Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon, Portugal

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Oliveira N.,SPEA | Henriques A.,Sociedade Portuguesa de Vida Selvagem | Miodonski J.,Sociedade Portuguesa de Vida Selvagem | Pereira J.,SPEA | And 13 more authors.
Global Ecology and Conservation | Year: 2015

Competition with fisheries and incidental capture in fishing gear are the major current threats for seabirds at sea. Fishing is a traditional activity in Portugal and is mainly composed of a great number of small vessels. Given the lack of knowledge on effects of the Portuguese fishing fleet on seabird populations, bycatch was assessed in mainland coastal waters for 2010-2012. Interviews and on-board data were divided into 5 strata, according to fishing gear: Bottom trawling, Bottom longline, Purse seine, Beach seine, Polyvalent (≥12 m) and Polyvalent (<12m). Polyvalent included Setnets, Traps and Demersal longlines. Overall, 68 birds were recorded to be bycaught. The average catch per unit effort (CPUE) was 0.05 birds per fishing event. Polyvalent (<12m), Polyvalent (≥12 m) and Purse seiners had the biggest seabird bycatch rates, with 0.5 (CPUE=0.1), 0.11 (CPUE=0.05) and 0.2 (CPUE=0.11) birds per trip, respectively. Within Polyvalent gear, Setnets captured the largest diversity of seabird species (CPUE=0.06), while Demersal longline had the highest CPUE (0.86). Northern gannet was the most common bycaught species. Although more observation effort is required, our results suggest that substantial numbers of Balearic shearwater might be bycaught annually, mainly in Purse seine and Setnets. © 2014 The Authors.

Giacomini F.,Buro fur Ingenieurgeologie AG | Boerio V.,SPEA | Polattini S.,SPEA | Tiepolo M.,CNR Institute of Geosciences and Earth Resources | And 2 more authors.
Environmental Earth Sciences | Year: 2010

This work is part of the project study for a road tunnel bypassing the town of Genova and was aimed at evaluating the amount of asbestos fibres in the metaophiolites belonging to the Voltri Group and the Sestri-Voltaggio Zone (Liguria, Northern Italy). The 85 studied rock samples (mainly mafic and ultramafic rocks) derive from exposed outcrops and prospecting boreholes. The study of field relations and petrographic/microtextural investigations under the optical microscope allowed for the identification and characterisation of asbestos-bearing settings and lithotypes. Mineralogy and concentration of asbestos fibres in powdered specimens were determined by means of a scanning electron microscope equipped with an energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy device. These investigations were combined with petrography on thin-section, X-ray diffraction analysis and phase contrast optical microscopy on rock powders. Mafic and ultramafic rocks commonly contain asbestos in concentrations below 1,000 mg/kg (considered as the contamination threshold under Italian law). However, the fibre concentration rises abruptly within localised zones, where the metaophiolite sequences were involved into late ductile to brittle tectono-metamorphic events. Two groups of asbestos-bearing settings have been so far identified in the area: (a) fracture networks within serpentinites (dominated by fibrous chrysotile), and (b) boudins of chlorite-tremolite schists, likely deriving from dynamic recrystallisation of mafic rocks under greenschist facies conditions (dominated by fibrous amphibole). Even considering the low volumetric incidence of these settings (metres to few tens of metres), their high asbestos content locally controls the total fibre amount in the excavation products, thus requiring special prevention measures during excavation, management and final storage of the contaminated debris. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.

Cruz A.,SPEA | Benedicto J.,Brunel University | Gil A.,University of The Azores
Journal of Coastal Research | Year: 2011

This paper intends to evaluate the socio-economic benefits and assess the ecosystem services associated with the creation and existence of a Protected Area, but also with the development of a conservation project: LIFE-Priolo (2003-2008). Methods used ranged from qualitative ones to monetary valuation and valuation methods were defined for each service. The most important services in the SPA are those related to water provision, quality and regulation. Regulation provides a reduction in the occurrence of floods and landslides (29 deaths and around €20,000,000 in damages, in 1997, in a village close to the SPA). This regulation of the water cycle also provides water worth more than €600,000. Other important services were: Genetic/species diversity maintenance; Carbon storage estimated at around 465,000 tC plus 223,667,84 tC/year sequestered in the peat area; Ecotourism and Recreation estimated at around € 60,000/year plus € 16,500/year expenses on active tourism activities and Landscape and amenity values estimated at €3,000,000 for the Povoação region alone. Management of the SPA, had also an important socioeconomic impact by the creation of an average of 21.6 Full Time Jobs directly and support of another 4 Full Time Jobs every year, but this project also had impacts in terms of infrastructures and training of specialized workers. The results obtained by this study show that nature conservation and biodiversity protection support policies are fundamental for the sustainable development of these areas and can drastically improve quality of life and economic self-sufficiency of local populations by the diversification and creation of new skills, products and business opportunities.

Cooper R.,BirdLife Tasmania | Clemens R.,University of Queensland | Oliveira N.,SPEA | Chase A.,BirdLife Australia
Stilt | Year: 2012

Evidence of long-term declines in migratory shorebird populations is reported at two areas in north-east Tasmania. In north-east Tasmania, both George Town Reserve and Cape Portland have featured in National Wader Counts since 1981, although observations go back to the early 1970's. Compared with the extreme north-west of Tasmania and with many mainland study sites, wader numbers in north-east Tasmania are never large, which makes for relatively easier counting. At George Town, count data indicate long-term population declines from 1974 to 2011 in Eastern Curlew, (Numenius madagascariensis), Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres), Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea), and Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica). George Town has also seen a decrease in the number of migratory shorebird species recorded each year, a drop on average from nine to seven, while Cape Portland has seen a larger drop in migratory shorebird species richness from eleven to six. Cape Portland has also experienced long-term declines from 1981 to 2011 in Ruddy Turnstone and Curlew Sandpiper. The reduction in species richness in both areas relates to historically uncommon species no longer being recorded such as Red Knot (Calidris canutus), Lesser Sand Plover (Charadrius mongolus), Greater Sand Plover (Charadrius leschenaultia), Grey-tailed Tattler (Tringa brevipes), Terek Sandpiper (Xenus cinereus) and Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola). Trends derived from these two north-east Tasmanian areas are similar to those being reported more widely in Australia, with growing numbers of migratory shorebirds showing evidence of long-term population declines. Threats to the foraging areas of both study sites, which have the potential to compromise their viability, are outlined. The volume of data available from these areas will allow for more detailed analyses in future.

News Article | February 21, 2017

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Hiring more black police officers is not a viable strategy for reducing police-involved homicides of black citizens in most cities, according to new Indiana University research that is the first in-depth study of this increasingly urgent public policy question. IU researchers tested a potential solution that emerged following the police shooting of an unarmed black citizen in Ferguson, Missouri, as well as similar homicides in more than a dozen other cities. The shootings triggered nationwide "Black Lives Matter" protests and heated political debates. The study finds that, for many cities, it would take a massive increase in the percentage of black police officers to reduce the number of police-involved shootings of black citizens. Adding just a few black officers, the researchers say, won't help and might make matters worse. "More black officers are seen as a way to directly reduce unnecessary violence between police and citizens," said study co-author Sean Nicholson-Crotty. "We found that, for the vast majority of cities, simply increasing the percentage of black officers is not an effective solution. "There may be other good reasons to have a police force that is more representative," he said, "but there is little evidence that more black cops will result in fewer homicides of black citizens." The full analysis by IU researchers is presented in the article, "Will More Black Cops Matter? Officer Race and Police-Involved Homicides of Black Citizens." It will appear in the March/April issue of Public Administration Review as part of a symposium on policing and race. Until recently, no data existed that allowed a study of police homicides, according to the authors. Local law enforcement agencies have not been compelled to report deaths in custody by race, and there was no federal source for the information. To produce the first peer-reviewed study of its type, Nicholson-Crotty and co-researchers Jill Nicholson-Crotty and Sergio Fernandez, all from IU's School of Public and Environmental Affairs, used new data from two sources: Previous studies have examined the effect of hiring more black officers on policing outcomes such as arrests, citizen complaints and traffic stops. Findings were mixed. The studies found that greater representation reduces discrimination in some cases, has no effect in others and leads to more discrimination against black citizens in yet other situations. Furthermore, the IU researchers argue, the studies do not tell us much about the likely impact on police-involved homicides. "Because of these inconsistent conclusions, we want to find out if there's a critical mass, a point at which the impact of more black officers on police-involved homicides changes from positive or neutral to negative," Jill Nicholson-Crotty said. The authors found that, until the number of black officers reached between 35 percent and 40 percent of the police force, adding black officers had no effect on the number of police-involved shootings of black citizens or was associated with a higher number of such shootings. After the number of black officers surpassed between 35 percent and 40 percent, they found, adding black officers had no effect and, in some cases, may have been associated with a lower number of police-involved shootings of black citizens. "At that point [35 to 40 percent] and higher, individual officers may become less likely to discriminate against black citizens and more inclined to assume a minority advocacy role," Fernandez said. The sticking point is that in Ferguson and most other places, even doubling or tripling the number of black officers won't result in a percentage as high as 35 percent to 40 percent. The authors also caution that: "In most cities, a critical mass of black officers on the police force can be achieved only by over-representing blacks and making bureaucracy even less representative of the community it serves." They say more investigation is needed to find solutions and fully understand how questions of race affect protection of peace and administration of justice. Reporters may request a copy of the paper from SPEA communications director Jim Hanchett at 812-856-5490 or The paper may also be downloaded from the journal's website.

News Article | November 22, 2016

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Americans believe endangered species are best protected when their habitats are protected and not when animal predators are killed, according to new Indiana University research. With the exception of one case involving spiders and frogs, a scientific survey with more than 1,000 participants found overwhelming support for policies that protect habitats and little acceptance of either lethal control or no government action at all. Professor Shahzeen Attari of the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs said the study sought to understand evolving public preferences for conservation by answering these questions: "How do we want to intervene to protect endangered species when faced with biological invasions or declining populations? Should we protect habitats, or lethally control predatory species that threaten the endangered species? Should we just step aside and let nature take its course?" To measure support for various strategies, the researchers pitted one species against another in simplified but realistic scenarios. The cases, drawn from real debates about conservation policy, pit a rare or economically valued species against its more common competitor or predator species: Overwhelmingly, survey participants preferred habitat protection over lethal control, both lethal control and habitat protection, or no action. Of all the demographic groups, only older, conservative men were more likely to endorse no action. "The results suggest broad support for holistic nature conservation that benefits both people and nature and highlights areas where current lethal management practices conflict with public preferences," said researcher Michelle Lute of the Montana-based WildEarth Guardians organization. Lute is a former SPEA postdoctoral fellow. The survey section that pitted frogs versus spiders was the notable exception to the pattern of respondents favoring habitat protection. An unusually high number of survey-takers supported no action to protect the spiders. Lute and Attari note that this was the only case involving amphibian and invertebrate species. Of all the species studied, those are the most genetically distant from humans. "People may care less about spiders or consider it a lost cause to try eradicating the non-native but prevalent frogs," Lute said. "We can't say whether we're less motivated to protect animals that are very different from us but that's certainly a possibility." Lute and Attari authored an article about their research, "Public preferences for species conservation: Choosing between lethal control, habitat protection, and no action." It was published in the journal Environmental Conservation.

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