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Bridging the research-management gap: using knowledge exchange and stakeholder engagement to aid decision-making in invasive rat management
Available Online

Ewen, J.G.

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Ferrière, C.

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Jones, C.G.

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Maggs, G.

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Murrell, D.J.

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Nicoll, M.A.C.

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Norris, K.

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Tatayah, V.

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Zuël, N.

2019
The world is facing a biodiversity crisis. Nowhere is that more apparent than on oceanic islands where invasive species are a major threat for island biodiversity. Rats are one of the most detrimental of these and have been the target of numerous eradication programmes; a well-established conservation tool for island systems. For at-risk native species inhabiting large, populated islands, where rat eradication is not an option, control of rat populations has been conducted but this requires continuous management and therefore its long-term viability (and that of the at-risk native species which the project aims to protect) can be uncertain. Large-scale rat management areas or ‘mainland islands’ have been successfully developed in New Zealand. However, large-scale management is a long-term investment with huge financial implications and committing to such an investment can be met with reluctance. This reluctance, and its subsequent hindrance to decision-making, can be caused by uncertainty relating to species conservation outcomes, and the multiple objectives of stakeholders. We address the issue of uncertainty and the importance of communication between all stakeholder parties in relation to the Mauritius olive white-eye (Zosterops chloronothos), a critically endangered passerine endemic to Mauritius and highly threatened by invasive rats. Specifically, we illustrate how the combination of scientific research and communication, knowledge exchange, and stakeholder workshops, can address some of the barriers of decision-making, helping to bridge the research-management gap, and enable the timely expansion of existing rat management for the benefit of this highly threatened bird.
Timing aerial baiting for rodent eradications on cool temperate islands: mice on Marion Island
Available Online

Parkes, J.P.

2019
Aerial baiting from helicopters with a bait-sowing bucket and GPS to ensure coverage with anticoagulant toxins in cereal-based baits can reliably eradicate rodents on islands. Current best practice for temperate islands is to bait in winter when the rodents are not breeding, rodent numbers are lowest so competition for toxic baits is lowest, natural food is likely to be scarce, and many non-target species are absent from the island. However, short winter day lengths at high latitudes restrict the time helicopters can fly and poor weather in winter may increase risks of failure. This paper notes precedents from cool temperate islands where baiting was not conducted in winter and then uses the extensive data on mice on Marion Island to explore whether current recommendations for winter baiting based on breeding and natural food availability are important risk factors in determining time of year to bait. Marion Island mice do not breed between early May and late September, mouse densities reach a maximum in May and minimum in November, but the biomass of main natural food (invertebrates) does not fluctuate greatly over the year. This means the per capita food availability is least in autumn and increases through winter to most in spring and summer. The weight of the stomach contents of mice is also highest in winter. Based on this per capita food parameter, mice are likely to be most hungry between about March and May suggesting baiting would be more effective in this period (perhaps towards the end of it when breeding stops) than in the more traditional winter season.
Climate change vulnerability assessment of species
Available Online

Akcakaya, H. Resit

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Bickford, David

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Carr, Jamie A.

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Foden, Wendy B.

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Garcia, Raquel A.

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Hoffmann, Ary A.

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Hole, David G.

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Huntley, Brian

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Martine, Tara G.

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Pacifici, Michela

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Pearce-Higgins, James W.

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Platts, Philip J.

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Stein, Bruce A.

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Thomas, Chris D.

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Visconti, Piero

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Watson, James E.M.

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Wheatley, Christopher J.

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Young, Bruce E.

2018
Assessing species' vulnerability to climate change is a prerequisite for developing effective strategies to conserve them. The last three decades have seen exponential growth in the number of studies evaluating how, how much, why, when, and where species will be impacted by climate change. We provide an overview of the rapidly developing field of climate change vulnerability assessment (CCVA) and describe key concepts, terms, steps and considerations. We stress the importance of identifying the full range of pressures, impacts and their associated mechanisms that species face and using this as a basis for selecting the appropriate assessment approaches for quantifying vulnerability. We outline four CCVA assessment approaches, namely trait?based, correlative, mechanistic and combined approaches and discuss their use. Since any assessment can deliver unreliable or even misleading results when incorrect data and parameters are applied, we discuss finding, selecting, and applying input data and provide examples of open?access resources. Because rare, small?range, and declining?range species are often of particular conservation concern while also posing significant challenges for CCVA, we describe alternative ways to assess them. We also describe how CCVAs can be used to inform IUCN Red List assessments of extinction risk. Finally, we suggest future directions in this field and propose areas where research efforts may be particularly valuable.