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Conservation status of Asian elephants: the influence of habitat and governance

Calabrese, A. and Songer, M. and Wegmann, Martin and Hedges, S. and Rose, R. and Leimgruber, Peter (2017) Conservation status of Asian elephants: the influence of habitat and governance. Biodiversity and Conservation, 26 (9), pp. 2067-2081. Springer. doi: 10.1007/s10531-017-1345-5. ISSN 0960-3115.

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Official URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10531-017-1345-5


Understanding the drivers of Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) abundance and distribution is critical for effective elephant conservation, yet no such analysis exists despite decades of assessments and planning. We explored the influence of habitat- and governance-related drivers on elephant abundance across the 13 Asian elephant range countries. We tested competing statistical models by integrating a binary index of elephant abundance (IEA) derived from expert knowledge with different predictor variables including habitat, human population, socioeconomics, and governance data. We employed logistic regression and model-averaging techniques based on Akaike’s Information Criterion to identify the best-performing subset among our 12 candidate models and used the model-averaged results to predict IEA in other areas in Asia where elephant population status is currently unknown. Forest area was our strongest single predictor variable. The best performing model, however, featured a combination of habitat and governance variables including forest area, level of corruption, proportional mix of forest and agriculture, and total agricultural area. Our predictive model identified five areas with medium–high to high probability to have populations with >150 elephants, which we believe should be surveyed to assess their status. Asian elephants persist in areas that are dominated by forest but also seem to benefit from a mix of agricultural activities. A relatively low level of corruption is also important and we conclude that effective governance is essential for maintaining Asian elephant populations. Asian elephant populations cannot be maintained solely in protected areas but need well-managed, mixed-use landscapes where people and elephants coexist.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/117001/
Document Type:Article
Title:Conservation status of Asian elephants: the influence of habitat and governance
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iD
Wegmann, Martinmartin.wegmann (at) uni-wuerzburg.deUNSPECIFIED
Date:24 April 2017
Journal or Publication Title:Biodiversity and Conservation
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
DOI :10.1007/s10531-017-1345-5
Page Range:pp. 2067-2081
Keywords:Asian elephant Landscape-level conservation Environmental factors Socio-economic factors Human density Spatial prediction
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Earth Observation
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R EO - Earth Observation
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Geoscientific remote sensing and GIS methods
Location: Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:German Remote Sensing Data Center
Deposited By: Wöhrl, Monika
Deposited On:11 Dec 2017 14:12
Last Modified:06 Sep 2019 15:20

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