Institut for Biologi

Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

J.-C. Svenning

Joining forces toward proactive elephant and rhinoceros conservation

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskrift/Konferencebidrag i tidsskrift /Bidrag til avisReviewForskningpeer review


Proactive approaches that anticipate the long-term effects of current and future conservation threats could increase the effectiveness and efficiency of biodiversity conservation. However, such approaches can be obstructed by a lack of knowledge of habitat requirements for wildlife. To aggregate and assess the suitability of current information available on habitat requirements needed for proactive conservation, we conducted a systematic review of the literature on elephant and rhinoceros habitat requirements and synthesized data by combining a vote counting assessment with bibliometric and term maps. We contextualized these numeric and terminological results with a narrative review. We mapped current methods, results, terminology, and collaborations of 693 studies. Quantitative evidence for factors that influence the suitability of an area for elephants and rhinoceros was biased toward African savanna elephants and ecological variables. Less than one third of holistic approaches considered equal amounts of ecological and anthropogenic variables in their assessments. There was a general lack of quantitative evidence for direct proxies of anthropogenic variables that were expected to play an important role based on qualitative evidence and policy documents. However, there was evidence for a segregation in conceptual frameworks among countries and species and between science versus policy literature. There was also evidence of unused potential for collaborations among southern hemisphere researchers. Our results indicated that the success of proactive conservation interventions can be increased if ecological and anthropogenic dimensions are integrated into holistic habitat assessments and holistic carrying capacities and quantitative evidence for anthropogenic variables is improved. To avoid wasting limited resources, it is necessary to form inclusive collaborations within and across networks of researchers studying different species across regional and continental borders and in the science–policy realm.

TidsskriftConservation Biology
StatusAccepteret/In press - 2021

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
This work is funded by J.C.S.’s Carlsberg Foundation Semper Ardens project MegaPast2Future (CF16‐0005) and his VILLUM Investigator project Biodiversity Dynamics in a Changing World funded by VILLUM FONDEN (grant 16549). We also consider this work a contribution to Maasai Mara Science and Development Initiative (MMSDI). We thank the rhinoceros and elephant experts who provided us with insights that initiated this work and shared literature sources for the narrative review. In particular, we are grateful to M. ‘t Sas‐Rolfes for his input on the manuscript and to L. Waltman for his input on the construction and interpretation of the VOS viewer networks.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. Conservation Biology published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Society for Conservation Biology

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