Bat Conservation: Global Evidence for the Effects of Interventions (Synopses of Conservation Evidence)

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9781907807893: Bat Conservation: Global Evidence for the Effects of Interventions (Synopses of Conservation Evidence)

Too much past conservation has been a nice fluffy exercise which has regularly failed to deliver. Given the current crisis in wildlife declines we need to sharpen our game and for this we need to use the best available evidence. This volume and it associated publications will help us to do this. ECOS This new book aims to provide easy access to key scientific evidence to inform decisions on how to conserve birds. it does this by collecting, summarising and synthesising the scientific evidence (more than 1,200 individual studies) for 322 realistic interventions to conserve wild birds. Bird practitioners around the world are constantly deciding how to save birds from a range of different threats. However, given the widespread nature of the global conservation community, with its diverse information sources, and their different levels of accessibility, it can be difficult to use the most appropriate evidence to inform conservation actions. In fact, research has shown that conservation practitioners often cannot access scientific literature and so rarely use the published science. The book is one of a series of synopses on different taxonomic groups and conservation issues, and has been prepared by the Conservation Evidence Project at the University of Cambridge. Other titles already available include Bee Conservation and European Farmland Conservation, and synopses on Bats, Carnivores and Amphibians are in preparation, with more to follow. Bird Conservation comprises 16 chapters, each organised around interventions to deal with different aspects of a general threat, such as agriculture, biological resource use or pollution. Each chapter briefly introduces each threat and highlights key messages that provide a general summary of the evidence. It then focuses on all realistic interventions that can be taken in response to these threats. For each, a background on the rationale of the intervention is provided, followed by a short summary of the evidence for its effectiveness. Later, short and concise summaries of individual studies that tested the intervention are provided, with information on the study design (replicated, controlled, paired), sample sizes, study site and time, and the overall findings. Thus, the information can be read at different levels ofdetail and should be very useful to inform decisions by conservation practitioners. The information should also help conservationists to assess the strength of the evidence and its relevance for their particular case. In a recent global survey carried out by the University of Cambridge and BirdLife International many practitioners stated that the newly published book would be useful for their conservation activities and they were very likely to use it to inform conservation decisions. The comprehensive nature of the book also allows readers to evaluate where the evidence is weak. Thus, practitioners may want to test and report actions for which there is currently little or no evidence. In this way, conservationists will not only use but also contribute to the scientific evidence, thereby improving the ability of others to conserve birds elsewhere. The book is available for purchase through Pelagic Publishing ( conservation), and also for download as a free PDF and as a searchable, ever-growing database at www.conservationevidencecom. its wide availability should help bird conservationists to take appropriate conservation decisions and in turn help improve conservation outcomes. World Birdwatch Bird Conservation is the second volume in a series that is part of an ongoing effort to make biodiversity conservation more evidence-based. The opening pages outline the Conservation Evidence project, who the series might appeal to, and how it links to other similar initiatives, such as the Centre for Evidence-Based Conservation at the University of Bangor. The overall approach of taking what is increasingly complex scientific research (especially the wealth of sophisticated data-analysis techniques) and trying to distil this down to the key issues for the end-user is admirable. Too often, excellent research has not been applied by the conservation practitioner because the outputs are not readily available in an accessible format. This book brings together scientific evidence and experience relevant to the practical conservation of wild birds and lists 322 interventions that could be of benefit. In addition, the reader is pointed to further information that is available on-line through the Conservation Evidence project. The wealth of information that is contained in this book is summarized in a very user-friendly way, with a standard structure throughout each chapter. Conservation interventions are grouped by threats according to the standard definition used by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Inevitably, there are overlaps where interventions could occur in several parts of the book, but the authors take a pragmatic approach in assigning the most suitable place and providing clear cross-referencing. Each chapter has a succinct summary and background, with an excellent overview of the key messages the reader should note. Jargon is avoided, as is the data analysis behind the results that are summarized, and this makes the accounts very readable by the average conservation practitioner and land manager. Perhaps inevitably, the book is dominated by a few key threats, notably agriculture (Chapter 5), stretching to 100 pages, and invasive alien and other problematic species (Chapter 12; 74 pages). Others are more limited in scope, for example the threats of energy production and climate change are covered in a total of just over two pages (although interventions are cross-referenced elsewhere). The breadth of interventions within the book is staggering. Where else would you bring together the use of snakeskin to deter mammalian nest predators and the use of lime to reduce acidification in lakes? The authors make no attempt to assess the evidence quantitatively but they do provide readers with sufficient information to make their own judgements that will be applicable to their own situation. The only criticism of the book is that it comes to a rather abrupt end. There could have been some merit in a summary of what the authors think are the key overarching messages from all the interventions listed; or indeed, an assessment of what the key gaps are in our knowledge of bird conservation interventions, and how these could be addressed in the future. Had such a summary been written by the ultimate end-user of this book, it might have further contributed to bringing scientists and conservation practitioners together. For future Synopses of Conservation Evidence it may be worth considering adding a few practitioners to the Advisory Board. Overall, this is an outstanding book (and an excellent concept) that will make a significant contribution to evidence-based bird conservation, and I hope there will be many future editions allowing conservation practitioners to be right up to date with current scientific research. IBIS Overall, this is an outstanding book (and an excellent concept) that will make a significant contribution to evidence-based bird conservation, and I hope there will be many future editions allowing conservation practitioners to be right up to date with current scientific research. IBIS This large volume reviews the literature for quantifiable, statistically significant and biologically meaningful effects of 322 human interventions on bird conservation. Therefore, what you have thought of most likely have been tried somewhere else before. This is the second volume in the Synopses of Conservation Evidence Series examining the effectiveness of conservation approaches for a variety of taxa across the globe. The authors worked with an extensive international group of bird experts to compile this very large list of human interventions. The authors literally scanned thousands articles in the literature up to and including 2010 from mostly ornithological, conservation and wildlife management journals written in English. However, this volume does not mention every published English language bird conservation article. For example, I am aware that there are many more Burrowing Owl conservation articles than were cited in this book. I also noticed that voluntary habitat stewardship approaches were missing from the volume. However, I am pleased that the authors have developed a website (www.conservation where information can be easily updated and shared. Readers should read the About this Book chapter carefully as it explains the content and organization of the book, as well as how to get the most out of this book. The book is divided into 15 chapters: habitat protection; education and raising awareness; residential and commercial development; agriculture; energy production and mining; transportation and service corridors; biological resource use; human intrusions and disturbance; natural system modification; habitat restoration and creation; invasive alien and other problematic species; pollution; climate change and geologic events; general responses to small or declining populations; and captive breeding/rearing and releases. This wide-ranging set of topics should easily meet most readers' needs. Chapters are further subdivided from two to 49 sections. The larger subsections are further subdivided by bird families. The only serious flaw in this book is that it is so densely packed with information that it is difficult to follow. Clearly, it is aimed at professional conservationists, land managers and ornithologists familiar with the scientific literature. However, there are brief background information and "key messages" highlighting the most important points to remember from the reviewed literature at the beginning of each chapter and major chapter sections. At the end of each section there is a literature cited section ordered by the same citation number in the text. Standardized full citations are used so it should be easy for readers to track down articles of interest. Although this book has some limitations, I do recommend it to anyone ...


This book presents what conservation evidence exists about bats, their threats and conservation measures. Interventions are listed as one of 12 specific topics. For example, there are six different interventions for 'human disturbance - caving and tourism' ((e.g. maintain micro-climate, use of cave gates, etc.). Each intervention is assessed to gauge if evidence exists to substantiate effects. It provides a stark insight into the lack of scientific research (or survey work that remains unpublished) about how humans affect bats. This publication also serves as a useful 'wake-up call' to bat surveyors and researchers, identifying which interventions are lacking scientific evidence. This is very helpful in directing future bat research. Quite often though, ecological judgements have to be made without adequate scientific evidence. In practice, these will be made with whatever knowledge is available, whether this is from academia or informed by non-academic findings or surveys. Due to the books strong scientific research content, I found this book quite 'dry', but it certainly delivers what it aims to achieve. The small font gives a 'text heavy' appearance (for an A5 sized book). Relevant illustrations or photos could have helped to break-up text on specific topics where there are good examples for the evidence of effects. As a result, this book would appear more suitable for university students. However, I would buy this book as a very useful base-line reference source for bat conservation. Pelagic Publishing is congratulated in taking forward publications to the benefit of the bat community. -- David Patterson Scottish Bats

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