ResearchGate, the professional network for researchers, and Pensoft today announced a new partnership that will see a set of Pensoft’s open access journals increase their reach and visibility through ResearchGate – increasing access and engagement with its 25 million researcher members.
As part of this new partnership, 20 journals published by Pensoft – including the publisher’s flagship titles ZooKeys, PhytoKeys, MycoKeys, Biodiversity Data Journal and Research Ideas and Outcomes (RIO Journal) amongst others – will now have their content automatically added to ResearchGate upon publication to benefit from enhanced visibility and discoverability through ResearchGate’s innovative Journal Home offering. These journals will all have dedicated profiles and be prominently represented on all associated article pages on ResearchGate, as well as all other relevant touch points throughout the network.
Journal Home provides a unique opportunity for Pensoft to connect its authors with their readers. The new journal profiles on ResearchGate will provide a central location for each journal, enabling researchers to learn more, discover new article content, and understand how, through their network, they are connected to the journal’s community of authors and editors. Authors of these journals additionally benefit from having their articles automatically added to their ResearchGate profile page, giving them access to metrics, including who is reading and citing their research. These rich insights will also enable Pensoft to build a deeper understanding of the communities engaging with its journals.
“Pensoft is delighted to be working with ResearchGate to provide an even greater service to our authors and readers. ResearchGate offers an innovative way for us to grow the reach and visibility of our content, while also giving us a way to better understand and engage our author and reader audiences.”
said Prof Lyubomir Penev, CEO and founder of Pensoft.
“We couldn’t be happier to see Pensoft embark on this new partnership with ResearchGate. Journal Home will not only enable Pensoft authors to build visibility for their work, but provide them and Pensoft with greater insights about the communities engaging with that research. I look forward to seeing this new collaboration develop”
said Sören Hofmayer, co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer at ResearchGate.
ResearchGate is the professional network for researchers. Over 25 million researchers use researchgate.net to share and discover research, build their networks, and advance their careers. Based in Berlin, ResearchGate was founded in 2008. Its mission is to connect the world of science and make research open to all.
For the Pensoft team, September 2023 was a busy and exciting month filled with conferences. Travelling across Europe, they promoted journals, connected with the scientific community, and rewarded exceptional research with free article publications.
Let’s take a look back at all the events of the past month.
The conference looked at evolutionary adaptations from the perspective of behavioural ecology, reproduction biology, genetics, physiology, as well as nature conservation. It particularly focused on the pressing issues of wildlife research and species conservation in the context of global environmental change. Most of the ≈100 participants were young scientists from more than 30 countries.
The Pensoft team greeted fellow attendees with an exhibition stand and presented the conservation and ecology-focused journals Neobiota, Nature Conservation, One Ecosystem, and Biodiversity Data Journal. Pensoft also advocated for EuropaBon, who are designing an EU-wide framework for monitoring biodiversity and ecosystem services, and REST-COAST, whose mission is to provide the tools to restore environmental degradation of rivers and coasts. Within both European-funded initiatives, Pensoft is a key dissemination partner that contributes expertise in science communication, scholarly publishing, and the development of digital tools and platforms.
Pensoft presented Joao Pedro Meireles from Utrecht University with the Best Poster Award for his research on pair compatibility in okapis, entitling him to a free publication in one of Pensoft’s open-access journals.
“My study looked at pair compatibility in the zoo breeding programme of Okapi. During breeding introductions, sometimes the male becomes aggressive towards the female and we decided to investigate the potential factors. We ran a survey among all zoos that house the species in Europe and we found that differences in husbandry were linked to the aggressiveness performed by the males.”
This year’s meeting was held with the theme: “The future of biodiversity – overcoming barriers of taxa, realms and scales.” There was a particular emphasis on future challenges and opportunities facing biodiversity, and how to address and manage these in an interdisciplinary and integrative way.
Conference participants were welcomed at the Pensoft stand, where they could learn more about the projects EuropaBon and SELINA, which deal with biodiversity, ecosystem and natural capital topics.
Also in Leipzig, the European Conference on Ecological Modellingtook place between the 4th and 8th of September. The event focused on the transformation of how societies deal with natural resources in a world where biodiversity and ecosystem services are at high risk.
The ECEM 2023 continued a series of conferences launched by the European chapter of ISEM, the International Society for Ecological Modelling. ISEM promotes the international exchange of ideas, scientific results, and general knowledge in the areas of systems’ analysis and simulations in ecology, and the application of ecological modelling for natural resource management.
The Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung team presented a poster on the Formal Model format and potential new MiDox formats, unique publication types that can be submitted to Pensoft’s Food and Ecological Modelling Journal.
118th Congress of the Italian Botanical Society
Pensoft was proud to sponsor the 118th Congress of the Italian Botanical Society, which took place in Pisa, Italy from the 13th to 16th of September. Experts in various fields of Botany gathered to share their research on the following topics:
Summer may be well and truly over, but as a new academic year begins, Pensoft looks forward to attending more conferences, rewarding more incredible research, and connecting with more of the scientific community. Thank you to everyone who contributed to or engaged with Pensoft’s open-access journals this year, and here’s to a successful final quarter of 2023.
Guest blog post by Cássio Cardoso Pereira, Daniel Negreiros, and Geraldo Wilson Fernandes
A recently published study by Pereira et al. in the prestigious journal Nature Conservation says that the solution for climate warming and environmental crises is not solely about curbing temperature by planting trees or even by changing our energy matrix. It is about changing our perspective on ourselves and the way we do things. There is a long list of things we have to do if we want to be successful. One important thing is changing policy actions.
This is a reflection of increased public attention to climate change at the expense of other biodiversity issues and may have contributed to a much higher number of UNFCCC Conferences of the Parties (COPs) linked to climate change (27 COPs) compared to those about biodiversity (15 COPs) to this date. Governments should not solely focus on curbing greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. This asymmetry between environmental agendas can harm not only biodiversity, but also climate change, as environmental issues are inexorably interconnected.
In a society with broad and deep environmental problems, government, private sector and non-governmental efforts should include other dimensions of nature in their agenda. Biodiversity, the unique variety of life on our planet, underpins our cultural, economic, and social well-being. The destruction of ecosystems undermines nature’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and protect us against extreme weather, thus accelerating climate change and increasing our vulnerability to it. Therefore, it is puzzling that policy-makers are still over-focused on the climate component.
We argue here that the climate change issue is important and urgent. However, this problem cannot be solved without considering the picture as a whole. In this way, changes in land use must be integrated into climate models so that we can achieve a more detailed representation that increases our ability to predict how local impacts of change in land use will affect the future of biodiversity at a global level.
We emphasise that this path is necessary, but it is still winding. There is much to pass on to society in terms of ecological awareness. The spotlight is on climate change, at least in part, because everyone already knows how to get involved in climate action in an accessible way. However, the degradation of biodiversity can be difficult to notice, especially for someone who does not get out and experience nature regularly. Therefore, a big question is how much we still have to learn about the various ecosystems across the planet, their delicate balance and interaction with their wider environment, and indeed the climate.
Pereira CC, Negreiros D, Barbosa M, Goulart FF, Dias RL, Melillo MC, Camarota F, Pimenta MA, Cruz M, Fernandes GW (2023) Has climate change hijacked the environmental agenda? Nature Conservation 53: 157-164. https://doi.org/10.3897/natureconservation.53.110961
Nanopublications complement human-created narratives of scientific knowledge with elementary, machine-actionable, simple and straightforward scientific statements that prompt sharing, finding, accessibility, citability and interoperability.
By making it easier to trace individual findings back to their origin and/or follow-up updates, nanopublications also help to better understand the provenance of scientific data.
With the nanopublication format and workflow, authors make sure that key scientific statements – the ones underpinning their research work – are efficiently communicated in both human-readable and machine-actionable mannerin line with FAIR principles. Thus, their contributions to science are better prepared for a reality driven by AI technology.
The machine-actionability of nanopublications is a standard due to each assertion comprising a subject, an object and a predicate (type of relation between the subject and the object), complemented by provenance, authorship and publication information. A unique feature here is that each of the elements is linked to an online resource, such as a controlled vocabulary, ontology or standards.
Nanopublications associated with a manuscript submitted to BDJ. This workflow lets authors add a Nanopublications section within their manuscript while preparing their submission in the ARPHA Writing Tool (AWT). Basically, authors ‘highlight’ and ‘export’ key points from their papers as nanopublications to further ensure the FAIRness of the most important findings from their publications.
Standalone nanopublication related to any scientific publication, regardless of its author or source. This can be done via the Nanopublications page accessible from the BDJ website. The main advantage of standalone nanopublication is that straightforward scientific statements become available and FAIR early on, and remain ready to be added to a future scholarly paper.
Nanopublications as annotations to existing scientific publications. This feature is available from several journals published on the ARPHA Platform, including BDJ. By attaching an annotation to the entire paper (via the Nanopublication tab) or a text selection (by first adding an inline comment, then exporting it as a nanopublication), a reader can evaluate and record an opinion about any article using a simple template based on the Citation Typing Ontology (CiTO).
Nanopublications for biodiversity data?
At Biodiversity Data Journal (BDJ), authors can now incorporate nanopublications within their manuscripts to future-proofthe most important assertions on biological taxa and organisms or statements about associations of taxa or organisms and their environments.
On top of being shared and archived by means of a traditional research publication in an open-access peer-reviewed journal, scientific statements using the nanopublication format will also remain ‘at the fingertips’ of automated tools that may be the next to come looking for this information, while mining the Web.
Using the nanopublication workflows and templates available at BDJ, biodiversity researchers can share assertions, such as:
So far, the available biodiversity nanopublication templates cover a range of associations, including those between taxa and individual organisms, as well as between those and their environments and nucleotide sequences.
As a result, those easy-to-digest ‘pixels of knowledge’ can capture and disseminate information about single observations, as well as higher taxonomic ranks.
The novel domain-specific publication format was launched as part of thecollaboration betweenKnowledge Pixels – an innovative startup tech company aiming to revolutionise scientific publishing and knowledge sharing and the open-access scholarly publisherPensoft.
Basically, a nanopublication – unlike a research article – is a tiny snippet of a precise and structured scientific finding (e.g. medication X treats disease Y), which exists as a reusable and cite-able pieces of a growing knowledge graph stored on a decentralised server network in a format that it is readable for humans, but also “understandable” and actionable for computers and their algorithms.
These semantic statements expressed in community-agreed terms, openly available through links to controlled vocabularies, ontologies and standards, are not only freely accessible to everyone in both human-readable and machine-actionable formats, but also easy-to-digest for computer algorithms and AI-powered assistants.
In short, nanopublications allow us to browse and aggregate such findings as part of a complex scientific knowledge graph. Therefore, nanopublications bring us one step closer to the next revolution in scientific publishing, which started with the emergence and increasing adoption of knowledge graphs.
“As pioneers in the semantic open access scientific publishing field for over a decade now, we at Pensoft are deeply engaged with making research work actually available at anyone’s fingertips. What once started as breaking down paywalls to research articles and adding the right hyperlinks in the right places, is time to be built upon,”
By letting computer algorithms access published research findings in a structured format, nanopublications allow for the knowledge snippets that they are intended to communicate to be fully understandable and actionable. With nanopublications, each of those fragmentsof scientific information is interconnected and traceable back to its author(s) and scientific evidence.
By building on shared knowledge representation models, these data become Interoperable (as in the Iin FAIR), so that they can be delivered to the right user, at the right time, in the right place , ready to be reused (as per the R in FAIR) in new contexts.
Another issue nanopublications are designed to address is research scrutiny. Today, scientific publications are produced at an unprecedented rate that is unlikely to cease in the years to come, as scholarship embraces the dissemination of early research outputs, including preprints, accepted manuscripts and non-conventional papers.
A network of interlinked nanopublications could also provide a valuable forum for scientists to test, compare, complement and build on each other’s results and approaches to a common scientific problem, while retaining the record of their cooperation each step along the way.
We encourage you to try the nanopublications workflow yourself when submitting your next biodiversity paper to Biodiversity Data Journal.
Community feedback on this pilot project and suggestions for additional biodiversity-related nanopublication templates are very welcome!
On the journal website: https://bdj.pensoft.net/, you can find more about the unique features and workflows provided by the Biodiversity Data Journal (BDJ), including innovative research paper formats (e.g. Data Paper, OMICS Data Paper, Software Description, R Package, Species Conservation Profiles, Alien Species Profile), expert-provided data audit for each data paper submission, automated data export and more.
Don’t forget to also sign up for the BDJ newsletter via the Email alert form on the journal’s homepage and follow it on Twitter and Facebook.
Earlier this year, Knowledge Pixels and Pensoft presented several routes for readers and researchers to contribute to research outputs – either produced by themselves or by others – through nanopublications generated through and visualised in Pensoft’s cross-disciplinary Research Ideas and Outcomes (RIO) journal, which uses the same nanopublication workflows.
Further conservation measures are required to protect Vietnamese reptiles, such as the psychedelic rock gecko (Cnemaspis psychedelica), from habitat loss and overharvesting, concludes a new report, published in the open-access scientific journalNature Conservation.
Having identified areas of high reptile diversity and large numbers of endangered species, the study provides a list of the 50 most threatened species as a guide for further research and conservation action in Vietnam.
The study, based on the bachelor thesis of Lilli Stenger (University of Cologne, Germany), recommends IUCN CPSG’s One Plan Approach to Conservation measures, which, next to improved habitat conservation, also involves increasing the number of threatened species in breeding stations and zoos to maintain populations suitable for restocking.
The scientists identified 484 reptile species known to Vietnam, aiming to provide a baseline to authorities, conservationists, rescue centers, and zoos, so they can follow up with appropriate conservation measures for endangered species. They note that the number is likely to go up, as the country is regarded as a top biodiversity hotspot, and the rate of new reptile species discoveries remains high.
According to the IUCN Red List, 74 of the identified species are considered threatened with extinction, including 34 endemic species. For more than half of Vietnam’s endemic reptiles (85 of 159), the IUCN Red List status is either missing or outdated, and further research is imperative for these species, the researchers say.
Vietnam has a high level of reptile diversity and an outstanding number of endemic species. The species richness maps in the study revealed the Central Annamites in central Vietnam to harbor the highest endemic species diversity (32 species), which highlights it as a site of particular importance for reptile conservation. Alarmingly, a protected area analysis showed that 53 of the 159 endemic species (33.2%) including 17 threatened species, have been recorded exclusively from unprotected areas, such as the Psychedelic Rock Gecko.
In General, Vietnam is considered a country with high conservation priority due to habitat loss and overharvesting for trade, traditional medicine and food.
Globally, reptiles are considered a group of special conservation concern, as they play an important role in almost all ecosystems and often have relatively small distribution ranges, making them especially vulnerable to human threats.
Stenger L, Große Hovest A, Nguyen TQ, Pham CT, Rauhaus A, Le MD, Rödder D, Ziegler T (2023) Assessment of the threat status of reptile species from Vietnam – Implementation of the One Plan Approach to Conservation. Nature Conservation 53: 183 221. https://doi.org/10.3897/natureconservation.53.106923
The Orinoco crocodile (Crocodylus intermedius) is a critically endangered species native to the Orinoco River basin in Colombia and Venezuela. It is one of the largest crocodilian species in the world, reaching lengths of up to seven meters. Despite its impressive size, it is also the most endangered and least-studied of the New World crocodilians.
The species has faced a severe population decline due to commercial overexploitation of its skin, which was highly sought after by the fashion industry of Europe, the USA and Japan in the 20th century. As a result, the current estimated global population stands at less than 250 adult individuals.
Recognizing the critical status of the species, herpetologist Federico Medem established a captive breeding program for the Orinoco crocodile in 1971 at the Roberto Franco Tropical Biological Station (RFTBS) in Villavicencio. Currently, the RFTBS houses over 600 individuals, making it the largest stock of this species and the only one in Colombia. Remarkably, there might be more adult crocodiles kept there than in the wild.
Despite the success of the captive breeding program, reintroduction of animals into the wild has been challenging. This is primarily due to the lack of a comprehensive genetic characterization that can determine whether the population is genetically viable and has no signs of inbreeding, which can result in reduced fitness at the individual and population level. To ensure the successful reintroduction of the species, it was crucial to have a robust and conclusive genetic assessment that confirms the population’s genetic health and viability.
“We felt a sense of urgency to determine the genetic viability of the population in order to proceed with the reintroduction of animals and establish new populations of the species in Colombia. Therefore, we conducted a comprehensive genetic characterization using fast-evolving molecular markers on a sample of 551 crocodiles,” explains Ana María Saldarriaga, a former researcher at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia who is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at Fordham University.
“Our findings showed that the individuals within the population possess sufficient genetic diversity and are suitable for reintroduction efforts, as well as for maintaining and enhancing the genetic variability of the ex-situ population.”
“We demonstrated that molecular data could be used to improve the management of ex-situ conservation programs well beyond what could be achieved with pedigree information alone,” she and her colleagues write in a study just published in the journal Nature Conservation.
Based on the findings of this study, the Colombian government, along with other public and private conservation institutions and agencies, can use the individuals identified in this research to initiate the establishment of new populations in regions where the species has been completely depleted.
“Today, it is widely recognized that top predators, such as crocodiles, play fundamental roles in both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. They have a significant impact on the nutrient cycle, regulate fish populations, and contribute to important cross-ecosystem engineering processes,” stated Mario Vargas-Ramírez, professor at the Genetics Institute of the Universidad Nacional de Colombia and director of the RFTBS.
“Therefore, the reintroduction of the Orinoco crocodile to the Orinoco region is an urgent priority. Additionally, as the Orinoco crocodile is considered an umbrella species, its recovery and conservation efforts will have a positive cascading effect, protecting a large number of species that coexist in the same environment.”
Saldarriaga-Gómez AM, Ardila-Robayo MC, Medem F, Vargas-Ramírez M (2023) Hope is the last thing lost: Colombian captive-bred population of the critically endangered Orinoco crocodile (Crocodylus intermedius) is a genetic reservoir that could help to save the species from extinction. Nature Conservation 53: 85-103.https://doi.org/10.3897/natureconservation.53.104000
“Dormice of Europe (Gliridae)” – an illustration combining watercolour and pencil – and its author Denitsa Peneva won at the Illustracienciacompetition in the “Nature Illustration” category. This year, the contest saw over 500 works.
Denitsa’s illustration depicts five dormouse species known from Europe: the Roach’s mouse-tailed or ground dormouse (Myomimus roachi), the forest dormouse (Dryomys nitedula), the European edible dormouse (Glis glis), the hazel dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius) and the garden dormouse (Eliomys quercinus). Each of the rodents is seen on a plant that is typical either for its habitat or diet. Respectively, one of the species – which is a carnivore – is shown next to a snail.
Curiously, “Dormice of Europe (Gliridae)” was inspired by last year’s 11th International Dormouse Conference, which took place in Svilengrad, Bulgaria. The locality was not chosen at random. It had just recently been found to house a large population of the rarest dormouse species for Europe. At the time, the Roach’s mouse-tailed or ground dormouse (Myomimus roachi), a species endemic to the Balkans, had not been encountered for almost 40 years.
You can follow the work by Denitsa on her Facebook page.
Readers at some of the journals published by Pensoft, who have downloaded/printed a publication or ordered a physical copy of a journal issue over the last few weeks, might be in for a surprise concerning the layout of the PDF format of the articles.
Even though it’s been years since online publishing has become the norm in how we are consuming information – including scientific publications – we understand that academia is still very much fond of traditional, often paper-based, article layout format: the one you use when accessing a PDF file or a print copy, rather than directly scrolling down through the HTML version of the article.
Even if today large orders of printed volumes from overseas are the exception, rather than the rule, we know we have readers of ours who regularly print manuscripts at home or savе them on their devices. Trends like this have already led to many journals first abandoning the physical- for digital-first, then transitioning to digital-only publication format.
As we speak, readers are accessing PDF files from much higher-quality desktops, in order to skim through as much content as possible.
In the meantime, authors are relying on greater-quality cameras to document their discoveries, while using advanced computational tools capable of generating and analysing extra layers of precise data. While producing more exhaustive research, however, it is also of key importance that their manuscripts are processed and published as rapidly as possible.
So, let’s run through the updates and give you our reasoning for their added value to readers and authors.
Revised opening page
One of the major changes is the one to the format of the first page. By leaving some blank space on the left, we found a dedicated place for important article metadata, i.e. academic editor, date of manuscript submission / acceptance / publication, citation details and licence. As a result, we “cleaned up” the upper part of the page, so that it can better highlight the authors and their affiliations.
Bottom line: The new layout provides a better structure to the opening page to let readers find key article metadata at a glance.
Expand as much – or as little – as comfortable
As you might know, journals published by Pensoft have been coming in different formats and sizes. Now, we have introduced the standard A4 page size, where the text is laid in a single column that has been slightly indented to the right, as seen above. Whenever a figure or a table is used in a manuscript, however, it is expanded onto the whole width of the page.
Before giving our reasons why, let’s see what were the specific problems that we address.
Case study 1
Some of our signature journals, including ZooKeys, PhytoKeys and MycoKeys, have become quite recognisable with their smaller-than-average B5 format, widely appreciated by people who would often be seen carrying around a copy during a conference or an international flight.
However, in recent times, authors began to embrace good practices in research like open sharing of data and code, which resulted in larger and more complex tables. Similarly, their pocket-sized cameras would capture much higher-resolution photos capable of revealing otherwise minute morphological characters. Smaller page size would also mean that often there would be pages between an in-text reference of a figure or a table and the visual itself.
So, here we faced an obvious question: shall we deprive their readers from all those detailed insights into the published studies?
Yet, the A4 format brought up another issue: the lines were too long for the eye comfort of their readers.
What they did was organise their pages into two-column format. While this sounds like a good and quite obvious decision, the format – best known from print newspapers – is pretty inconvenient when accessed digitally. Since the readers would like to zoom in on the PDF page or simply access the article on mobile, they will need to scroll up and down several times per page.
In addition, the production of a two-column text is technologically more challenging, which results in extra production time.
Bottom line: The new layout allows journals to not sacrifice image quality for text readability and vice versa. As a bonus, authors enjoy faster publication for their papers.
If you have a closer look at the PDF file, you would notice that print-ready papers have also switched to a more simplistic – yet easier to the eye – font. Again, the update corresponds to today’s digital-native user behaviour, where readers often access PDF files from devices of various resolutions and skim through the text, as opposed to studying its content in detail.
In fact, the change is hardly new, since the same font has long been utilised for the webpages (HTML format) of the publications across all journals.
Bottom line: The slightly rounder and simplified font prompts readability, thereby allowing for faster and increased consumption of content.
What’s the catch? How about characters and APCs?
While we have been receiving a lot of positive feedback from editors, authors and readers, there has been a concern that the updates would increase the publication charges, wherever these are estimated based on page numbers.
Having calculated the lines and characters in the new layout format, we would like to assure you that there is no increase in the numbers of characters or words between the former and current layout formats. In fact, due to the additional number of lines fitting in an A4 page as opposed to B5, authors might be even up for a deal.
* At the time of the writing, the new paper layout has not been rolled out at all journals published by Pensoft. However, most of the editorial boards have already confirmed they would like to incorporate the update.
Mangrove forests are an essential component of the coastal zones in tropical and subtropical areas, providing a wide range of goods and ecosystem services that play a vital role in ecology. They are also threatened, disappearing, and degraded across the globe.
One way to stimulate effective mangrove conservation and encourage policies for their protection is to carefully assess mangrove habitats and how they change, and identify fragmented areas. But obtaining this kind of information is not always an easy task.
“Since mangrove forests are located in tidal zones and marshy areas, they are hardly accessible,” says Dr. Neda Bihamta Toosi, postdoc at Isfahan University of Technology in Iran working on landscape pattern changes using remote sensing. In a recent study in the journal Nature Conservation, together with a team of authors, she explored ways to classify these fragile ecosystems using machine learning.
Comparing the performance of different combinations of satellite images and classification techniques, the researchers looked at how good each method was at mapping mangrove ecosystems.
“We developed a novel method with a focus on landscape ecology for mapping the spatial disturbance of mangrove ecosystems,” she explains. “The provided disturbance maps facilitate future management and planning activities for mangrove ecosystems in an efficient way, thus supporting the sustainable conservation of these coastal areas.”
The results of the study showed that object-oriented classification of fused Sentinel images can significantly improve the accuracy of mangrove land use/land cover classification.
“Assessing and monitoring the condition of such ecosystems using model-based landscape metrics and principal component analysis techniques is a time- and cost-effective approach. The use of multispectral remote sensing data to generate a detailed land cover map was essential, and freely available Sentinel-2 data will guarantee its continuity in future,” explains Dr. Bihamta Toosi.
The research team hopes this approach can be used to provide information on the trend of changes in land cover that affect the development and management of mangrove ecosystems, supporting better planning and decision-making.
“Our results on the mapping of mangrove ecosystems can contribute to the improvement of management and conservation strategies for these ecosystems impacted by human activities,“ they write in their study.
Soffianian AR, Toosi NB, Asgarian A, Regnauld H, Fakheran S, Waser LT (2023) Evaluating resampled and fused Sentinel-2 data and machine-learning algorithms for mangrove mapping in the northern coast of Qeshm island, Iran. Nature Conservation 52: 1-22. https://doi.org/10.3897/natureconservation.52.89639
Pangolins, unique scale-covered mammals, are drastically declining in numbers across Asia and Africa, largely due to illegal trade. Part of the trade, both legal and illegal, supports the traditional Chinese medicine market, which has attracted conservation attention. The level of demand for pangolins and other animals in traditional Chinese medicine, however, hasn’t been thoroughly studied.
In a new study published in the journal Nature Conservation, Dr Yifu Wang, currently a postdoc researcher at the University of Hong Kong, investigated pangolin scale trade in China, interviewing staff in hospitals and pharmaceutical shops in two provinces (Henan and Hainan). Between October 2016 and April 2017, she and her team talked to doctors from 41 hospitals and shop owners and assistants from 134 pharmaceutical shops.
The research found pangolin scales and their derivatives were widely available in hospitals and pharmaceutical shops across Henan and Hainan Provinces. The legislation in place, however, has not been able to prevent ongoing illegal trade in pangolin products. Her team found that 46% of surveyed hospitals and 34% of surveyed pharmaceutical shops were selling pangolin scale products illegally.
“Existing legal trade allows 711 hospitals to sell pangolin products as medicine with regulations on manufacturer, package, and national annual sale quantity,” explains Dr Yifu Wang. “However, we show that pangolin scales are under heavy demand and unpermitted sellers are commonly found illegally selling pangolin products.”
“Quantities of products traded by permitted legal sellers are estimated to greatly exceed the supply capacity of legal sources,” she continues.
This widespread illegal trade, coupled with the very limited legal supply capacity compared to market demand, is concerning. The researchers point to the urgent need to reduce demand from traditional Chinese medicine on pangolin scales and revise the current legal pangolin scale trade system.
“We also highlight the importance of incorporating the traditional Chinese medicine sector into combating illegal wildlife trade and species conservation beyond pangolins,” they conclude.
The researchers plan to continue investigating the pangolin scale market in China to understand the trade after COVID-19.