Community-managed forests and wildlife-friendly agriculture play a subsidiary but not substitutive role to protected areas for the endangered Asian elephant

Goswami, Varun R., Sridhara, Sachin, Medhi, Kamal, Williams, A. Christy, Chellam, Ravi, Nichols, James D., and Oli, Madan K. (2014) Community-managed forests and wildlife-friendly agriculture play a subsidiary but not substitutive role to protected areas for the endangered Asian elephant. Biological Conservation, 177. pp. 74-81.

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Abstract

Global conservation policy is increasingly debating the feasibility of reconciling wildlife conservation and human resource requirements in land uses outside protected areas (PAs). However, there are few quantitative assessments of whether or to what extent these 'wildlife-friendly' land uses fulfill a fundamental function of PAs—to separate biodiversity from anthropogenic threats. We distinguish the role of wildlife-friendly land uses as being (a) subsidiary, whereby they augment PAs with secondary habitat, or (b) substitutive, wherein they provide comparable habitat to PAs. We tested our hypotheses by investigating the influence of land use and human presence on space-use intensity of the endangered Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) in a fragmented landscape comprising PAs and wildlife-friendly land uses. We applied multistate occupancy models to spatial data on elephant occurrence to estimate and model the overall probability of elephants using a site, and the conditional probability of high-intensity use given that elephants use a site. The probability of elephants using a site regardless of intensity did not vary between PAs and wildlife-friendly land uses. However, high-intensity use declined with distance to PAs, and this effect was accentuated by an increase in village density. Therefore, while wildlife-friendly land uses did play a subsidiary conservation role, their potential to substitute for PAs was offset by a strong human presence. Our findings demonstrate the need to evaluate the role of wildlife-friendly land uses in landscape-scale conservation; for species that have conflicting resource requirements with people, PAs are likely to provide crucial refuge from growing anthropogenic threats.

Item ID: 36230
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1873-2917
Keywords: agri-environment, conservation policy, human-dominated landscapes, land use planning, large mammals, multistate occupancy models
Funders: United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), World Wildlife Fund (WWF), University of Florida (UF)
Projects and Grants: FWS Asian Elephant Conservation Fund grant no. 96200-0-G142, WWF AREAS program, UF Alumni Fellowship
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2014 10:49
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050211 Wildlife and Habitat Management @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9613 Remnant Vegetation and Protected Conservation Areas > 961308 Remnant Vegetation and Protected Conservation Areas at Regional or Larger Scales @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9606 Environmental and Natural Resource Evaluation > 960604 Environmental Management Systems @ 50%
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