Remaining habitat for P. tapanuliensis is threatened by forest fragmentation, habitat degradation, and conversion that are slated to continue. These are critical factors for the survival of large primates, and particularly Sumatran orangutans, including P. tapanuliensis. Presently, individuals of this species are divided among three forest fragments in the Batang Toru region of Sumatra.

Anthropogenically released CO2 accumulates in the global carbon cycle and is anticipated to imbalance global carbon fluxes. For example, increased atmospheric CO2 induces a net air-to-sea flux where the oceans take up large amounts of atmospheric CO2 (i.e., ocean acidification. Research on ocean acidification is ongoing, and studies have demonstrated the consequences for ecosystems and organismal biology with major impacts on marine food webs, nutrient cycles, overall productivity, and biodiversity.

Plastics are synthetic polymers derived from fossil oil and largely resistant to biodegradation. Polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) represent ∼92% of total plastic production. PE is largely utilized in packaging, representing ∼40% of total demand for plastic products with over a trillion plastic bags used every year. Plastic production has increased exponentially in the past 50 years.

Elephant populations are in peril everywhere, but forest elephants in Central Africa have sustained alarming losses in the last decade. Large, remote protected areas are thought to best safeguard forest elephants by supporting large populations buffered from habitat fragmentation, edge effects and human pressures. One such area, the Minkébé National Park (MNP), Gabon, was created chiefly for its reputation of harboring a large elephant population.

Ocean surface warming is resulting in an expansion of stratified, low-nutrient environments, a process referred to as ocean desertification. A challenge for assessing the impact of these changes is the lack of robust baseline information on the biological communities that carry out marine photosynthesis.

Despite the 1989 ivory trade ban, elephants continue to be killed to harvest their tusks for ivory. Since 2008, this poaching has increased to unprecedented levels driven by consumer demand for ivory products. CITES is now considering the development of a legal ivory trade. The proposal relies on three assumptions:

(1) harvest regulation will cease all illegal activities,

(2) defined sustainable quotas can be enforced, and

Humans have altered terrestrial ecosystems for millennia, yet wilderness areas still remain as vital refugia where natural ecological and evolutionary processes operate with minimal human disturbance, underpinning key regional- and planetary-scale functions.

Human activities have substantially changed the world’s oceans in recent decades, altering marine food webs, habitats and biogeochemical processes. Cephalopods (squid, cuttlefish and octopuses) have a unique set of biological traits, including rapid growth, short lifespans and strong life-history plasticity, allowing them to adapt quickly to changing environmental conditions. There has been growing speculation that cephalopod populations are proliferating in response to a changing environment, a perception fuelled by increasing trends in cephalopod fisheries catch.

Following the 1986 Chernobyl accident, 116,000 people were permanently evacuated from the 4,200 km Chernobyl exclusion zone. There is continuing scientific and public debate surrounding the fate of wildlife that remained in the abandoned area. Several previous studies of the Chernobyl exclusion zone indicated major radiation effects and pronounced reductions in wildlife populations at dose rates well below those thought to cause significant impacts. In contrast, our long-term empirical data showed no evidence of a negative influence of radiation on mammal abundance.

Przewalski’s horses (PHs, Equus ferus ssp. przewalskii) were discovered in the Asian steppes in the 1870s and represent the last remaining true wild horses. PHs became extinct in the wild in the 1960s but survived in captivity, thanks to major conservation efforts. The current population is still endangered, with just 2,109 individuals, one-quarter of which are in Chinese and Mongolian reintroduction reserves. These horses descend from a founding population of 12 wild-caught PHs and possibly up to four domesticated individuals.

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