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Accueil du site → Doctorat → États-Unis → 2020 → Quantifying resource selection and community attitude to inform conservation of the globally-endangered onager (southern Iran)

University of Wyoming (2020)

Quantifying resource selection and community attitude to inform conservation of the globally-endangered onager (southern Iran)

Saeideh Esmaeili

Titre : Quantifying resource selection and community attitude to inform conservation of the globally-endangered onager (southern Iran)

Auteur : Saeideh Esmaeili

Université de soutenance  : University of Wyoming

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy( (PhD) in Ecology 2020

Human-wildlife conflicts restrict conservation efforts, especially for wide-ranging animals whose home ranges overlap with human activities. In first chapter, I conducted a study to understand conflicts with and factors influencing the perceived value of an expanding population of onager (Equus hemionus onager) by local communities in southern Iran. I asked locals’ agreement toward six potential management strategies intended to lessen human-onager conflict. I found that human-onager conflict was restricted to 45% of respondents within Bahram-e-Goor Protected Area, all of whom were involved in farming or herding activities. Locals within the protected area were more knowledgeable toward onagers and valued onagers more than locals living outside the protected area. Locals’ level of education, total annual income, and perceptions of onager population trends (both decreasing and increasing) affected perceived value of onagers positively ; conflict with onager negatively influenced their perceived value. Locals were most supportive of monetary compensation to tolerate onager conflicts, and changing from a traditional lifestyle to industrialized farming (for farmers) or livestock production (for herders) with the help of government ; locals were least supportive of selling land to the government. The Forage Maturation Hypothesis states that energy intake for ungulates is maximized when forage biomass is at intermediate levels. Nevertheless, metabolic allometry and the disparate digestive systems possessed by ungulates suggest that resource selection should vary among species. Further, human activities may alter the availability of resources and thereby influence forage selection. In the second chapter, by combining relocation data from GPS telemetered individuals with remotely-sensed data on forage biomass, potential energy intake from forage, and surface water, I quantified the effect of body size, digestive system, and human activity in determining landscape-level movements of 26 populations of hindgut fermenters (equids) and ruminants inhabiting arid and semi-arid rangelands worldwide. Strength of selection for potential energy intake was negatively related to body size, regardless of digestive system. Selection for proximity to surface water was stronger for equids relative to ruminants, regardless of body size. Although human activity explained some variation in resource selection, body size and digestive system predicted resource selection better than human activity across all populations. Body size forces trade-offs in how ungulates prioritize forage characteristics, thereby driving the strength of selection for potential energy intake by free-ranging ungulates across the globe. In the third chapter, I quantified interactions between globally-endangered onagers and livestock in central Iran through a combination of remotely-sensed vegetation metrics, and GPS telemetry and diet quality of onagers. Resource selection and use by onagers provided varying support for exploitative competition, interference competition, and facilitation, depending on season and presence of livestock. Intensity of livestock grazing reduced forage biomass from pre- to post-grazing periods, demonstrating potential for competitive suppression of onagers by livestock during the dry season. Additionally, selection for high forage biomass was accentuated at night, when livestock were corralled, indicating avoidance by onagers. During the wet season, onagers exposed to livestock exhibited higher-quality diets than that did not co-occur with livestock, suggesting that livestock grazing may enhance forage quality for onagers. My work is the first investigation of one (of two) remaining populations of onagers, and highlights restoration potential for a large, endangered mammal alongside pastoralist livelihoods elsewhere in Iran.

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Page publiée le 20 mai 2021