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Liben Lark Heteromirafra archeri is a ‘Critically Endangered’ species threatened by the loss and degradation of grassland at the Liben Plain, southern Ethiopia, one of only two known sites for the species. We use field data from nine visits between 2007 and 2019 and satellite imagery to quantify changes over time in the species’ abundance and in the extent and quality of its habitat. We estimate that the population fell from around 279 singing males (95% CL: 182–436) in 2007 to around 51 (14–144) in 2013, after which too few birds were recorded to estimate population size. Arable cultivation first appeared on the plain in the early 1990s and by 2019 more than a third of the plain had been converted to crops. Cultivation was initially confined to the fertile black soils but from 2008 began to spread into the less fertile red soils that cover most of the plain. Liben Larks strongly avoided areas with extensive bare ground or trees and bushes, but the extent of these did not change significantly over the survey period. A plausible explanation for the species’ decline is that grassland degradation, caused before 2007 by continuous high-pressure grazing by livestock, reduced its rates of reproduction or survival to a level that could not support its previous population. Since 2015, communal kalos (grazing exclosures) have been established to generate forage and other resources in the hope of also providing breeding habitat for Liben Larks. Grass height and density within four grassland kalos in 2018 greatly exceeded that in the surrounding grassland, indicating that the plain retains the potential to recover rapidly if appropriately managed. Improvement of grassland structure through the restitution of traditional and sustainable rangeland management regimes and the reversion of cereal agriculture to grassland are urgently needed to avert the species’ extinction.
Rudd’s Lark Heteromirafra ruddi is a globally threatened species endemic to eastern South Africa’s highland grasslands, where climate envelope modelling has predicted a dramatic reduction in its already small and fragmented distribution. Here we assess recent changes in one of its last strongholds, the Wakkerstroom grasslands. We assessed changes in Rudd’s Lark population and habitat condition over 12 years, within a core section of an area intensively surveyed in 2002–2004. Our 2016 survey found lower absolute numbers of Rudd’s Larks (five transects with Rudd’s Lark present compared to nine in 2002; nine individuals compared to 32), as well as a lower probability of encounter. Transects with shorter grass and higher altitude had a higher probability of Rudd’s Larks occurrence, consistent with findings in 2002. Point locations where Rudd’s Larks were recorded had shorter grass, higher forb cover and more bare ground cover, and tended to be at higher altitudes than random locations in the surrounding grassland. Remotely-sensed fire data showed that late-season fires, which pose a threat to Rudd’s Lark nestling survival, are generally uncommon. Field observations indicated that seven transects (of which two previously contained Rudd’s Lark) that had previously been grassland had been converted to intensive crop production. While Rudd’s Lark may be affected by direct loss of grassland habitat through conversion to crops, the species has also declined within remaining grassland habitat. The drivers of decline remain unclear but this recent observed local decline of Rudd’s Lark in the immediate Wakkerstroom area supports the species’ recent IUCN uplisting to globally ‘Endangered’, given that its previous downlisting was based on habitat requirements and breeding success from this area.
Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) are sites identified as being globally important for the conservation of bird populations on the basis of an internationally agreed set of criteria. We present the first review of the development and spread of the IBA concept since it was launched by BirdLife International (then ICBP) in 1979 and examine some of the characteristics of the resulting inventory. Over 13,000 global and regional IBAs have so far been identified and documented in terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems in almost all of the world’s countries and territories, making this the largest global network of sites of significance for biodiversity. IBAs have been identified using standardised, data-driven criteria that have been developed and applied at global and regional levels. These criteria capture multiple dimensions of a site’s significance for avian biodiversity and relate to populations of globally threatened species (68.6% of the 10,746 IBAs that meet global criteria), restricted-range species (25.4%), biome-restricted species (27.5%) and congregatory species (50.3%); many global IBAs (52.7%) trigger two or more of these criteria. IBAs range in size from < 1 km2 to over 300,000 km2 and have an approximately log-normal size distribution (median = 125.0 km2, mean = 1,202.6 km2). They cover approximately 6.7% of the terrestrial, 1.6% of the marine and 3.1% of the total surface area of the Earth. The launch in 2016 of the KBA Global Standard, which aims to identify, document and conserve sites that contribute to the global persistence of wider biodiversity, and whose criteria for site identification build on those developed for IBAs, is a logical evolution of the IBA concept. The role of IBAs in conservation planning, policy and practice is reviewed elsewhere. Future technical priorities for the IBA initiative include completion of the global inventory, particularly in the marine environment, keeping the dataset up to date, and improving the systematic monitoring of these sites.
BirdLife International´s Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) Programme has identified, documented and mapped over 13,000 sites of international importance for birds. IBAs have been influential with governments, multilateral agreements, businesses and others in: (1) informing governments’ efforts to expand protected area networks (in particular to meet their commitments through the Convention on Biological Diversity); (2) supporting the identification of Ecologically or Biologically Significant Areas (EBSAs) in the marine realm, (3) identifying Wetlands of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention; (4) identifying sites of importance for species under the Convention on Migratory Species and its sister agreements; (5) identifying Special Protected Areas under the EU Birds Directive; (6) applying the environmental safeguards of international finance institutions such as the International Finance Corporation; (7) supporting the private sector to manage environmental risk in its operations; and (8) helping donor organisations like the Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund (CEPF) to prioritise investment in site-based conservation. The identification of IBAs (and IBAs in Danger: the most threatened of these) has also triggered conservation and management actions at site level, most notably by civil society organisations and local conservation groups. IBA data have therefore been widely used by stakeholders at different levels to help conserve a network of sites essential to maintaining the populations and habitats of birds as well as other biodiversity. The experience of IBA identification and conservation is shaping the design and implementation of the recently launched Key Biodiversity Areas (KBA) Partnership and programme, as IBAs form a core part of the KBA network.
Growing concern about the biodiversity crisis has led to a proliferation of conservation responses, but with wide variation between countries in the levels of engagement and investment. Much of this variation is inevitably attributed to differences between nations in wealth. However, the relationship between environmentalism and wealth is complex and it is increasingly apparent that other factors are also involved. We review hypotheses that have been developed to explain variation in broad environmentalism and show that many of the factors that explain such variation in individuals, such as wealth, age and experience, also explain differences between nation states. We then assess the extent to which these factors explain variation between nation states in responses to and investment in the more specific area of biodiversity conservation. Unexpectedly, quality of governance explained substantially more variation in public and state investment in biodiversity conservation than did direct measures of wealth. The results inform assessments of where conservation investments might most profitably be directed in the future and suggest that metrics relating to governance might be of considerable use in conservation planning.
Glyphosate [N-(phosphonomethyl)glycine] was separated from its potential metabolites, aminomethylphosphonic acid, glycine, and sarcosine by using 500 μm-thick cellulose plates developed with ethanol:water:15 N NH4OH:trichloroacetic acid (TCA):17 N acetic acid (55:35: 2.5:3.5 g:2, v/v/v/w/v with v in ml). This TLC system separated impurities from the 14C-glyphosate standard and glyphosate from possible metabolites in treated field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis L.).
Glyphosate [N-(phosphonomethyl)glycine] was readily bound to kaolinite, illite, and bentonite clay and to charcoal and muck but not to ethyl cellulose. Fe+++ and Al+++-saturated clays and organic matter adsorbed more glyphosate than Na+ or Ca+-saturated clays and organic matter. Glyphosate appears to be bound to the soil through the phosphonic acid moiety as phosphate in the soil competed with 14C-glyphosate for adsorption sites. Glyphosate mobility in the soil was very limited and was affected by pH, phosphate level, and soil type. The 14C-glyphosate was biodegraded in soil to 14CO2 possibly by co-metabolism. Potentiometric titrations of the compound gave pKa values of 2, 2.6, 5.6, and 10.6.
Radioactive glyphosate [N-(phosphonomethyl)glycine] is rapidly absorbed with a large portion of the 14C translocated to the rhizomes and untreated shoots of quackgrass [Agropyron repens (L.) Beauv.]. The adjuvant used with glyphosate was important in determining its phytotoxicity to quackgrass. In other perennial weeds and annual species, glyphosate also moved to the areas of highest metabolic activity. In Canada thistle [Cirsium arvense (L.) Scop.], bentazon (3-isopropyl-1H-2,1,3-benzothiadiazin-(4) 3H-one 2,2-dioxide) at 2.24 kg/ha applied prior to treatment with 14C-glyphosate reduced 14C translocation. Iron or nitrilotriacetic acid (NTA) did not appear to effect glyphosate activity on wheat (Triticium aestivum L. ‘Avon’). The respiration of quackgrass treated with glyphosate was significantly reduced 9 days after treatment. Glyphosate reduced total photosynthesis more in quackgrass than in wheat.
In greenhouse studies, soil applications of 14C-methyl-labeled glyphosate [N-(phosphonomethyl)glycine] were not readily absorbed by corn (Zea mays L. ‘Michigan 400’) and soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr. ‘Hark’]. However, glyphosate available to plants in sand culture was absorbed. Wheat (Triticum aestivum L. ‘Avon’) a sensitive bioassay plant, was used to detect the herbicide. Clay loam and muck soil rapidly inactivated 56 kg/ha of glyphosate. Autoclaving of the soil did not prevent the inactivation of glyphosate. In a sandy clay loam soil, application of 56 kg/ha of glyphosate decreased plant growth with increasing pH. Additions of 98 or 196 kg/ha of phosphate to the soil surface decreased glyphosate inactivation in the soil. It is postulated that initial inactivation of glyphosate in soil is by reversible adsorption to clay and organic matter through the phosphonic acid moiety.
The loss of natural habitats is a major threat to biodiversity, and protected area designation is one of the standard responses to this threat. However, greater understanding of the drivers of habitat loss and of the circumstances under which protected areas succeed or fail is still needed. We use visual assessment of satellite images to quantify land-cover change over periods of up to 30 years in and around a matched sample of protected and unprotected Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) in Africa. We modelled the annual survival of forests and other natural land covers as a function of a range of environmental and anthropic predictors of plausible drivers. The best-supported model indicated that survival rates of natural land cover were highest in steeper areas, at higher altitudes, in areas with lower human population densities and in areas where the cover of natural habitats was already higher at the start of the period. Survival rates of natural land cover in protected areas were, on average, around twice those in unprotected areas, but the differences between them varied along different environmental gradients. The overall survival rates of both protected and unprotected forests were significantly lower than those of other natural land-cover types, but the net benefit of protection, in terms of the absolute difference in rates of loss between protected and unprotected sites, was higher in forests. Interaction terms indicated that as slope and altitude increased, the natural protection offered by topography increasingly nullified the additional benefits of legislative protection. Furthermore, protected area designation offered reduced additional benefits to the survival of natural land cover in areas where rates of conversion were higher at the start of the observation period. Variation in the impacts of protected area status along different environmental gradients indicates that targets to improve the world's protected area network, such as Aichi Target 11 of the Convention on Biological Diversity, need to look beyond simple area-based metrics. Our methods and results contribute to the development of a protocol for prioritizing places where protection is likely to have the greatest effect.
The Gage Street site in Kitchener, Ontario, is a peat/marl sequence representing continuous lacustrine sedimentation from the time of deglaciation (ca. 13,000 yr B.P.) through 6900 yr B.P. Insect, pollen, and plant macrofossil remains isolated from the sediments indicate that from ca. 13,000 to 12,500 yr B.P. the region was characterized by parkland-tundra vegetation existing within thermal conditions more analogous to those today of the midboreal forest. The transition from parkland to coniferous forest at ca. 12,500 yr B.P. occurred within a climate that was only gradually warming. By the time of the spruce/pine transition at 10,500 yr B.P., an insect fauna had become established that is typical of southwestern Ontario today. The replacement of this fauna at ca. 8400 yr B.P. by one characteristic of the lowlands of the east-central United States represents the beginning of Hypsithermal conditions in southern Ontario. Vegetation and insects indicate that the climate continued to gradually warm through the mid-Holocene.
We describe a versatile infrared camera/spectrograph, IRIS, designed and constructed at the Anglo-Australian Observatory for use on the Anglo-Australian Telescope. A variety of optical configurations can be selected under remote control to provide several direct image scales and a few low-resolution spectroscopic formats. Two cross-dispersed transmission echelles are of novel design, as is the use of a modified Bowen-Burch system to provide a fast f/ratio in the widest-field option. The drive electronics includes a choice of readout schemes for versatility, and continuous display when the array is not taking data, to facilitate field acquisition and focusing.
The linearity of the detector has been studied in detail. Although outwardly good, slight nonlinearities prevent removal of fixed-pattern noise from the data without application of a cubic linearising function.
Specific control and data-reduction software has been written. We describe also a scanning mode developed for spectroscopic imaging.
Because of the high concentrations of ɣ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the cerebellar cortex and nuclei, an attempt was made to enhance GABAergic transmission in patients with cerebellar disease. Maximum tolerated doses of sodium valproate, a drug which inhibits the degradation of GABA, failed to influence cerebellar deficits in a double blind crossover study on six patients.
Thirty-nine epileptic patients underwent pulmonary function testing. Twenty-one of these patients, ranging in age from 16 to 44 years, had taken diphenylhydantoin (DPH) for 2 to 17 years. Eighteen patients, who had taken other anticonvulsants for similar time periods served as controls. Five patients in the DPH group had lung volume abnormalities, four had abnormal airway function, and five had abnormalities of alveolar gas mixing. One patient in the control group had lung volume abnormalities, two had abnormal airway function, and five had abnormalities of alveolar gas mixing. Statistical analysis revealed no significant differences between the groups, or between either group and predicted values.
Following a recent assessment of the distribution and habitat use of Gurney’s Pitta in Myanmar (Burma), further extensive surveys were undertaken in 2010, 2011 and 2012. These have extended the species’ known altitudinal limit to between 250 m and 300 m asl and its latitudinal limit to above 12.5°N, around 80 km north of the northernmost historical record, although the species was recorded far less frequently at higher altitudes and latitudes. Birds were recorded in a range of forested habitats, from intact primary forest to secondary and bamboo forest, with no significant difference between major forest types in the likelihood of occurrence. Niche envelope modelling (MaxEnt) suggested a total range size in Myanmar of 3,379 km2, and did not identify any potentially suitable areas in adjacent parts of Thailand. The species’ preference for warmer, wetter areas on flat ground, conditions ideal for growing oil palm and rubber, suggest that its distribution is likely to contract in the near future. The entire range of Gurney’s Pitta in Myanmar falls within the part of the country most suitable for commercial oil palm production, although the projected yields within its range are low to moderate. Field surveys found evidence of rapid recent deforestation and high levels of hunting and trapping in many parts of the region. The species’ range in Myanmar does not overlap with any protected areas. The protection of southern Myanmar’s biodiversity will require substantial investment by foreign conservation interests, sympathetic land-use planning and the strengthening of environment legislation. Protection of extensive tracts of lowland forest within the range of Gurney’s Pitta, particularly the proposed Lenya National Park and the adjacent Ngawun and Htaung Pru Reserve Forests, is urgently needed. Conserving these areas will also protect populations of other globally threatened bird and mammal species.
We conducted an investigation after identifying a cluster of 4 serious infections following transrectal ultrasound–guided biopsy of the prostate (TRUBP) during a 2-month period.
veterans Affairs medical center.
Patients with urinary tract infection (UTI) after TRUBP and time-matched controls with no evidence of infection.
The incidence of UTI within 30 days after TRUBP was calculated from 2002 through 2010. We evaluated the correlation between infection with fluoroquinolone-resistant gram-negative bacilli (GNB) and fluoroquinolone resistance in outpatient Escherichia coli urinary isolates and performed a case-control study to determine risk factors for infection with fluoroquinolone-resistant GNB. Processes for TRUBP prophylaxis, procedures, and equipment sterilization were reviewed.
An outbreak of UTI due to fluoroquinolone-resistant E. coli after TRUBP began 2 years before the cluster was identified and was correlated with increasing fluoroquinolone resistance in outpatient E. coli. No deficiencies were identified in equipment processing or biopsy procedures. Fluoroquinolone-resistant E. coli UTI after TRUBP was independently associated with prior infection with fluoroquinolone-resistant GNB (adjusted odds ratio, 20.8; P = .005). A prediction rule including prior UTI, hospitalization in the past year, and previous infection with fluoroquinolone-resistant GNB identified only 17 (49%) of 35 cases.
The outbreak of fluoroquinolone-resistant E. coli infections after TRUBP closely paralleled rising rates of fluoroquinolone resistance among outpatient E. coli isolates. The delayed detection of the outbreak and the absence of sensitive predictors of infection suggest that active surveillance for infection after TRUBP is necessary in the context of increasing fluoroquinolone resistance in the United States.