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Species of conservation concern and environmental stressors: Local regional and global effects

January 1, 2013

Species conservation has traditionally been based on individual species within the context of their requisite habitat, which is generally defined as the communities and ecosystems deemed necessary for their presence. Conservation decisions are hampered by the fact that environmental stressors that poetically threaten the persistence of species can operate at organizational levels larger than the habitat or home range of a focal species. Resource managers must therefore simultaneously consider local, regional, and/or global scale stressors for effective conservation and management of species of concern.

The wide ranging effects associated with global stressors such as climate change may exceed or exacerbate the effects of local or regional stressors, they still need to understand the direct and interactive effects of global stressors and ultimately how they affect the lands they manage. Conservation of species in southern Nevada is further complication by the fact that the region includes one of the largest and fastest growing urban centers in North America. To accomplish the goal of species conservation, resource managers must identify actionable management options that mitigate the effects of local and regional stressor in the context of the effects of global stressors that are beyond their control.

Species conservation is typically focused on a subset often referred to as species of conservation concern that have either demonstrated considerable decline or are naturally rare or have limited distributions. Stressors can directly and indirectly impact species in a variety of ways and through a diversity of mechanisms. Some stressors have been more intense in the past (e.g., livestock grazing) whereas other are now only emerging as new stressors (e.g., solar energy development, climate change). The primary stressors affecting southern Nevada ecosystems are listed in table 2.1 and reviewed in detail in Chapter 2. This chapter addresses Dub-goal 1.4 in the SNAP Science Research Strategy which is to sustain and enhance southern Nevada's biotic communities to preserve biodiversity wand maintain viable populations (table 1.3; Turner and others 2009). We provide numerous examples of how stressors affect the range and/or habitat of select species of conservation concern. It is important to note that the species or groups discussed in this chapter by no means represent a comprehensive treatment of all species of conservation concern listed in Table 1.2 (Chapter 1). Rather, several species were chosen as examples for each southern Nevada ecosystem type to illustrate how stressors and linkages among them can affect species of conservation concern, keeping in mind that many of the species considered here are found in more than one ecosystem type. In addition, the stressors that may impact a species in one ecosystem may not be those that affect it in another ecosystem and different species in the same ecosystem may not be affected by the same suite of stressors. Finally, at the start of each ecosystem section we summarize key resource concerns, species used as examples, key stressors, and potential synergistic effects of those stressors relative to the species example.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2013
Title Species of conservation concern and environmental stressors: Local regional and global effects
Authors Steven M. Ostoja, Matthew L. Brooks, Jeanne C. Chambers, Burton Pendleton
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype Federal Government Series
Series Title General Technical Report
Series Number RMRS-GTR-303
Index ID 70123889
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Ecological Research Center

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