Browsing by Subject "Biodiversity hotspot"

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  • Teucher, Mike; Schmitt, Christine B.; Wiese, Anja; Apfelbeck, Beate; Maghenda, Marianne; Pellikka, Petri; Lens, Luc; Habel, Jan Christian (2020)
    Habitat destruction and deterioration are amongst the main drivers of biodiversity loss. Increasing demand for agricultural products, timber and charcoal has caused the rapid destruction of natural forests, especially in the tropics. The Taita Hills in southern Kenya are part of the Eastern Afromontane Biodiversity Hotspot and represent a highly diverse cloud forest ecosystem. However, the cloud forest suffers extremely from wood and timber exploitation and transformation into exotic tree plantations and agricultural fields. Existing conservation regulations and moratoriums aim to prevent further forest destruction. In this study, we analyzed land cover change and shifts in landscape configuration for a fraction of the Taita Hills, based on satellite imageries for the years 2003, 2011 and 2018. We found that the coverage of natural cloud forest further decreased between 2003 and 2018, despite the effort to conserve the remaining cloud forest patches and to reforest degraded areas by various conservation and management initiatives. In parallel, the proportion of exotic tree plantations and bushland strongly increased. Moreover, mean natural forest patch size decreased and the degree of interspersion with other land cover types increased notably. Logging bans for indigenous trees seem to have resulted in local opposition to the planting of indigenous trees and thereby hindered the recovering of the cloud forest. We suggest to enhance local awareness on the ecological value of the natural forest by community-based Conservation Forest Associations and to encourage the planting of indigenous tree species in farmer-owned woodlots. Besides, bottom-up management systems that allow for local participation in decision-making and benefit-sharing related to forest resources would be a way forward to achieve the sustainable use and conservation of the last remaining natural forest patches in the Taita Hills. (C) 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.
  • Nair, Abhilash; Gopalan, Sujith V.; George, Sanil; Kumar, K. Santhosh; Merilä, Juha (2012)
    Background Microsatellite loci are widely used in population and conservation genetic studies of amphibians, but the availability of such markers for tropical and subtropical taxa is currently very limited. In order to develop resources for conservation genetic studies in the genus Indirana, we tested amplification success and polymorphism in 62 previously developed microsatellite loci, in eight Indirana species - including new candidate species. Developing genomic resources for this amphibian taxon is particularly important as it is endemic to the Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot, and harbours several endangered species. Findings The cross-species amplification success rate varied from 11.3 % to 29.0 % depending on the species, with 29 - 80 % of the amplifying loci being polymorphic. A strong negative correlation between cross-species amplification success (and polymorphism) and genetic distance separating target from source species was observed. Conclusions Our results provide additional genetic support for the existence of genetically divergent cryptic species within the genus Indirana. The tested markers should be useful for population and conservation genetic studies in this genus, and in particular, for species closely related to the source species, I. beddomii.