On the second day of the conference programme, the afternoon is given over to time for either networking with colleagues or attending a number of FREE events:
- Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
University of Queensland
A demonstration of the collection of imagery using drones.
Should we focus on biodiversity hotspots or biodiversity coldspots?
Richard J. Smithers1 and Kevin Watts2,3
1Ricardo-AEA Ltd, 2Forest Research,3University of Stirling
Global ‘biodiversity hotspots’ have been defined as places supporting exceptional numbers of endemic species threatened by exceptional rates of habitat loss. The idea of focusing on such hotspots was first put forward in 2000 as a strategy for conserving the greatest number of species at least cost. However, from an ecological perspective, the concept is contentious for a variety of reasons. For example: biodiversity value cannot simply be measured by species-richness; the credentials of hotspots has only been judged by the presence of species groups for which data is most readily available, ie vertebrates, macro-invertebrates and flowering plants; and biodiversity faces many other threats in addition to habitat loss. Nevertheless, the idea of biodiversity hotspots has also since been transposed from a global level to national and local levels confounding its original intentions. Furthermore, the prospect of rapid climate change this century brings into question whether the strategy of focusing on biodiversity hotspots is tenable or whether effort should also be invested in ‘biodiversity coldspots’ in order to enable species to move between hotspots. We will review from an ecological perspective the pros and cons of focusing on biodiversity hotspots versus focusing on biodiversity coldspots, highlighting intuitive and counterintuitive concepts.
Using microclimate to adapt conservation to climate change
Robert Wilson, Ilya Maclean, Andrew Suggitt
University of Exeter
The University of Exeter has been running a knowledge exchange project about the use of microclimate to adapt conservation to climate change. We have developed a set of guidance and a freely available GIS dataset of topographic features of the microclimate to be used by conservation organisations. We will demonstrate the 5 m resolution dataset including measures of solar radiation and topographic wetness for South-West England, and are keen to discuss with conference attendees how this information can be incorporated usefully in conservation planning and practice in a changing climate.
- CONDATIS: a tool for planning habitat restoration to improve the connectivity of habitat networks on large spatial scales in the context of climate change
David Wallis and Jenny Hodgson
University of Liverpool
You will need to download the CONDATIS software from HERE....
Condatis is a user-friendly software application developed by David Wallis and Jenny Hodgson at the University of Liverpool under a partnership project funded by NERC and with the involvement and support of the UK devolved conservation agencies, Forest Research, RSPB, Buglife and Wildlife Trusts. The aim of the project is to help with planning habitat restoration to improve the connectivity of habitat networks on large spatial scales in the context of climate change. The model works by calculating range shifting speed: that is how quickly a species could spread through and populate the landscape, over multiple generations, from one end to the other or between defined source and target locations. The speed takes into account the relationship between distance and dispersal probability, and also the fact that when there is more habitat, there are larger populations producing a greater number of dispersers overall. In this introductory workshop we will explain how Condatis works, and run through a few exercises with demo data that will be provided. We will cover the import and export of data, choosing source and target locations, and viewing and interpreting the results of the flow calculations. We will then show two ways in which restoration planning can be optimised: firstly by viewing the most serious bottlenecks in the landscape and editing the habitat manually to relieve these, and secondly by loading a map of potential restoration areas and ranking them in terms of their ability to enhance the existing habitat network.
Full circle: closing the loop between biological recorders and data analysts
Amphibian and Reptile Conservation
Biological recording, famously prolific in Victorian times, is undergoing a renaissance largely driven by the development of mobile technology and online recording. Biological recording in itself is an educational and rewarding pastime, but what happens to these records once they have been submitted? Innovative methods in spatial analysis are putting these data repositories to use in the name of conservation, but it doesn’t end there. We need more data and we can tell you where we need it! There needs to be a conversation here. Amateur naturalists, data analysts and anyone with an interest in the relationship between recording and investigating biological data is welcome to attend this workshop. We hope to see you all there for a vibrant and productive interactive workshop.