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Wildlife Conservation Society Papua New Guinea Country Program Annual Report 2020
Socio-Economic and Ecological Report for the Tulu 1 Community, Manus Province, Papua New Guinea
Protected Area Planning for the Kikori River Basin
Harnessing local ecological knowledge for conservation decision making via Wisdom of Crowds: The case of the Manus green tree snail Papustyla pucherrima
The shell of the Manus green tree snail Papustyla pulcherrima is renowned for its beauty and is subject to international protection under CITES, having been harvested intensively in the past. To determine its threat status, and whether further conservation action is justified, an inexpensive Wisdom of Crowds approach was used to estimate the change in relative density of the snail between 1998 and 2013. Local men and women were approached around the main market on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea, and asked to map the relative abundance of the snail on an ordinal scale, based on their personal observations in 2013 and 1998 (a year of cultural significance). The spatial abundance data from 400 surveys were analysed using an information-theoretic approach. A suite of cumulative link models incorporating geographical factors was used to determine the magnitude of the change and to investigate possible biological influences underpinning the reported pattern. High abundance of the snail was associated with intact forested areas, high elevation and low population density. A slow decline was evident, with the median percentage of map cells where the snail was categorized as plentiful decreasing by c. 20% between the 2 years. On this basis a categorization of Near Threatened was advocated for the species. Although it is arguable that Wisdom of Crowds methods cannot be substituted for in situ quantification, the approach appears to have utility as a preliminary assessment for further conservation expenditure, and as a tool for determining threat status.
Manus Cash Crop Feasibility Analysis
Gardening and Performance Assessment Report for all Ten ADB Sites: Manus Province, Papua New Guinea
Kavieng District Mangrove Health Analysis
Land Cover Mapping and Change Analyses for Manus Province, Papua New Guinea
Improving conservation outcomes for coral reefs affected by future oil palm development in Papua New Guinea
Clearing forests for oil palm plantations is a major threat to tropical terrestrial biodiversity, and may potentially have large impacts on downstream marine ecosystems (e.g., coral reefs). However, little is known about the impacts of runoff from oil palm plantations, so it is not clear how oil palm development should be modified to minimize the risk of degrading marine ecosystems, or how marine conservation plans should be modified to account for the impacts of oil palm development. We coupled terrestrial and marine biophysical models to simulate changes in sediment/nutrient composition on reefs as a result of oil palm development in Papua New Guinea, and predicted the response of coral and seagrass ecosystems to different land-use scenarios. The condition of almost 60% of coastal ecosystems were predicted to be substantially degraded (more than a 50% decline from their initial state) after 5 years if all suitable land was converted to oil palm, with only 4% of coastal ecosystems improving in condition as trees matured. We evaluated marine ecosystem condition if the oil palm developments were consistent with global sustainability guidelines and found that there were only slight improvements in ecosystems condition compared to the scenario with complete conversion of forest to oil palm. Substantially reducing the impact of oil palm development on marine ecosystems required limiting new plantings to hill slopes below 15°, a more stringent restriction than currently allowed for in the sustainability guidelines. We evaluated priority marine conservation areas given current land-use and found reef ecosystems in these areas will likely be heavily degraded in the future from runoff. We find that marine conservation plans should be modified to prioritize turbid areas where coral communities may be more tolerant of increased suspended sediment in the water. The approach developed here provides guidelines for modifying marine conservation priorities in areas with oil palm development. Importantly, oil palm development guidelines cannot be truly ecologically sustainable unless they are modified to account for the impacts of oil palm on coastal marine ecosystems.
Geography in birds of Crater Mountain Wildlife Management Area, Papua New Guinea. Journal of Zoology 268:87-96
Numerous New Guinea birds, mostly psittaciforms and columbiforms, have been recorded feeding on soil. This study documents geophagy in the Crater Mountain Wildlife Management Area (CMWMA) in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea. We present the first documented case of geophagy in the palm cockatoo Probosciger aterrimus and in up to 11 other species. Soil from the site where geophagy by palm cockatoos was recorded was highly weathered and acidic, with a mixture of kaolin, gibbsite, goethite and illite in the clay fraction. Analyses may support the hypothesis that soil is ingested to counterbalance the effects of toxic compounds in fruit. We suggest that the accessibility of the site (an exposed bank), rather than the nature of the soil itself, prompted its use by birds. At another site, a blue‐coloured soil on which cassowaries fed was rich in vivianite (an iron phosphate) and contained an iron‐rich smectite, and some kaolin and mica in the clay fraction. Why cassowaries feed on this particular soil is unclear, but they may obtain trace elements from it, or take advantage of its high iron or phosphorus content. Obtaining other elements, in particular calcium and sodium, may also be important. Alternatively, there may simply be an attraction to its blue colour, which also attracted the interest of local people and folklore. Birds were also reported to drink salt water within the CMWMA. Taken together, there may be quite different reasons for ingestion of minerals/soils among as many as 23 bird species from five families.
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