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International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management, 2013 Vol. 9, No. 4, 277–280, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/21513732.2013.858441 EDITORIAL influenced by differences in land-use management inten- This last Issue of the International Journal of Biodiversity sity, land-use types and other more specific management Science, Ecosystem Services and Management of 2013 practices. The Himalayas in central Nepal form an area in clearly shows the result of the shift in scope that the journal which relatively low human disturbance can have tremen- has undergone. The Issue includes short communications, dous consequences on biodiversity and ecology. The research letters and full research papers, and the geographi- effects on Nepal’s plant species diversity have been pub- cal spread of the contributing authors is considerable. In lished earlier in this journal (Shrestha et al. 2012), but the addition, the number and diversity of papers on ecosystem effects on soil quality and faunal diversity have remained services assessments has increased over the recent years, understudied, especially in relation to agriculture. In this while papers on both biodiversity and ecosystem services Issue, Begum et al. (2013) report that faunal density and are characterised by having higher relevance for manage- soil quality were higher during the post-monsoon season ment and regional planning as illustrated in Van when compared with the pre-monsoon season. But, it also Oudenhoven and de Groot (2013). Management practices appeared that faunal population density during both sea- such as restoration, agroforestry, resource extraction, etc. sons was higher on the northern rather than southern hill strongly influence biodiversity conservation and ecosystem slopes. Other factors, including soil moisture, soil organic services provision, and recent contributions to this journal carbon, etc. were studied as well, and the authors also are increasingly exploring the trade-offs and synergies studied the relationship between the various soil quality between them. indicators. All in all, season, slope and land use had significant effects on the soil quality indicators. Based on Reforestation effects on biodiversity the results, it was concluded that the fertility and produc- tivity of land would benefit from enhancing soil organic While many studies focus on the detrimental effects carbon contents through plant residue retention, farmyard of deforestation on species diversity in the tropics, the manure application and mulching. effects of reforestation are less well known. Reforestation can occur by natural succession or replanting. Studies into population and diversity of birds are often used to Pollination in tropical regions assess or predict the effects of land-use change (Hughes Agricultural production depends strongly on pollination, et al. 2002). However, little is known about the response as extensively reviewed by Aizen et al. (2009). However, of bird communities to reforestation schemes in tropical this dependence has been better established for crop pro- regions, except for recent work by Lindell et al. (2012)in duction in Europe and North America compared to other Costa Rica. In this Issue, Van Bael et al. (2013) describe continents, due to the availability of data from long-term results of a baseline survey on bird communities in research. Recently, studies into the more ‘tropical crops’ response to a native species reforestation scheme. The such as coffee have also appeared (e.g. Otieno et al. 2011; authors found that birds were more abundant in mature Munyuli 2012), but more research and primary data is forests, while natural succession areas had slightly higher needed to discover and validate reliable indicators and relative species richness. In addition, reforestation areas proxies for pollination in the tropics. Meta-analyses into in closer proximity to mature forests had greater abun- general patterns in crop pollination trends like the one dance as compared to those further away. Van Bael et al. done by Ricketts et al. (2008) are currently lacking. (2013) call this a baseline study because it should allow These studies are of high value to fellow researchers and future studies to assess the speed at which forest re- land-use planners because indicators and reliable quantita- storation efforts will support abundant and diverse bird tive relationships could be used to determine the pollina- communities. tion potential of landscape elements or other natural land- Begum et al. (2013) present the result of a study cover types (Petz & van Oudenhoven 2012), even at con- conducted in the Nepali Himalayas on the integrated tinental scale (Schulp et al. 2012). effects of season, slope aspect and land use on faunal In this Issue, Munyuli (2013) answers the call for population density and diversity as well as soil quality. large-scale primary data on pollination, through a study The importance of embedding soil quality measures in the into the drivers of the abundance of butterflies around planning and management of use has been recognised coffee–banana agroforests in Uganda (only coffee plants before (e.g. Mulder et al. 2005). Soil quality can be © 2013 Taylor & Francis 278 Editorial are dependent on butterfly pollination, whereas banana but the authors also argue that increasing external pres- plants are pollinated largely by bats). Apart from being sures could decrease the social value of the Niger Delta’s important pollinators for wild and cultivated crops (Otieno mangroves rapidly. They call for the consideration of both et al. 2011), butterflies are also known to be indicator social and other values of mangroves in policy-making. species for monitoring changes in biodiversity and envir- onmental conditions (Howard et al. 2000). As such, they Medicinal plants in India and Bangladesh could also serve to indicate the impact of landscape management and human disturbance (Stork et al. 2003). Studies on the use and potential value of medicinal plants A year-long study in 26 sites in Ugandan agricultural have been published frequently in this journal. In this landscapes resulted in the collection of over 57,000 indi- Issue, we present a short communication by Kuniyal viduals, belonging to 331 species. But, more importantly, et al. (2013) on the harvesting and marketing of medicinal Munyuli (2013) found that butterfly abundance and spe- plants from the Indian Himalayan region and a paper by cies richness were significantly affected by climatic factors Rahman et al. (2013) on medicinal plant usage by tradi- from previous years and richness and abundance of wild tional medical practitioners in Bangladesh. Rahman et al. nectaring plants. Finally, species richness of butterflies (2013) contribute to the ever increasing literature on med- decreased with increasing land use and distance to forest. icinal plants in Bangladesh (e.g. Chowdhury et al. 2009; This underlines the importance of forests and natural Rahman et al. 2011), and the same counts for Kuniyal elements for the production of coffee. This statement is et al. (2013) but then in the case of findings from India backed up by earlier research by Munyuli (2012), also in (Negi et al. 2010; Vidyarthi et al. 2013). In the light of this Uganda. seemingly improved data availability on medicinal plants in Bangladesh and India, we would like to call for further research into (1) mainstreaming research methods (both Social value of mangroves ecological and social methods), (2) compiling the available The contribution by James et al. (2013, this Issue) deals data into more comprehensive and large-scale assessments with the social value of mangrove ecosystems in Nigeria. and databases and (3) more generally applicable manage- The social value here refers to the qualitative and non- ment implications. Medicinal plants are among the clearest monetary appreciation by local communication in the form examples of the direct benefits of biodiversity to human of cultural ecosystem services and socio-cultural values well-being, and papers in our journal can contribute to attached to other ecosystem services and biodiversity. more informed decision-making in biodiversity-rich coun- Mangroves are declining and degrading rapidly all over tries such as India and Bangladesh. the world, as a result of continuous conversion into alter- The Western Ghats are a mountain range in the west of native land use and increasing human population pressure India. This area is among the ‘hottest hotspots’ of biodi- (Spalding et al. 2010; Feka & Ajonina 2011). This con- versity and has therefore been the subject of long-term version can be largely attributed to the lack of appreciation research (e.g. Gadgil & Vartak 1976; Bossuyt et al. 2004; of the many ecosystem services mangroves provide Roy et al. 2010). However, due to the area’s sheer size (it (Walters et al. 2005; Iftekhar 2008). In response to this, is stretched out almost along the entire Indian west coast) and limited large-scale monitoring, there are still quite a numerous studies have attempted to convey the economic few underexplored regions in the Western Ghats. value of the world’s mangrove ecosystem services (Barbier 2012; Brander et al. 2012). The nursery for fish Particularly, socio-ecological research on sacred groves and crustaceans as well as coastal protection (wave and other important but threatened biodiversity-rich attenuation and storm surge protection) are among the locations is quite underdeveloped, at least not published most crucial services that are provided by mangroves in international scientific literature. The International (Rönnbäck 1999; Barbier 2006; Nagelkerken et al. Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services and 2008). However, regardless of their importance, the actual Management has published several interesting articles on contribution of mangroves to these services is difficult to the Western Ghats, focusing on ethnobotany and medicinal quantify, let alone value (Barbier 2006). It is therefore plants of the Tirunelveli hills (Ayyanar & Ignacimuthu crucial to also explore alternatives to economic valuation 2011) as well as effects of harvesting of timber and non- that can help to convince policy-makers and land-use timber forest products on local biodiversity in Kudremukh planners to conserve crucial mangrove areas. National Park (Nagaraja et al. 2011). Earlier work on socio-cultural appreciation of man- In this Issue, Blicharska et al. (2013) present a research groves and their services was done by Bosire et al. letter, in which they share findings on sacred groves in (2008), Rönnbäck et al. (2007) and Walters et al. (2005), northern Western Ghats, India. This is another example of and all come up with results that could be used to influ- a relatively unexplored system of sacred groves that is rich ence policy-making and management of (former) man- in biodiversity and provides key ecosystem services to grove areas. James et al. (2013, this Issue) focus on local communities. In addition, the groves are highly different aspects of social value, namely therapeutic, ame- valued for the cultural and spiritual value. However, the nity, heritage, spiritual and existence value. Affirmative system is threatened by agricultural encroachment, responses to all aspects of social value could be discerned, increased resource use and renovations of temples that International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 279 Begum F, Bajracharya RM, Sitaula BK, Sharma S. 2013. have damaged the environment. Blicharska et al. (2013) Seasonal dynamics, slope aspect and land use effects on show that biodiversity hotspots and ecosystem services soil mesofauna density in the mid-hills of Nepal. Int J providing areas cannot be separated from the social Biodivers Sci Ecosyst Serv Manage. 9:290–297. context, which means that conservation and land-use Bhattacharya TR, Managi S. 2012. Contributions of the private planning should recognise the natural and social values sector to global biodiversity protection: case study of the fortune 500 companies. Int J Biodivers Sci Ecosyst Serv of sacred groves. The authors furthermore recommend the Manage. 9:65–86. development of incentives that are tailor-made for the Blicharska M, Mikusiński G, Godbole A, Sarnaik J. 2013. local context as well as for participatory planning and Safeguarding biodiversity and ecosystem services of sacred implementation. groves – experiences from northern Western Ghats. Int J Biodivers Sci Ecosyst Serv Manage. 9:339–346. Bosire JO, Dahdouh-Guebas F, Walton M, Crona BI, Lewis III Options to reduce biodiversity loss RR, Field C, Kairo JG, Koedam N. 2008. Functionality of restored mangroves: a review. Aquat Bot. 89:251–259. Options to reducing global biodiversity loss can be seen as Bossuyt F, Meegaskumbura M, Beenaerts N, Gower DJ, the shared responsibility of both governments and the Pethiyagoda R, Roelants K, Mannaert A, Wilkinson M, private sector. Earlier contributions to this journal focused Bahir MM, Manamendra-Arachchi K, et al. 2004. Local on the contributions of the private sector to biodiversity endemism within the Western Ghats-Sri Lanka biodiversity hotspot. Science. 306:479–481. protection (Bhattacharya & Managi 2012) as well as the Braat LC, de Groot R. 2012. The ecosystem services agenda: challenges that the private sector faces in investing in bridging the worlds of natural science and economics, con- biodiversity, ecosystem services and nature conservation servation and development, and public and private policy. (Lambooy & Levashova 2011). Both papers are among the Ecosyst Serv. 1:4–15. Brander LM, Wagtendonk AJ, Hussain S, McVittie A, Verburg most read in the journal, which is an indication that inter- PH, de Groot RS, van der Ploeg S. 2012. Ecosystem service est in this topic is considerable. In this Issue, Dellas and values for mangroves in Southeast Asia: a meta-analysis and Pattberg (2013) assess the political feasibility of global value transfer application. Ecosyst Serv. 1:62–69. options to reduce biodiversity loss. Although the technical Chowdhury MSH, Koike M, Muhammed N, Halim MA, Saha N, feasibility of such options has been researched more often, Kobayashi H. 2009. 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International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management – Taylor & Francis
Published: Dec 1, 2013
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