International Journal of Ecology
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International Journal of Ecology publishes articles in all areas of ecological sciences, The journal encourages the submission of big data studies, either presenting novel findings from large datasets or demonstrating new analytical techniques.

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Research Article

A New Feature of Nesting Ecology in the Vulnerable European Turtle Dove: Nest Site and Nesting Tree Sharing with Coexisting Species at Three North African Wetlands

Investigations of niche splitting in the European turtle dove (Streptopelia turtur) have primarily addressed feeding habitats and foraging features and been limited to conspecific species, counting laughing dove and wood pigeon. The recent degradation of natural and suitable habitats for turtle doves, particularly in North Africa, would push this species to refuge in wetlands with a variety of other bird species. The understanding of potential cohabitation between doves and other species in these less disturbed ecosystems would help in the conservation measures of this declining game. This study, conducted from early March to September between 2015 and 2017, attempted to determine which species cohabit with turtle doves in three Northwest African wetlands in Morocco and how these species select nesting sites and trees. We used detrended corresponding analysis (DCA) to test the relevance of nest site and nesting tree variables in the nest distribution of the breeding species. The obtained results show a wide sharing of nest-niche between turtle doves and 7 breeding species, especially at the intermediate zone and downstream of the rivers. The lack of competition for food resources with neighbouring species may help in this harmonious sharing of both nesting sites and nesting trees. We further suggest guidelines for future research that seek to understand the spatiotemporal dynamics of species coexisting with turtle dove in the same habitats.

Research Article

Marginalized Groups of Gelada (Theropithecus gelada) Living in and around the Highly Disturbed Mount Guna Community Conservation Area, Northwest Ethiopia

Gelada (Theropithecus gelada) is the only surviving primate of the genus Theropithecus that is endemic to Ethiopia. It adapted to live in afroalpine and subafroalpine ecosystems of the Ethiopian alpine. Although it is at risk of habitat loss due to agricultural expansion and deforestation, gelada has been classified as a least concern by the IUCN. Gelada has great importance as it represents the Ethiopian national treasure which brings tourists to the country. However, no proper gelada census has been carried out in and around Mount Guna (Mt. Guna). Therefore, the current study aimed to provide an accurate count of gelada individuals living in the study area. Total count along line transects was carried out from January 1–May 30, 2018, to estimate the population of gelada. According to the current result, gelada individuals counted from the entire sites of Mt. Guna were estimated to be 56. Forty-two gelada individuals were counted from outside the protected area, while 14 of them were from the protected area. There was a significant difference between gelada individuals counted from inside and outside the protected areas (P = 0.047). The ratio of age-sex of geladas also computed to be adult males: adult females: subadult males: subadult females: immature is 1 : 3.12 : 0.88 : 1.25 : 0.75 for the total population. Furthermore, five groups of geladas were observed outside the Mt. Guna community conservation area at three sites, while only one group of geladas was identified from the protected area. Based on the current result, we recommend further research to study the population trend, fertility problems, and conservation mechanisms of geladas living within the agricultural land and human-gelada conflicts around Mt. Guna.

Research Article

Determinant Factor of Plant Species Diversity in the Organic Agriculture-Dominated System of Gedeo Zone, Southern Ethiopia

Agricultural intensification is a major challenge for biodiversity conservation in many parts of the world. Organic agriculture is perceived as a possible solution for biodiversity conservation in agriculture dominant systems. This study aimed at investigating the current status of plant species diversity and its determinants in organic agriculture-dominated areas of Gedeo zone, Southern Ethiopia. Multistage sampling procedures were used to obtain 108 households from three agroecological zones of the study area, and plant species data were collected from the quadrants laid in farms of sampled farmers. Besides, diversity management practice data were collected using focus group discussion. A total of 234 plant species belonging to 82 plant families were identified. Most (69.2%) of species in the system were native. The mean value of richness and Shannon index evenness for the whole system was 10.36, 2.06, and 0.89 for highland midland and lowland agroecological zones, respectively, which is relatively high compared with other agriculture-dominated systems in the tropics. The diversity of overall plant species were significantly affected by both agroecological zones and the wealth status of farmers. Midland and lowland agroecological zones had the highest richness values for total plant species than highland. Similarly, highest richness was recorded among farmers of rich and medium wealth classes than poor. The diversity of tree species was significantly affected by both agroecological zone and wealth status of farmer households. The lowland agroecological zone had a significantly higher number of tree species than midland and lowland agroecological zones, while the rich farmer had higher tree diversity compared to medium and poor farmers. The study also identified that diversity of shrubs were significantly influenced by agroecological zone. The midland agroecological had a significantly higher number of shrubs diversity compared to lowland and highland agroecological zones. In this study, herbaceous species diversity was not influenced by both agroecological zone and farmer wealth class. The function of plant species and indigenous plant species maintenance practice had its own effect on plant species diversity in the study area, since the area is dominated with organic agriculture. Therefore, to maintain the current status of the system and to improve the farmer’s livelihood, development planners may need to design agroecological-based plant species conservation strategies that give due consideration for indigenous plant species conservation practices and function of plant species.

Research Article

Floristics and Diversity of Invasive Alien Plant Species in Humbo District, South Ethiopia

Deliberate and unintentional introduction of invasive alien plant species on native biodiversity by aid agencies and other bodies directly or indirectly are being a series of problems on the economy, ecology, politics, and health of life on earth. Identifying and compiling floristics and the status of invasive alien species and identifying which have viable populations are necessary to manage the ecosystems. The present study is therefore intended to provide information for concerned bodies on the area which needs management priority computing the composition, structure, and diversity of invasive alien plants. A field assessment was conducted to determine the distribution and heterogeneity of invasive alien plant species, and then, six kebeles were chosen and transact lines were laid using a purposeful sampling technique. The vegetation and environment data were collected from farmland, grazing land, fallow land, and road sides using 95 subquadrats (5 m × 5 m) set in the center and corner of 19 main quadrats (20 m × 20 m). The voucher specimens collected were taken to the Herbarium of Ethiopia (ETH) for taxonomic identification and future reference. The frequency and density of floristics data were analyzed using MS Excel version 2010, and species diversity was calculated using Shannon (H′), Simpson (D), and evenness (E) indices. Among 35 alien plant species invading natural vegetation in Ethiopia, 25 alien plant species were found in the Humbo district of the Wolaita zone. The densest invasive alien plant species in the area were Parthenium hysterophorus consisting of 15197 individuals/ha, followed by Richardia scabra consisting of 11908 individuals/ha, Xanthium strumarium consisting of 7292 individuals/ha, and Ocimum forskolei consisting of 6280 individuals/ha. The highest species diversity was computed in fallow land (H′ = 2.369), which is followed by farmland (H′ = 1.627) and grazing land (H′ = 1.419). The higher the density of the invasive alien species, the higher the ability to change the structure and diversity of native species of the area results in a decrease in the function and services of the ecosystem. Therefore, management methods must prioritize land types that had the highest diversity of invasive alien species.

Research Article

Seed Quality as Related to Harvest Time in Three Key Perennial Grasses Native to Puna Tussock Rangelands of Peru

Seed-based rehabilitation programs represent a primary foundation for rangeland recovery, which requires high-quality seed of key native species. The objective of this research was to determine the seed quality at different harvest times for three key perennial grasses native to puna tussock rangelands of Peru: Festuca dolichophylla, Festuca humilior, and Calamagrostis vicunarum. Seeds of each species were harvested at 21, 28, and 35 days after anthesis and evaluated by standard tests to determine the purity, size, viability, and germinability. On average, the seed purity of the studied species ranged between 23% and 44%, hundred-seed weight between 34 mg and 73 mg, seed viability between 24% and 60%, and the seed germination between 18% and 34% over the harvest dates. The highest seed quality was observed in C. vicunarum. Seed quality parameters of the studied species did not show a consistent variation over the harvest times. Overall, the species studied presented relatively low seed quality; therefore, when using it in rehabilitation programs for rangeland recovery, it is important to carry out a previous cleaning process (to reduce nonviable seeds and inert matter) and to use a sufficient quantity of seed for effective establishment of these key grasses.

Research Article

Human-Wildlife Conflict around Belo-Bira Forest, Dawro Zone, Southwestern Ethiopia

Human-wildlife conflict (HWC) is a continuous problem in the world and has a significant impact on both human and wildlife populations. This study was conducted to investigate the HWC around Belo-Bira Forest, Dawro zone, southwestern Ethiopia. We collected data from October 2019 to March 2020 through semistructured questionnaires, focus group discussion, direct observation, and key informant interviews. Our results show that crop damage and livestock predation were common problems caused by Papio anubis, Cercopithecus aethiops, Crocuta crocuta, Canis aureus, and Potamochoerus larvatus. Human population growth, habitat disturbance, proximity to natural forest, and competition between wildlife and livestock are the identified causes of HWC. Moreover, the study identified guarding and fencing as dominant traditional methods used to reduce HWC in our study area. Therefore, local communities can minimize crop loss by using the most effective method in an area, and crops such as wheat, maize, and teff should not be grown near the forest edge.

International Journal of Ecology
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CiteScore1.700
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Article of the Year Award: Outstanding research contributions of 2020, as selected by our Chief Editors. Read the winning articles.