Enabling FAIR Data in the Earth, Space, and Environmental Sciences
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International Journal of Ecology publishes articles in all areas of ecological sciences, The journal encourages the submission of big data studies, either presenting novel findings from large datasets or demonstrating new analytical techniques.
International Journal of Ecology maintains an Editorial Board of practicing researchers from around the world, to ensure manuscripts are handled by editors who are experts in the field of study.
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Physical and Economic Valuation for Nontimber Forest Products (NTFPs) of Surra Government Plantation in the Upper Hare-Baso Rivers Catchment, Southwestern Ethiopia
The study aimed to estimate the physical and monetary values for nontimber forest products (NTFP) of the Surra government plantation in the upper Hare-Baso rivers catchment of Gamo highlands, southwestern Ethiopia. The Surra government plantation was established in the mid-1980s and consisted of C. lusitanica, E. globulus, and P. radiata tree species, which were planted side by side. Because of food insecurity, forest proximity communities/inhabitants relied on extracting NTFP such as litter and fodder for income and livestock feed despite none of them being physically and monetarily accounted for. The plot method and stock change approach were applied to determine sample plots and collect litter data, respectively, while the active market price was used to account for monetary correspondences. Fodder data were acquired via integration of animal unit month (AUM), livestock carrying capacity, animal unit equivalent (AUE/TLU), quality of pasture (poor), and proper use factor (30%). Its monetary price data were collected from the local market. The gross total production of litter and grass/fodder was 158,614.90 kg and 284,076 kg per/year, respectively, while the corresponding monetary values were ETB 206,169.40 and ETB 255,669, respectively. However, the “proper use factor”-based physical value of fodder/grass was 85,224 kg per/year, and its corresponding monetary value was ETB 76,701. The average physical value (volume) of grass production/year during the wet and dry seasons was 56.67 kg and 96.67 kg, and its mean monetary price/kg was ETB 1.4 and 1.2, respectively. It was concluded that the fodder/grass data collected via the integrated approach reduced the accounting errors, and the data were more precise. Accounting for the economic values of litter and fodder embedded in the market price upscaled the accounting quality and was more indicative of ground facts. Therefore, this study contributed a fresh accounting approach to the field of NTFP accounting.
Technical Efficiency of Fishing Activities: A Case Study of Small-Scale Trawling in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam
This study estimated the technical efficiency of small-scale trawling in the Mekong Delta using a translog stochastic frontier production function model. Primary data were collected by interviewing the small-scale trawling vessels from January 2020 to May 2021 in the four coastal provinces (Soc Trang, Bac Lieu, Ca Mau, and Kien Giang) of the Mekong Delta. The results showed that the average technical efficiency of the surveyed fishermen was approximately 68.8%. Small-scale trawling vessels could increase their production by 31.2% if they operated at full technical efficiency. The captain’s fishing experience, vessel size, the number of nets on a boat, cooperation for inputs, supplies, and problem-solving, fishing registration, operation distance, and the fishing grounds were the main factors influencing the technical efficiency. To improve the technical efficiency of the trawling industry, it is necessary to focus on training the captains in fishing techniques, upgrading and converting large-scale vessels, and linking the market channels for consuming the caught fishery products.
Ecology of Echinops giganteus A. Rich. in Sub-Saharan Africa: Distribution, Ecoclimatic Niche, and Phytosociology
Echinops giganteus A. Rich. is an aromatic and medicinal plant of the Asteraceae family exploited in Cameroon under the access and benefit sharing (ABS) standard. Despite its importance, little information exists on the ecology of E. giganteus. The aim of the present study was to contribute to a better understanding of its ecology for sustainable management in the Western Highlands of Cameroon. Occurrence data as well as stationary ecological information were collected in the field and from different databases. Bioclimatic data were extracted from the WorldClim database and processed using DIVA-GIS and Maxent software. The Braun-Blanquet quadrat method was used for the phytosociological study. Results showed that the distribution of E. giganteus in its wild state is restricted to sub-Saharan Africa. This distribution is likely conditioned by altitude (1000 m–2600 m), light, temperature, and rainfall. The bioclimatic variables that best explained this distribution were the mean annual temperature (Bio1: 38.8%) and the precipitation of the coldest quarter (Bio19: 24.9%), and their favorable ranges were between 2°C–32°C and 300 mm–1800 mm, respectively. E. giganteus is a heliophilic plant that prefers well-drained substrates and would not have a requirement for organic matter. The floristic analysis of the E. giganteus community identified 68 plant species in 59 genera and 28 botanical families, with the most represented family being the Asteraceae (49%). The average species richness per quadrat was 8 species, dominated by herbs. Species consistent with E. giganteus were Aspilia africana (Pers.) C. D. Adams and Imperata cylindrica (L.) P. Beauv. Chamaephytes and Phanerophytes were dominant among the biological types, while the phytogeographic types were dominated by Pantropical species (38.23%). The most represented diaspore types and modes of dissemination were pogonochores (35.85%) and anemochores (55.38%).
Crop Loss and Damage by Primate Species in Southwest Ethiopia
Crop damage is a major form of human-primate conflict that not only affects the livelihoods of farmers living close to forest areas but also threatens nonhuman primate conservation. This study aimed to investigate the causes of crop loss and foraging by nonhuman primates in southwest Ethiopia. For the purpose of gathering data, we used a questionnaire and direct observation. We employed simple random sampling techniques to select villages and respondents. From the nine selected villages, a total of 130 household samples were identified for the questionnaire. The primates responsible for crop damage were olive baboons and grivet monkeys. Maize, barley, teff, potatoes, sorghum, and other crops were among those foraged by the nonhuman primate species. Farmland close to the woodland boundary suffered more damage than farmland further away. The total amount of maize damaged by the olive baboons and grivet monkeys in the selected kebeles varied significantly. The majority of the respondents used guarding, and a few of them used scarecrows to protect crops from damage by primates. The highest crop damage occurred in the Atiro Tigre and Arigno Gefere villages, while the lowest occurred in the Sedecha villages. The flowering stage of the maize suffered the most, and the seedling stage suffered the least, from grivet monkeys foraging. The growth of crops that are less edible to nonhuman primates, especially on the forest edges, would lessen crop damage.
Traditional Ecological Knowledge of Tribal Communities and Sustainability of Nature and Natural Resources in Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve in India
Traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) continues to erode as a result of globalization and the homogenization of diverse cultures, yet it has helped to conserve natural resources and preserve nature for centuries. Biosphere reserves have been established in regions where both cultural and natural resource assortments are deemed rich. The present study was carried out in the Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve (PBR) of India with the major objective of investigating the TEK of local communities with respect to the sustainability of nature and natural resources. Through both a questionnaire and interviews with tribal groups in PBR, a total of 128 plant species were documented, of which the highest number of species (52%) was used for food, followed by medicine (40%), cultural practices (13%), and construction of houses (11%). Apart from the collection of plants from the adjacent forests for their sustenance, the tribal groups engaged in various other activities including farming practices, maintenance of home gardens, soil and water conservation, and continuance of sacred groves. The nature and natural resource-based livelihood and conservation activities of tribal groups involve specific cultural practices and customary norms. This study reveals that the traditional knowledge of tribal communities offers unique ideas for developing and contributing to more effective sustainable management practices and nature conservation. It has a great potential to strengthen the agriculture and health sectors, as the tribal communities have accumulated a fair amount of knowledge in such sectors.
Variations in Avian Species and Functional Diversity in Different Habitat Types in a Vulnerable Savannah Ecosystem in Ghana
Most research on avian functional diversity in the tropics is focused on forest and agroecosystems, leaving a gap in knowledge about the effects of habitat types on functional diversity in savannah landscapes. Savanna ecosystems are fragile and are under threat of anthropogenic destruction, particularly in developing Sub-Saharan Africa and could be eliminated in the face of the ever-increasing human population exacerbated by the changing climate. This study investigated the influence of the three major habitat types (grassland, riparian forest, woodland) on bird species and functional diversity in the Mole National Park (MNP) in Ghana. We used the line transect method to survey birds along 39 transects, each 1 km in length, and collected data on environmental variables along the same transects. Data from these surveys was used to estimate species and functional diversity indicators. We found significant variations in species and functional diversity measures between the three habitat types in the MNP. These variations were significantly influenced by species abundance and environmental covariates. Diversity measures were particularly higher in the riparian forest habitats compared to the woodland and grassland, with the latter being the least diverse habitat both functionally and species wise. The results of this study suggest that the avifauna assemblages in MNP are largely influenced by the riparian forest and are important for ecosystem function and stability. We recommend management efforts to intensify the protection of such vital habitats of the Mole National Park from illegal human activities, especially the rising removal and export of rosewoods (Dalbergia nigra) around the park. Further research on the avian community composition and structure in the MNP is recommended.