School of Geography, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 222
Effectiveness of Biodiversity Surrogates for Conservation Planning: Different Measures of Effectiveness Generate a Kaleidoscope of Variation
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2010-07-14)
Conservation planners represent many aspects of biodiversity by using surrogates with spatial distributions readily observed or quantified, but tests of their effectiveness have produced varied and conflicting results. We identified four factors likely to have a strong influence on the apparent effectiveness of surrogates: (1) the choice of surrogate; (2) differences among study regions, which might be large and unquantified (3) the test method, that is, how effectiveness is quantified, and (4) the test features that the surrogates are intended to represent. Analysis of an unusually rich dataset enabled us, for the first time, to disentangle these factors and to compare their individual and interacting influences. Using two data-rich regions, we estimated effectiveness using five alternative methods: two forms of incidental representation, two forms of species accumulation index and irreplaceability correlation, to assess the performance of 'forest ecosystems' and 'environmental units' as surrogates for six groups of threatened species-the test features-mammals, birds, reptiles, frogs, plants and all of these combined. Four methods tested the effectiveness of the surrogates by selecting areas for conservation of the surrogates then estimating how effective those areas were at representing test features. One method measured the spatial match between conservation priorities for surrogates and test features. For methods that selected conservation areas, we measured effectiveness using two analytical approaches: (1) when representation targets for the surrogates were achieved (incidental representation), or (2) progressively as areas were selected (species accumulation index). We estimated the spatial correlation of conservation priorities using an index known as summed irreplaceability. In general, the effectiveness of surrogates for our taxa (mostly threatened species) was low, although environmental units tended to be more effective than forest ecosystems. The surrogates were most effective for plants and mammals and least effective for frogs and reptiles. The five testing methods differed in their rankings of effectiveness of the two surrogates in relation to different groups of test features. There were differences between study areas in terms of the effectiveness of surrogates for different test feature groups. Overall, the effectiveness of the surrogates was sensitive to all four factors. This indicates the need for caution in generalizing surrogacy tests.
Why Don't We Ask? A Complementary Method for Assessing the Status of Great Apes
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2011-03-31)
Species conservation is difficult. Threats to species are typically high and immediate. Effective solutions for counteracting these threats, however, require synthesis of high quality evidence, appropriately targeted activities, typically costly implementation, and rapid re-evaluation and adaptation. Conservation management can be ineffective if there is insufficient understanding of the complex ecological, political, socio-cultural, and economic factors that underlie conservation threats. When information about these factors is incomplete, conservation managers may be unaware of the most urgent threats or unable to envision all consequences of potential management strategies. Conservation research aims to address the gap between what is known and what knowledge is needed for effective conservation. Such research, however, generally addresses a subset of the factors that underlie conservation threats, producing a limited, simplistic, and often biased view of complex, real world situations. A combination of approaches is required to provide the complete picture necessary to engage in effective conservation. Orangutan conservation (Pongo spp.) offers an example: standard conservation assessments employ survey methods that focus on ecological variables, but do not usually address the socio-cultural factors that underlie threats. Here, we evaluate a complementary survey method based on interviews of nearly 7,000 people in 687 villages in Kalimantan, Indonesia. We address areas of potential methodological weakness in such surveys, including sampling and questionnaire design, respondent biases, statistical analyses, and sensitivity of resultant inferences. We show that interview-based surveys can provide cost-effective and statistically robust methods to better understand poorly known populations of species that are relatively easily identified by local people. Such surveys provide reasonably reliable estimates of relative presence and relative encounter rates of such species, as well as quantifying the main factors that threaten them. We recommend more extensive use of carefully designed and implemented interview surveys, in conjunction with more traditional field methods.
Quantifying Killing of Orangutans and Human-Orangutan Conflict in Kalimantan, Indonesia
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2011-11-11)
Human-orangutan conflict and hunting are thought to pose a serious threat to orangutan existence in Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of Borneo. No data existed prior to the present study to substantiate these threats. We investigated the rates, spatial distribution and causes of conflict and hunting through an interview-based survey in the orangutan's range in Kalimantan, Indonesia. Between April 2008 and September 2009, we interviewed 6983 respondents in 687 villages to obtain socio-economic information, assess knowledge of local wildlife in general and orangutan encounters specifically, and to query respondents about their knowledge on orangutan conflicts and killing, and relevant laws. This survey revealed estimated killing rates of between 750 and 1800 animals killed in the last year, and between 1950 and 3100 animals killed per year on average within the lifetime of the survey respondents. These killing rates are higher than previously thought and are high enough to pose a serious threat to the continued existence of orangutans in Kalimantan. Importantly, the study contributes to our understanding of the spatial variation in threats, and the underlying causes of those threats, which can be used to facilitate the development of targeted conservation management.
The Prospects for Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) in Vietnam: A Look at Three Payment Schemes
(SPRINGER/PLENUM PUBLISHERS, 2012-04-01)
Global conservation discourses and practices increasingly rely on market-based solutions to fulfill the dual objective of forest conservation and economic development. Although varied, these interventions are premised on the assumption that natural resources are most effectively managed and preserved while benefiting livelihoods if the market-incentives of a liberalised economy are correctly in place. By examining three nationally supported payment for ecosystem service (PES) schemes in Vietnam we show how insecure land tenure, high transaction costs and high opportunity costs can undermine the long-term benefits of PES programmes for local households and, hence, potentially threaten their livelihood viability. In many cases, the income from PES programmes does not reach the poor because of political and economic constraints. Local elite capture of PES benefits through the monopolization of access to forestland and existing state forestry management are identified as key problems. We argue that as PES schemes create a market for ecosystem services, such markets must be understood not simply as bald economic exchanges between 'rational actors' but rather as exchanges embedded in particular socio-political and historical contexts to support the sustainable use of forest resources and local livelihoods in Vietnam.
An Ill Wind? Climate Change, Migration, and Health
(US DEPT HEALTH HUMAN SCIENCES PUBLIC HEALTH SCIENCE, 2012-05-01)
BACKGROUND: Climate change is projected to cause substantial increases in population movement in coming decades. Previous research has considered the likely causal influences and magnitude of such movements and the risks to national and international security. There has been little research on the consequences of climate-related migration and the health of people who move. OBJECTIVES: In this review, we explore the role that health impacts of climate change may play in population movements and then examine the health implications of three types of movements likely to be induced by climate change: forcible displacement by climate impacts, resettlement schemes, and migration as an adaptive response. METHODS: This risk assessment draws on research into the health of refugees, migrants, and people in resettlement schemes as analogs of the likely health consequences of climate-related migration. Some account is taken of the possible modulation of those health risks by climate change. DISCUSSION: Climate-change-related migration is likely to result in adverse health outcomes, both for displaced and for host populations, particularly in situations of forced migration. However, where migration and other mobility are used as adaptive strategies, health risks are likely to be minimized, and in some cases there will be health gains. CONCLUSIONS: Purposeful and timely policy interventions can facilitate the mobility of people, enhance well-being, and maximize social and economic development in both places of origin and places of destination. Nevertheless, the anticipated occurrence of substantial relocation of groups and communities will underscore the fundamental seriousness of human-induced climate change.
Bayesian models for comparative analysis integrating phylogenetic uncertainty
BACKGROUND: Uncertainty in comparative analyses can come from at least two sources: a) phylogenetic uncertainty in the tree topology or branch lengths, and b) uncertainty due to intraspecific variation in trait values, either due to measurement error or natural individual variation. Most phylogenetic comparative methods do not account for such uncertainties. Not accounting for these sources of uncertainty leads to false perceptions of precision (confidence intervals will be too narrow) and inflated significance in hypothesis testing (e.g. p-values will be too small). Although there is some application-specific software for fitting Bayesian models accounting for phylogenetic error, more general and flexible software is desirable. METHODS: We developed models to directly incorporate phylogenetic uncertainty into a range of analyses that biologists commonly perform, using a Bayesian framework and Markov Chain Monte Carlo analyses. RESULTS: We demonstrate applications in linear regression, quantification of phylogenetic signal, and measurement error models. Phylogenetic uncertainty was incorporated by applying a prior distribution for the phylogeny, where this distribution consisted of the posterior tree sets from Bayesian phylogenetic tree estimation programs. The models were analysed using simulated data sets, and applied to a real data set on plant traits, from rainforest plant species in Northern Australia. Analyses were performed using the free and open source software OpenBUGS and JAGS. CONCLUSIONS: Incorporating phylogenetic uncertainty through an empirical prior distribution of trees leads to more precise estimation of regression model parameters than using a single consensus tree and enables a more realistic estimation of confidence intervals. In addition, models incorporating measurement errors and/or individual variation, in one or both variables, are easily formulated in the Bayesian framework. We show that BUGS is a useful, flexible general purpose tool for phylogenetic comparative analyses, particularly for modelling in the face of phylogenetic uncertainty and accounting for measurement error or individual variation in explanatory variables. Code for all models is provided in the BUGS model description language.
It's Not Just Conflict That Motivates Killing of Orangutans
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2013-10-09)
We investigated why orangutans are being killed in Kalimantan, Indonesia, and the role of conflict in these killings. Based on an analysis of interview data from over 5,000 respondents in over 450 villages, we also assessed the socio-ecological factors associated with conflict and non-conflict killings. Most respondents never kill orangutans. Those who reported having personally killed an orangutan primarily did so for non-conflict reasons; for example, 56% of these respondents said that the reason they had killed an orangutan was to eat it. Of the conflict-related reasons for killing, the most common reasons orangutans were killed was fear of orangutans or in self-defence. A similar pattern was evident among reports of orangutan killing by other people in the villages. Regression analyses indicated that religion and the percentage of intact forest around villages were the strongest socio-ecological predictors of whether orangutans were killed for conflict or non-conflict related reasons. Our data indicate that between 44,170 and 66,570 orangutans were killed in Kalimantan within the respondents' active hunting lifetimes: between 12,690 and 29,024 for conflict reasons (95%CI) and between 26,361 and 41,688 for non-conflict reasons (95% CI). These findings confirm that habitat protection alone will not ensure the survival of orangutans in Indonesian Borneo, and that effective reduction of orangutan killings is urgently needed.
Impacts of spectroscopic errors on O<sub>2</sub> measurement requirements for the ASCENDS mission
(Copernicus GmbH, 2014-07-10)
Abstract. Remotely sensed observations of atmospheric composition require an estimate of surface pressure. This estimate can either come from an instrument with sensitivity in an O2 absorption feature in the spectrum, or it can be provided by a numerical weather prediction (NWP) model. In this work, the authors outline a information-based methodology for setting measurement requirements for an active measurement of O2 in the context of the Active Sensing of Carbon Emissions over Nights, Days and Seasons (ASCENDS) mission. The results indicate that the impacts of correlations in the spectroscopic errors between CO2 and O2 measurements are nontrivial, and actually tighten the requirement for the O2 measurement by 5–10%.
Through the Eyes of Children: Perceptions of Environmental Change in Tropical Forests
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2014-08-05)
This study seeks to understand children's perceptions of their present and future environments in the highly biodiverse and rapidly changing landscapes of Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. We analyzed drawings by children (target age 10-15 years) from 22 villages, which show how children perceive the present conditions of forests and wildlife surrounding their villages and how they expect conditions to change over the next 15 years. Analyses of picture elements and their relationships to current landscape variables indicate that children have a sophisticated understanding of their environment and how different environmental factors interact, either positively or negatively. Children appear to have landscape-dependent environmental perceptions, showing awareness of past environmental conditions and many aspects of recent trends, and translating these into predictions for future environmental conditions. The further removed their present landscape is from the originally forested one, the more environmental change they expect in the future, particularly declines in forest cover, rivers, animal diversity and increases in temperature and natural disasters. This suggests that loss of past perceptions and associated "shifting environmental baselines" do not feature strongly among children on Borneo, at least not for the perceptions we investigated here. Our findings that children have negative expectations of their future environmental conditions have important political implications. More than other generations, children have a stake in ensuring that future environmental conditions support their long-term well-being. Understanding what drives environmental views among children, and how they consider trade-offs between economic development and social and environmental change, should inform optimal policies on land use. Our study illuminates part of the complex interplay between perceptions of land cover and land use change. Capturing the views of children through artistic expressions provides a potentially powerful tool to influence public and political opinions, as well as a valuable approach for developing localized education and nature conservation programs.
The impact of overshooting deep convection on local transport and mixing in the tropical upper troposphere/lower stratosphere (UTLS)
(Copernicus GmbH, 2015-01-14)
Abstract. In this study we examine the simulated downward transport and mixing of stratospheric air into the upper tropical troposphere as observed on a research flight during the SCOUT-O3 campaign in connection to a deep convective system. We use the Advanced Research Weather and Research Forecasting (WRF-ARW) model with a horizontal resolution of 333 m to examine this downward transport. The simulation reproduces the deep convective system, its timing and overshooting altitudes reasonably well compared to radar and aircraft observations. Passive tracers initialised at pre-storm times indicate the downward transport of air from the stratosphere to the upper troposphere as well as upward transport from the boundary layer into the cloud anvils and overshooting tops. For example, a passive ozone tracer (i.e. a tracer not undergoing chemical processing) shows an enhancement in the upper troposphere of up to about 30 ppbv locally in the cloud, while the in situ measurements show an increase of 50 ppbv. However, the passive carbon monoxide tracer exhibits an increase, while the observations show a decrease of about 10 ppbv, indicative of an erroneous model representation of the transport processes in the tropical tropopause layer. Furthermore, it could point to insufficient entrainment and detrainment in the model. The simulation shows a general moistening of air in the lower stratosphere but it also exhibits local dehydration features. Here we use the model to explain the processes causing the transport and also expose areas of inconsistencies between the model and observations.
A method for calculating the duration and intensity of salt intrusions: the Yangtze River estuary
(Copernicus GmbH, 2015-05-13)
Abstract. Studies of intrusions of salt water into estuaries are typically constrained by both the short duration of discharge records and the paucity of observations of discharge and salinity. Thus studies of intrusions of salt water into estuaries typically seek to identify the conditions under which intrusions occur, using detailed observations for periods of 20–60 days. This paper demonstrates a method by which to identify the conditions under which intense intrusions of long duration occur and applies that method to the Yangtze River estuary. The paper constructs a model of the relationship between salinity and discharge and then employs Monte Carlo simulation methods to reconstruct the probability of observing intrusions of differing intensities and durations in relation to discharge. The model predicts that the duration of intrusions with chlorinity ≥250 mg L−1 increases as the number of consecutive days with discharge ≤12 000 m3 s−1 increases; consecutive days of discharges ≤8000 m3 s−1 predict the duration of intrusions with chlorinity ≥400 or 500 mg L−1. In 26 of the 64 years analysed, the probability of an intrusion of at least 60 days at ≥250 mg L−1 is greater than 1 in 1000; in 17 years is greater than 1 in 100; and in ten years is greater than 1 in 10.
Evaluation of the Australian Community Climate and Earth-System Simulator Chemistry-Climate Model
(Copernicus GmbH, 2015-07-13)
Abstract. Chemistry climate models are important tools for addressing interactions of composition and climate in the Earth System. In particular, they are used for assessing the combined roles of greenhouse gases and ozone in Southern Hemisphere climate and weather. Here we present an evaluation of the Australian Community Climate and Earth System Simulator-Chemistry Climate Model, focusing on the Southern Hemisphere and the Australian region. This model is used for the Australian contribution to the international Chemistry-Climate Model Initiative, which is soliciting hindcast, future projection and sensitivity simulations. The model simulates global total column ozone (TCO) distributions accurately, with a slight delay in the onset and recovery of springtime Antarctic ozone depletion, and consistently higher ozone values. However, October averaged Antarctic TCO from 1960 to 2010 show a similar amount of depletion compared to observations. A significant innovation is the evaluation of simulated vertical profiles of ozone and temperature with ozonesonde data from Australia, New Zealand and Antarctica from 38 to 90° S. Excess ozone concentrations (up to 26.4 % at Davis during winter) and stratospheric cold biases (up to 10.1 K at the South Pole) outside the period of perturbed springtime ozone depletion are seen during all seasons compared to ozonesondes. A disparity in the vertical location of ozone depletion is seen: centered around 100 hPa in ozonesonde data compared to above 50 hPa in the model. Analysis of vertical chlorine monoxide profiles indicates that colder Antarctic stratospheric temperatures (possibly due to reduced mid-latitude heat flux) are artificially enhancing polar stratospheric cloud formation at high altitudes. The models inability to explicitly simulated supercooled ternary solution may also explain the lack of depletion at lower altitudes. The simulated Southern Annular Mode (SAM) index compares well with ERA-Interim data. Accompanying these modulations of the SAM, 50 hPa zonal wind differences between 2001–2010 and 1979–1998 show increasing zonal wind strength southward of 60° S during December for both the model simulations and ERA-Interim data. These model diagnostics shows that the model reasonably captures the stratospheric ozone driven chemistry-climate interactions important for Australian climate and weather while highlighting areas for future model development.