In this brave new world of the Anthropocene – a whole epoch defined solely by humanity’s ability to crap in its own back yard – it’s rare to hear good-news stories about conservation. However, a new study just published in PLOS Biology makes a refreshing exception.
Lydia Beaudrot, Jorge Ahumada, Sandy Andelman and co-workers from across the world made use of 2.5 million selfies inadvertently taken by animals as they meandered past more than 1000 camera traps set up in 15 tropical forest protected areas by the TEAM Network.
The take-home is that using these hard real-time data the authors were able to show that within these protected areas, while some species prosper and others decline, there is no overall downward trend – the protected areas seem to be doing something right. For further details, read Beaudrot and co’s research article, look at Robin Meadows’ excellent synopsis, see Beaudrot’s interview on PBS, or watch her describe the work in the following YouTube movie from the University of Michigan:
Featured Image: A camera trap and the elephants’ selfie. Credit: Benjamin Drummond and TEAM Network.
Beaudrot, L., Ahumada, J., O’Brien, T., Alvarez-Loayza, P., Boekee, K., Campos-Arceiz, A., Eichberg, D., Espinosa, S., Fegraus, E., Fletcher, C., Gajapersad, K., Hallam, C., Hurtado, J., Jansen, P., Kumar, A., Larney, E., Lima, M., Mahony, C., Martin, E., McWilliam, A., Mugerwa, B., Ndoundou-Hockemba, M., Razafimahaimodison, J., Romero-Saltos, H., Rovero, F., Salvador, J., Santos, F., Sheil, D., Spironello, W., Willig, M., Winarni, N., Zvoleff, A., & Andelman, S. (2016). Standardized Assessment of Biodiversity Trends in Tropical Forest Protected Areas: The End Is Not in Sight PLOS Biology, 14 (1) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002357