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    Phenotypic plasticity of tufted capuchin monkeys (genus Sapajus) phase 2: investigating the effect of anthropogenic change of habitat
    (2023-03-01) Andrea Presotto; Patricia Izar; Geography and Geosciences
    Over the last century, the natural habitats of many animal species have drastically and rapidly changed due to anthropogenic actions. The differential resilience of species to such anthropogenic habitat alteration is hypothetically a function of phenotypic plasticity, that could allow for rapid adjustments to the changing environment. However, a fundamental research question is to understand whether 1) rapid induced anthropogenic action can promote behavioral diversity and innovation, and thus increase behavioral diversity; or alternatively whether 2) animal phenotypic plasticity is limited by rapid environmental anthropogenic change, thus decreasing behavioral diversity (even in resilient species – due to the costs of plasticity and/or greater predictability/less environmental diversity). This project aims to investigate the relationship between behavioral plasticity and primate adaptability and resilience to rapidly changing environments. Our model is the neotropical primate genus Sapajus, known as the robust capuchin monkey. We will continue the research on primate development in three long-term studied populations/species, Sapajus nigritus at Carlos Botelho State Park (PECB), SP, S. libidinosus at Fazenda Boa Vista (FBV), PI, and S. xanthosternos in the UNA Biological Reserve (UNA), BA, and we will include two more populations of each species: S. nigritus in Águas da Prata State Park, SP and in the Urugua-í-Foerster Biological Corridor and in the Yacutinga Reserve, Misiones, Argentina; S. libidinosus in the Brasília National Park, DF and in the Barreirinhas mangrove, MA; S. xanthosternos in the district of Santa Rosa de Lima, MG and in the State Park of Lapa Grande, Montes Claros, MG. The execution of a set of nine objectives will contribute to advance the frontiers of knowledge about the evolution of phenotypic plasticity in three ways. First, under the contemporary theoretical perspective of the extended synthesis of evolution, we will expand the previous project to investigate the contribution of plasticity and genetic diversification to phenotypic diversity. Second, we will investigate whether plasticity affects evolutionary processes and whether the context of accelerated environmental change can increase or reduce plasticity. The recent scenario of anthropization of habitats occupied by their populations offers a unique opportunity for the development of this project. Third, by investigating the relationship between environmental anthropization and variation in phenotypic plasticity and genetic diversity, we will contribute to understanding resilience. In line with the One Health concept, in addition to understanding how organisms react to anthropic environmental changes, scientists must share their discoveries with society and build, with the local communities, interventions aimed at promoting a healthier environment for all organisms. Therefore, we will investigate the human/Sapajus interactions in different locations, working together with local communities that have different involvement with animals to support strategies for the conservation and management of non-human species, including conflict reduction and the promotion of co-existence between human communities and wildlife. This project accords with the research priorities for the conservation of the genus Sapajus recommended by the Capuchin Action Network. This project involves a network of international collaboration among Brazilian researchers from USP, UFABC, UNB, UNIMONTES and researchers from USA at the University of California--Los Angeles(Institute for Society and Genetics), Kansas City University (Medicine and Biosciences), and Salisbury University (Department of Geography and Geosciences); European researchers, from the Institute of Science and Cognition in Rome, Italy and The French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS); and a researcher at CONICET, Argentina; and a researcher at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).
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    From elephant memory to conservation action: using chili oil to mitigate conflict one elephant at a time
    (Wiley, 2021-07-05) Langbauer Jr, William R.; Karidozo, Malvern; Madden, Marguerite; Parry, Roger; Koehler, Samantha; Fillebrown, Julie; Wehlan, Trey; Osborn, Ferrell; Presotto, Andrea; Geography and Geosciences; Geographic Information Science
    Short Communication: Here we present a case study of an alternate method, disruptive darting, that can be deployed quickly on elephants visiting a location where they are not desired. This method deters an elephant from a specific location without killing it, which has obvious ethical and conservation benefits.
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    The role of hunting on Sapajus xanthosternos’ landscape of fear in the Atlantic Forest, Brazil
    (American Journal of Primatology) Suscke, Priscila; Presotto, Andrea; Izar, Patricia
    Habitats with spatial variation in food availability, predation risk, and hunting pressure allow us to study how animals resolve the trade-off between food searching and predator avoidance. We investigated the influence of food availability, predation risk, and the perceived predation risk on habitat use by a primate living under high hunting pressure, the yellow-breasted capuchin monkeys, Sapajus xanthosternos, at Una Biological Reserve (ReBio Una). We hypothesized that the hunting pressure occurring in the capuchins’ home range would favor predator avoidance to the detriment of searching for food. We characterized a set of covariates related to resources availability (fruit and invertebrate biomasses, feeding on dispersed and clumped food items, sleeping sites), perceived predation risk (alarm calls given to terrestrial and aerial predators, silent group movement, and vigilance behavior), and actual predation risk (evidence of hunting) and estimated their effects on how one group of capuchin monkeys uses its habitat. The group divides its time among three major forest types within their home range: agroforest, mature and secondary. Our results suggest that the actual and perceived risk of hunting by humans, as well as the perceived predation risk by both terrestrial and aerial predators were significant determinants of capuchin monkeys’ space use. Yellow-breasted capuchin monkeys’ space use was negatively related to the risk of hunting by humans (actual evidence and silent behavior), the perceived risk of predation by both aerial and terrestrial predators, and to the presence of sleeping sites. The biomass of fruits in a habitat did not relate to capuchin monkeys’ space use and the biomass of invertebrates had a very low positive effect. We confirmed our prediction that in a habitat with high hunting pressure, the risk of predation, both perceived and actual, had a more significant impact on how yellow-breasted capuchins used the habitat than did food availability.
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    Rare nonhuman primate tool-use culture is threatened by land use changes in northeastern Brazil
    (Springer Nature, 2020-07-02) Presotto, Andrea; Remillard, Caren; Spagnoletti, Noemi; Salmi, Roberta; Verderane, Michele; Stafford, Kathleen; Santos, Ricardo Rodrigues dos; Madden, Marguerite; Fragaszy, Dorothy; Visalberghi, Elisabetta; Izar, Patricia; Geography and Geosiences
    Animal traditions are increasingly threatened by human impact on natural habitats, posing a challenge to conservation policies. In northeastern Brazil, bearded capuchins (Sapajus libidinosus) inhabiting the Cerrado–Caatinga biome of Fazenda Boa Vista use stone hammers and anvils to crack open palm nuts and other encased foods. The same species inhabiting the mangroves of Morro do Boi ambush crabs and process them using wooden hammers and anvils. These traditions are gradually acquired by young capuchins exposed to the tool using activity of skilled older group members. Changes in land cover have threatened the persistence of this species, where these rare tool-use traditions occur. To assess land cover changes over the past 30 years, we analyzed a time series of remotely sensed imagery and quantified trends in land cover and agriculture across both study sites. We also developed a predictive model to forecast future changes in land cover by 2034. Our results show that agriculture increased by more than 300% in both sites from 1987 to 2017. If current trends continue in Morro do Boi, only 42% of forest (0.15 km2) will remain, which is insufficient to support the resident population of capuchins. In Fazenda Boa Vista, most of the land suitable for agriculture has already been used for that purpose. If private conservation efforts at Fazenda Boa Vista are to be effective through 2034, agricultural use should not be expanded any further. Imminent erosion and loss of natural vegetation will exacerbate the current situation, even if agriculture is not expanded. Our study is an example of the need for conservation to take behavioral traditions into account, as they are not widespread across the species distribution.
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    Spatial mapping shows that some African elephants use cognitive maps to navigate the core but not the periphery of their home ranges
    (2019-01-21) Presotto, Andrea
    These files are datasets for an article published in the journal Animal Cognition (Presotto, A., Fayrer-Hosken, R., Curry, C. et al. Spatial mapping shows that some African elephants use cognitive maps to navigate the core but not the periphery of their home ranges. Anim Cogn 22, 251–263 (2019) doi:10.1007/s10071-019-01242-9): Strategies of navigation have been shown to play a critical role when animals revisit resource sites across large home ranges. The habitual route system appears to be a sufficient strategy for animals to navigate while avoiding the cognitive cost of traveling using the Euclidean map. We hypothesize that wild elephants travel more frequently using habitual routes to revisit resource sites as opposed to using the Euclidean map. To identify the elephants’ habitual routes, we created a python script, which accounted for frequently used route segments that constituted the habitual routes. Results showed elephant navigation flexibility traveling at Kruger National Park landscape. Elephants shift strategies of navigation depend on the familiarity of their surroundings. In the core area of their home range, elephants traveled using the Euclidean map, but intraindividual differences showed that elephants were then converted to habitual routes when navigating within the less familiar periphery of their home range. These findings are analogous to the recent experimental results found in smaller mammals that showed that rats encode locations according to their familiarity with their surroundings. In addition, as recently observed in monkeys, intersections of habitual routes are important locations used by elephants when making navigation decisions. We found a strong association between intersections and new segment usage by elephants when they revisit resource sites, suggesting that intersection choice may contribute to the spatial representations elephants use when repeatedly revisiting resource sites.
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    Spatial mapping shows that some African elephants use cognitive maps to navigate the core but not the periphery of their home ranges
    (Springer, 2019-01-28) Presotto, Andrea; Fayrer-Hosken, Richard; Curry, Caitlin; Madden, Marguerite
    Strategies of navigation have been shown to play a critical role when animals revisit resource sites across large home ranges. The habitual route system appears to be a sufficient strategy for animals to navigate while avoiding the cognitive cost of traveling using the Euclidean map. We hypothesize that wild elephants travel more frequently using habitual routes to revisit resource sites as opposed to using the Euclidean map. To identify the elephants’ habitual routes, we created a python script, which accounted for frequently used route segments that constituted the habitual routes. Results showed elephant navigation flexibility traveling at Kruger National Park landscape. Elephants shift strategies of navigation depend on the familiarity of their surroundings. In the core area of their home range, elephants traveled using the Euclidean map, but intraindividual differences showed that elephants were then converted to habitual routes when navigating within the less familiar periphery of their home range. These findings are analogous to the recent experimental results found in smaller mammals that showed that rats encode locations according to their familiarity with their surroundings. In addition, as recently observed in monkeys, intersections of habitual routes are important locations used by elephants when making navigation decisions. We found a strong association between intersections and new segment usage by elephants when they revisit resource sites, suggesting that intersection choice may contribute to the spatial representations elephants use when repeatedly revisiting resource sites.
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    Habitual Route Analysis Method (HRAM)
    (Open Source Software, 2018-12-20) Curry, Caitlin; Presotto, Andrea; Geography and Geosciences; Master of Science in Geographic Information Systems Management
    The Habitual Route Analysis Method (HRAM) tool automates the analysis method to evaluate the existence of habitual routes present within navigational data. A habitual route is based on the animal uses of repeated routes and route segments. The constantly repetition of segments comprising the habitual route an animal use during a period of time. HRAM identifies repeated route and route segments. It uses the daily travel vector to identify route repetitions. A route is the sequence of geographic coordinates by day. Thus, the input data is a line shapefile. The script begins by accepting daily routes organized by month. These daily routes are combined to create monthly routes. The tool isolates each daily route and converts it into a buffered zone based on the species’ sight range. Each daily route’s buffer is compared to the other monthly routes. When a route from another month intersects a daily route’s buffer, it is considered repeated. For example, if you are looking at April 1st’s route and May 2nd, July 31st, and January 4th are intersecting the buffer then April 1st is repeated three times. The tool outputs two shapefiles for every month, one file with the month name, for example “april” which is the daily route and the attribute table shows how many times each daily routes was repeated. Another output is a shapefile for each month, which carry the name of the month plus segments. For example, for April the shapefile would be called “april_segments” which produces a attribute table with shows two fields: DAYNUM is the day the route was used and the REPEATED the day that route was repeated or the name of the route in the month which was buffered along with the name of each route that intersects its buffer. Sight Range This sight range is user input within the code since it varies based on the species and their environment. The unit of measurement is based on the input shapefile’s projection unit. For instance, if the inputted data is projected using NAD83(CSRS) / UTM zone 20N then the unit of measurement will be in meters. If the user inputs “300”, it will be used as “300 meters” for the sight range.
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    Spatial patterns of primate electrocutions in Diani, Kenya
    (Springer, 2018-06-26) Katsis, Lydia; Cunneyworth, Pamela M. K.; Turner, Katy ME; Presotto, Andrea; Geography and Geosciences
    Electrocution from power lines threatens many primate species, yet knowledge of effective evidence-based mitigation strategies is limited. Mitigation planning requires an understanding of the spatial distribution of electrocutions to prioritize high-risk areas. In Diani, a coastal Kenyan town, electrocution is an important cause of death for five primate species. In this study we aim to describe the spatial patterns of electrocutions and electric shock incidents (collectively referred to as 'electrocutions' hereafter) and identify electrocution hotspots to guide an effective primate- conservation approach in Diani. Colobus Conservation, a not for profit organization, has recorded electrocutions and annual primate census data since 1998. We georeferenced 329 electrocution data points and analyzed them using QGIS. We identified and compared hotspots across species, seasons and time using kernel density estimation and Getis-Ord-Gi*. We employed spatial regression models to test whether primate population density and power line density predicted the location of electrocution hotspots. Electrocutions occurred in hotspots that showed little variation in location between species and seasons. The limited variation in hotspot location over time likely occurred due to new building development in Diani and variability in primate detection rates by community members. Primate density and power line density were significant predictors of electrocution density for Angolan black and white colobus (Colobus angolensis palliatus) and Sykes monkeys (Cercopithecus mitis albogularis), but the relationship was weak suggesting the presence of additional risk factors. This study provides a framework for systematic spatial prioritization of power lines that can be used to reduce primate electrocutions in Diani, and can be adopted in other areas of the world where primates are at risk from electrocution.
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    On Borrowed Time: The Past, Present, and Future of Virginia’s Barrier Islands under Differing Sea-Level Rise Scenarios
    Hamilton, Stuart E.; Talbot, John; Flint, Carl; Phipps-Dickerson, Adam; Wilson, Tyler; Smith, Mychael
    Virginia’s barrier islands constitute one of the most undeveloped shorelines of the eastern US. Aside from a few islands in the north, the islands are uninhabited and managed for conservation. These islands play important environmental, cultural, and economic roles along Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Climate change driven sea-level rise is already having a major impact on these islands and threatens their existence. We utilize transect analysis across each of the barrier islands to depict the shoreline change trends annually from 1850 to 2010. We then utilize time series forecasting and panel modeling to estimate future island shorelines up to and including a best estimate 2099 CE shoreline. Results indicate that across almost all the islands, the shoreline retreat rate has been increasing over time. Additionally, we find that year 2100 CE sea-level rise scenarios are likely to accelerate the shoreline retreat occurring on these islands and may erase many of them all together. We find that the northern islands of Wallops and North Assateague will remain generally stable whereas many of the remaining islands will likely experience rapid shoreline retreat under future sea-level rise scenarios.
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    Universities and hospitals as agents of economic stability and growth in small cities: A comparative analysis
    (The Industrial Geographer, 2014) Parrillo, Adam J; de Socio, Mark
    Institutions of higher education and health care (‘Eds and Meds’) have become increasingly recognized as stable centers of employment and important contributors to urban economic development. Existing research into the contributions of Eds and Meds on regional economies focus primarily on large research-based universities and health care facilities based in larger cities. These institutions and the cities in which they are based offer significant resources like access to global streams of financial and intellectual capital. In contrast, smaller teaching-based institutions of higher education and service-oriented health care facilities are largely overlooked, presumably because a lack of significant research monies would mean limited impacts in the regional economy. However, any cursory look at the economic base of various smaller cities and regional centers in the U.S. would indicate that the stature of non-research health care and higher education institutions are likewise growing in importance for regional economies. The purpose of this paper is to trace the rise of health care and higher education as agents of economic stability and growth, and their spatial impacts on urban land use, in two smaller regional centers, namely Green Bay, Wisconsin, and Salisbury, Maryland – two cities with different cultural and economic histories whose economic trajectories nevertheless are converging in which Eds and Meds play an increasingly prominent role.
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    Creation of a high spatiotemporal resolution global database of continuous mangrove forest cover for the 21st Century (CGMFC-21)
    (2016) Hamilton, Stuart E.; Casey, Daniel
    Aim: To provide high-resolution local, regional, national and global estimates of annual mangrove forest area from 2000 through to 2012 with the goal of driving mangrove research questions pertaining to biodiversity, carbon stocks, climate change, functionality, food security, livelihoods, fisheries support and conservation that have been impeded until now by a lack of suitable data. Location: Global, covering 99% of all mangrove forests. Methods:We synthesized the Global Forest Change database, the Terrestrial Ecosystems of the World database and the Mangrove Forests of the World database to extract mangrove forest cover at high spatial and temporal resolutions. We then used the new database to monitor mangrove cover at the global, national and protected area scales. Results:Countries showing relatively high amounts of mangrove loss include Myanmar, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia and Guatemala. Indonesia remains by far the largest mangrove-holding nation, containing between 26% and 29% of the global mangrove inventory with a deforestation rate of between 0.26% and 0.66% per year. We have made our new database, CGMFC-21, freely available. Main conclusions: Global mangrove deforestation continues but at a much reduced rate of between 0.16% and 0.39% per year. Southeast Asia is a region of concern with mangrove deforestation rates between 3.58% and 8.08%, this in a region containing half of the entire global mangrove forest inventory. The global mangrove deforestation pattern from 2000 to 2012 is one of decreasing rates of deforestation, with many nations essentially stable, with the exception of the largest mangrove-holding region of Southeast Asia. We provide a standardized spatial dataset that monitors mangrove deforestation globally at high spatio-temporal resolutions. These data can be used to drive the mangrove research agenda, particularly as it pertains to monitoring of mangrove carbon stocks and the establishment of baseline local mangrove forest inventories required for payment for ecosystem service initiatives.
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    Titling community land to prevent deforestation: An evaluation of a best-case program in Morona-Santiago, Ecuador
    (2015) Buntaine, Mark T.; Hamilton, Stuart E.; Millones, Marco
    Assigning land title to collective landholders is one of the primary policies land management agencies use to avoid deforestation worldwide. Such programs are designed to improve the ability of landholders to legally exclude competing users and thereby strengthen incentives to manage forests for long-term benefits. Despite the prevalence of this hypothesis, findings about the impacts of land titling programs on deforestation are mixed. Evidence is often unreliable because programs are targeted according to factors that independently influence the conversion of forests. We evaluate a donor-funded land titling and land management program for indigenous communities implemented in Morona-Santiago, Ecuador. This program offers a close to best case scenario for a land titling program to reduce deforestation because of colonization pressure, availability of payments when titled communities maintain forests, and limited opportunities for commercial agriculture. We match plots in program areas with similar plots outside program areas on covariates that influence the conversion of forests. Based on matched comparisons, we do not find evidence that land titling or community management plans reduced forest loss in the five years following legal recognition. The results call into question land titling as a direct deforestation strategy and suggests land titling is better viewed a precursor to other programs.
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    A geospatial methodology to identify locations of concentrated runoff from agricultural fields
    (2015) Hancock, Gregory; Hamilton, Stuart E.; Stone, Monica; Kaste, Jim; Lovette, John
    A geospatial methodology has been developed that utilizes high resolution lidar-derived DEMs to help track runoff from agricultural fields and identify areas of potential concentrated flow through vegetated riparian areas in the Coastal Plain of Virginia. Points of concentrated flow are identified across 74 agricultural fields within the Virginia portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. On average, 70% of the surface area of the agricultural fields analyzed drains through less than 20 m of the field margin, and on average 81% of the field surface area drains through 1% or less of the field margin. Within the riparian buffer, locations that were predicted by the geospatial model to have high levels of concentrated flow were found to exhibit evidence of channelization. Results indicate that flow concentration and channelized flow through vegetated riparian areas may be common along the margin of agricultural fields, resulting in vegetated riparian areas that are less effective at sediment trapping than assumed. Additional results suggest that the regulations governing the location and width of vegetated riparian may not be sufficient to achieve goals for reducing sediment and nutrient runoff from nonpoint agricultural sources. Combined with the increasing availability of lidar-derived DEMs, the geospatial model presented has the potential to advance management practices aimed at reducing nonpoint source pollution leaving agricultural fields.
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    Assessing the role of commercial aquaculture in displacing mangrove forest
    (2013) Hamilton, Stuart E.
    To fill a gap in the marine science literature, I calculated the amount of mangrove deforestation in tropical estuaries that is attributable to commercial aquaculture. The eight countries analyzed were Indonesia, Brazil, India, Bangladesh, China, Thailand, Vietnam, and Ecuador. Together these countries contain approximately 36% of the world's remaining mangrove forest. One precommercial aquaculture remote sensing survey and one current remote sensing survey were undertaken in the major mangrove holding estuaries in each nation. The time period of the analysis varied by country based on the first arrival of large-scale commercial aquaculture, with the majority of initial surveys occurring in the early to mid-1970s and all the current surveys occurring post-2004. The surveys classified the land cover of 110,557 randomly located estuarine point locations and examined the land-cover change over time for each of these discreet locations. Among the largest and most representative account of global mangrove to aquaculture conversion, this study revealed that mangrove forests have lost 51.9% of their aerial extent during the analysis period. Of the mangrove loss during this period, I estimate that commercial aquaculture accounted for 28% of total mangrove loss across all nations resulting in approximately 544,000 ha of mangrove forest converted to aquaculture. There were significant differences in mangrove loss and mangrove to aquaculture conversion from nation to nation and even within nations.
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    Mangrove forest cover and loss since 2000 in areas with year 2000 mangrove forest
    (2016) Hamilton, Stuart E.; Casey, D.
    MFW. This raster dataset represents mangrove forest cover and mangrove forest change annually from 2000 – 2012 inclusive. The attribute value is m2 (stored as a 16 bit unsigned integer value) of mangrove cover for each pixel. The resolution is x = 0.000277778°, y = 0.000277778° or approximately 30m2 within the tropics. Attribute tables are provided. The definition of mangrove is all areas of the globe defined as year 2000 mangrove (Giri et al., 2011). The continuous data cover for subsequent years is derived from (Hansen et al. 2013). Each raster is ~618 GB when uncompressed and the entire database is ~9TB when uncompressed. The data is provided in ArcGIS file geodatabase format with both LZW lossless compression applied to the raw raster data and jpg compression applied to the pyramids. Database compression and compaction has also been applied. The actual geodatabase size is ~4.5GB. The reference system is WGS 1984, WKID: 4326 Authority: EPSG. These data are reported by country in the accompanying spreadsheet under the heading MFW. Please check http://bit.ly/1lMJ9zj for updates. Giri C, et al. (2011) Status and Distribution of Mangrove Forests of the World Using Earth Observation Satellite Data. Global Ecology and Biogeography 20(1):154-159. Hansen MC, et al. (2013) High-Resolution Global Maps of 21st-Century Forest Cover Change. Science 342(6160):850-853.
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    Mangrove forest cover and change in the mangrove biome
    (2016) Hamilton, Stuart E.
    TEOW. This raster dataset represents mangrove forest cover and mangrove forest change annually from 2000 – 2012 inclusive. The attribute value is m2 (stored as a 16 bit unsigned integer value) of mangrove cover for each pixel. The resolution is x = 0.000277778°, y = 0.000277778° or approximately 30m2 within the tropics. Attribute tables are provided. The definition of mangrove is all areas of the globe defined as in the mangrove biome by (Olson et al., 2001). The continuous data cover for subsequent years is derived from (Hansen et al. 2013). Each raster is ~618 GB when uncompressed and the entire database is ~9TB when uncompressed. The data is provided in ArcGIS file geodatabase format with both LZW lossless compression applied to the raw raster data and jpg compression applied to the pyramids. Database compression and compaction has also been applied. The actual geodatabase size is ~4.5GB. The reference system is WGS 1984, WKID: 4326 Authority: EPSG. These data are reported by country in the accompanying spreadsheet under the heading BIOME. Please check http://bit.ly/1lMJ9zj for updates.
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    Ecuador’s mangrove forest carbon stocks: A spatiotemporal analysis of living carbon holdings and their depletion since the advent of commercial aquaculture
    (2015) Hamilton, Stuart E.; Lovette, John
    In this paper we estimate the living carbon lost from Ecuador’s mangrove forests since the advent of export-focused shrimp aquaculture. We use remote sensing techniques to delineate the extent of mangroves and aquaculture at approximately decadal periods since the arrival of aquaculture in each Ecuadorian estuary. We then spatiotemporally calculate the carbon values of the mangrove forests and estimate the amount of carbon lost due to direct displacement by aquaculture. Additionally, we calculate the new carbon stocks generated due to mangrove reforestation or afforestation. This research introduces time and LUCC (land use / land cover change) into the tropical forest carbon literature and examines forest carbon loss at a higher spatiotemporal resolution than in many earlier analyses. We find that 80 percent, or 7,014,517 t of the living carbon lost in Ecuadorian mangrove forests can be attributed to direct displacement of mangrove forests by shrimp aquaculture. We also find that IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) compliant carbon grids within Ecuador’s estuaries overestimate living carbon levels in estuaries where substantial LUCC has occurred. By approaching the mangrove forest carbon loss question from a LUCC perspective, these findings allow for tropical nations and other intervention agents to prioritize and target a limited set of land transitions that likely drive the majority of carbon losses. This singular cause of transition has implications for programs that attempt to offset or limit future forest carbon losses and place value on forest carbon or other forest good and services.