, FG ; Mares, MA ; Marsh, H ; Mattioli, S ; Meijaard, E ; Monadjem, A ; Morton, FB ; Musser, G ; Nadler, T ; Norris, RW ; Ojeda, A ; Ordóñez-Garza, N ; Pardiñas, UFJ ; Patterson, BD ; Pavan, A ; Pennay, M ; Pereira, C ; Prado, J ; Queiroz, HL ; Richardson, M ; Riley, EP ; Rossiter, SJ ; Rubenstein, DI ; Ruelas, D ; Salazar-Bravo, J ; Schai-Braun, S ; Schank, CJ ; Schwitzer, C ; Sheeran, LK ; Shekelle, M ; Shenbrot, G ; Soisook, P ; Solari, S ; Southgate, R ; Superina, M ; Taber, AB ; Talebi, M ; Taylor, P ; Vu Dinh, T ; Ting, N ; Tirira, DG ; Tsang, S ; Turvey, ST ; Valdez, R ; Van Cakenberghe, V ; Veron, G ; Wallis, J ; Wells, R ; Whittaker, D ; Williamson, EA ; Wittemyer, G ; Woinarski, J ; Zinner, D ; Upham, NS ; Jetz, W (Wiley, 2022-05)
    Aim: Comprehensive, global information on species' occurrences is an essential biodiversity variable and central to a range of applications in ecology, evolution, biogeography and conservation. Expert range maps often represent a species' only available distributional information and play an increasing role in conservation assessments and macroecology. We provide global range maps for the native ranges of all extant mammal species harmonised to the taxonomy of the Mammal Diversity Database (MDD) mobilised from two sources, the Handbook of the Mammals of the World (HMW) and the Illustrated Checklist of the Mammals of the World (CMW). Location: Global. Taxon: All extant mammal species. Methods: Range maps were digitally interpreted, georeferenced, error-checked and subsequently taxonomically aligned between the HMW (6253 species), the CMW (6431 species) and the MDD taxonomies (6362 species). Results: Range maps can be evaluated and visualised in an online map browser at Map of Life (mol.org) and accessed for individual or batch download for non-commercial use. Main conclusion: Expert maps of species' global distributions are limited in their spatial detail and temporal specificity, but form a useful basis for broad-scale characterizations and model-based integration with other data. We provide georeferenced range maps for the native ranges of all extant mammal species as shapefiles, with species-level metadata and source information packaged together in geodatabase format. Across the three taxonomic sources our maps entail, there are 1784 taxonomic name differences compared to the maps currently available on the IUCN Red List website. The expert maps provided here are harmonised to the MDD taxonomic authority and linked to a community of online tools that will enable transparent future updates and version control.
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    Correction for Nauer et al., Termite mounds mitigate half of termite methane emissions.
    Nauer, PA ; Hutley, LB ; Arndt, SK (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2022-04-12)
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    Arctic marine forest distribution models showcase potentially severe habitat losses for cryophilic species under climate change
    Bringloe, TT ; Wilkinson, DP ; Goldsmit, J ; Savoie, AM ; Filbee-Dexter, K ; Macgregor, KA ; Howland, KL ; McKindsey, CW ; Verbruggen, H (WILEY, 2022-03-08)
    The Arctic is among the fastest-warming areas of the globe. Understanding the impact of climate change on foundational Arctic marine species is needed to provide insight on ecological resilience at high latitudes. Marine forests, the underwater seascapes formed by seaweeds, are predicted to expand their ranges further north in the Arctic in a warmer climate. Here, we investigated whether northern habitat gains will compensate for losses at the southern range edge by modelling marine forest distributions according to three distribution categories: cryophilic (species restricted to the Arctic environment), cryotolerant (species with broad environmental preferences inclusive but not limited to the Arctic environment), and cryophobic (species restricted to temperate conditions) marine forests. Using stacked MaxEnt models, we predicted the current extent of suitable habitat for contemporary and future marine forests under Representative Concentration Pathway Scenarios of increasing emissions (2.6, 4.5, 6.0, and 8.5). Our analyses indicate that cryophilic marine forests are already ubiquitous in the north, and thus cannot expand their range under climate change, resulting in an overall loss of habitat due to severe southern range contractions. The extent of marine forests within the Arctic basin, however, is predicted to remain largely stable under climate change with notable exceptions in some areas, particularly in the Canadian Archipelago. Succession may occur where cryophilic and cryotolerant species are extirpated at their southern range edge, resulting in ecosystem shifts towards temperate regimes at mid to high latitudes, though many aspects of these shifts, such as total biomass and depth range, remain to be field validated. Our results provide the first global synthesis of predicted changes to pan-Arctic coastal marine forest ecosystems under climate change and suggest ecosystem transitions are unavoidable now for some areas.
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    Joint effects of climate, tree size, and year on annual tree growth derived from tree-ring records of ten globally distributed forests
    Anderson-Teixeira, KJ ; Herrmann, V ; Rollinson, CR ; Gonzalez, B ; Gonzalez-Akre, EB ; Pederson, N ; Alexander, MR ; Allen, CD ; Alfaro-Sanchez, R ; Awada, T ; Baltzer, JL ; Baker, PJ ; Birch, JD ; Bunyavejchewin, S ; Cherubini, P ; Davies, SJ ; Dow, C ; Helcoski, R ; Kaspar, J ; Lutz, JA ; Margolis, EQ ; Maxwell, JT ; McMahon, SM ; Piponiot, C ; Russo, SE ; Samonil, P ; Sniderhan, AE ; Tepley, AJ ; Vasickova, I ; Vlam, M ; Zuidema, PA (WILEY, 2021-10-30)
    Tree rings provide an invaluable long-term record for understanding how climate and other drivers shape tree growth and forest productivity. However, conventional tree-ring analysis methods were not designed to simultaneously test effects of climate, tree size, and other drivers on individual growth. This has limited the potential to test ecologically relevant hypotheses on tree growth sensitivity to environmental drivers and their interactions with tree size. Here, we develop and apply a new method to simultaneously model nonlinear effects of primary climate drivers, reconstructed tree diameter at breast height (DBH), and calendar year in generalized least squares models that account for the temporal autocorrelation inherent to each individual tree's growth. We analyze data from 3811 trees representing 40 species at 10 globally distributed sites, showing that precipitation, temperature, DBH, and calendar year have additively, and often interactively, influenced annual growth over the past 120 years. Growth responses were predominantly positive to precipitation (usually over ≥3-month seasonal windows) and negative to temperature (usually maximum temperature, over ≤3-month seasonal windows), with concave-down responses in 63% of relationships. Climate sensitivity commonly varied with DBH (45% of cases tested), with larger trees usually more sensitive. Trends in ring width at small DBH were linked to the light environment under which trees established, but basal area or biomass increments consistently reached maxima at intermediate DBH. Accounting for climate and DBH, growth rate declined over time for 92% of species in secondary or disturbed stands, whereas growth trends were mixed in older forests. These trends were largely attributable to stand dynamics as cohorts and stands age, which remain challenging to disentangle from global change drivers. By providing a parsimonious approach for characterizing multiple interacting drivers of tree growth, our method reveals a more complete picture of the factors influencing growth than has previously been possible.
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    Q(c) threshold departs from theoretical Q(c) in urban watersheds: The role of streambed mobility data in managing the urban disturbance regime
    Hawley, RJ ; Russell, KL ; Olinde, LJ (UNIV CHICAGO PRESS, 2022-09-01)
    The threshold discharge (Qc) for streambed mobilization is both biologically and geomorphically relevant to stream ecosystems. Excess streambed mobilization can disturb benthic organisms and initiate cycles of channel instability. The mechanistic relevance of Qc gives it great utility for aquatic ecosystem studies, stormwater management, and stream restoration design. However, field and laboratory data document considerable variability in Qc across hydrogeomorphic settings, underscoring the importance of using field data to calibrate the Qc estimate for a given stream or region. This paper shows how both high-and low-tech monitoring protocols can be used to constrain a Qc estimate, depending on monitoring program goals and budgets. Data from 3 hydrogeomorphically distinct settings in the USA and Australia show that the departure of Qc from theoretical estimates increases with watershed imperviousness. Although Qc estimates derived from conventional critical Shields stress values tend to be a reasonable and conservative starting point for stormwater management in streams that lack site-specific or regional data, streambed mobility monitoring is recommended to calibrate and validate Qc estimates for a stream or region prior to making large investments in stormwater interventions aimed at mitigating the urban streambed disturbance regime.
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    Managing urban riverscapes: An assessment framework to integrate social-ecological values and physical processes.
    Murphy, BM ; Russell, KL ; Mould, S ; Vietz, G ; Nelson, PA (Elsevier BV, 2022-08-29)
    The services that rivers provide and how they affect the landscape plays a dominate role in urban planning and development. Urban riverscapes, which consist of stream channels, their floodplains, biotic communities, and manmade features, are complex social-ecological and hydrogeomorphic systems. Yet, despite recognition of their place and value, rivers are often degraded in urban settings. Successfully managing urban riverscapes requires improved methods to assess them and to more effectively link stressors to values, and to incorporate these considerations in planning. Assessment of urban riverscapes' physical condition and function-a hydrogeomorphic assessment-is necessary to make these links, and inform more appropriate management strategies for sustainable and valued riverscape systems. The framework and methods used for such an assessment should be appropriate to the urban context, insofar as they are applicable to a range of streams from lightly degraded to highly utilized or constructed. Above all, the framework must prioritize the connection of human communities to riverscapes. In this article, we outline a framework for urban riverscape assessment which considers four facets of urban riverscapes: human values, hydrology, geomorphology, and ecology. The four facets, assessed across multiple nested scales, provide a flexible basis for context-driven hydrogeomorphic assessment, which is vital to informing better planning and management of urban riverscapes. The framework can be integrated with other facets (e.g. geochemical, aquatic ecology) depending on the scope of the assessment. By linking intrinsic, relational, and use-based values to physical conditions, watershed managers can select relevant and measurable indicators that directly inform interventions in the riverscape, catchment, or urban zones to improve riverscape function and urban vitality through planning mechanisms. This assessment framework facilitates dialogue between managers, practitioners, scientists, and the community; enabling technical and non-technical inputs to the development of assessment criteria, and a shared vision to inform targets and goals.
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    ‘Rethinking the way we practice our professions’: social-ecological resilience for built environment professionals
    Hurlimann, A ; Beilin, R ; March, A (Informa UK Limited, 2022-01-01)
    Urbanisation and industrialisation have contributed to significant and detrimental changes in the earth’s natural environments. The concept of social-ecological resilience can assist this problem, by integrating the consideration of human and ecological systems in decision-making. An implication is that built environment professionals must be competent in social-ecological resilience knowledge and skills to ensure cities are well adapted to current environmental challenges, and do not further contribute to them. Yet the capabilities of built environment professionals to incorporate resilience thinking (theory and knowledge) into their work (skills and practice), is not well understood and is not well addressed in education theory. This paper contributes to this gap by: exploring the social-ecological resilience knowledge, skills, and practical experience of Australian built environment professionals, thereby identifying gaps to address in further and higher education. Results indicate that built environment professionals’ know about social-ecological resilience, but they identify their practical experience is low. Additionally, respondents are more confident with their abilities, compared to colleagues, and their profession at large. The results indicate that further and higher education offerings (e.g. university education, continuing professional education, and practice) must assist built environment professionals to further develop social-ecological skills. As one respondent stated–it will require ‘rethinking the way we practice our professions’.
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    Willingness to Pay for Conservation of the Asian Elephant in Nakai Nam Theun National Protected Area in Laos
    Chanthasene, S ; Phimmavong, S ; Baral, H ; Wayakone, S ; Wanneng, P (Scientific Research Publishing, Inc., 2022)