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      Ecology, evolution, and conservation of Ethiopia’s biodiversity

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          Abstract

          Ethiopia is home to one of the richest and most unique assemblages of fauna and flora on the African continent. Contained within its borders are two major centers of endemism, the mesic Roof of Africa (also known as the Ethiopian Highlands) and the arid Horn of Africa, resulting from the country’s varied topography and consequent geographic isolation. These centers of endemism are crucial to global conservation as evidenced by their classification within the Eastern Afromontane and Horn of Africa biodiversity hotspots, respectively. Ethiopia’s diverse ecosystems and the biodiversity they contain are increasingly threatened by climate change and the growing impacts of Africa’s second largest human and largest livestock populations. In this paper, we focus on several key areas of recent and ongoing research on Ethiopian biodiversity that have broadened our understanding of nature and its conservation in Africa. Topics explored include the behavioral ecology of Ethiopia’s large social mammals, the ecology and conservation of its unique coffee forests, and Ethiopian approaches to community conservation, fortress conservation, and nature-based solutions. We also highlight the increasing prominence of Ethiopian scientists in studies of the country’s biodiversity in recent decades. We suggest promising avenues for future research in evolutionary biology, ecology, systematics, and conservation in Ethiopia and discuss how recent and ongoing work in Ethiopia is helping us better understand and conserve nature in the human-dominated landscapes of Africa and other tropical regions today.

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          Elevation-dependent warming in mountain regions of the world

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            Averting biodiversity collapse in tropical forest protected areas.

            The rapid disruption of tropical forests probably imperils global biodiversity more than any other contemporary phenomenon. With deforestation advancing quickly, protected areas are increasingly becoming final refuges for threatened species and natural ecosystem processes. However, many protected areas in the tropics are themselves vulnerable to human encroachment and other environmental stresses. As pressures mount, it is vital to know whether existing reserves can sustain their biodiversity. A critical constraint in addressing this question has been that data describing a broad array of biodiversity groups have been unavailable for a sufficiently large and representative sample of reserves. Here we present a uniquely comprehensive data set on changes over the past 20 to 30 years in 31 functional groups of species and 21 potential drivers of environmental change, for 60 protected areas stratified across the world’s major tropical regions. Our analysis reveals great variation in reserve ‘health’: about half of all reserves have been effective or performed passably, but the rest are experiencing an erosion of biodiversity that is often alarmingly widespread taxonomically and functionally. Habitat disruption, hunting and forest-product exploitation were the strongest predictors of declining reserve health. Crucially, environmental changes immediately outside reserves seemed nearly as important as those inside in determining their ecological fate, with changes inside reserves strongly mirroring those occurring around them. These findings suggest that tropical protected areas are often intimately linked ecologically to their surrounding habitats, and that a failure to stem broad-scale loss and degradation of such habitats could sharply increase the likelihood of serious biodiversity declines.
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              Ecology. Whose conservation?

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
                Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
                PNAS
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
                National Academy of Sciences
                0027-8424
                1091-6490
                9 December 2022
                13 December 2022
                9 December 2022
                : 119
                : 50
                : e2206635119
                Affiliations
                [1] a Division of Anthropology & Environmental Studies Program, California State University Fullerton , Fullerton, CA 92834
                [2] b Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis, Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo , Oslo 0371, Norway
                [3] c Department of Plant Biology & Biodiversity Management, College of Natural Sciences, Addis Ababa University , Addis Ababa 1176, Ethiopia
                [4] d Natural History Museum, University of Oslo , Oslo 0318, Norway
                [5] e Department of Zoological Sciences, Addis Ababa University , Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
                [6] f Department of Anthropology and Archaeology, University of Calgary , Calgary, AB T2N 1NF Canada
                [7] g Department of Wildlife and Ecotourism Management, Bahir Dar University , Bahir Dar 79, Ethiopia
                [8] h University of Eastern Finland Library, University of Eastern Finland , Joensuu 80101, Finland
                [9] i Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies, Aarhus University , Aarhus 8000, Denmark
                [10] j Section for Ecoinformatics and Biodiversity, Department of Biology, Aarhus University , Aarhus 8000, Denmark
                Author notes
                1To whom correspondence may be addressed. Email: n.c.stenseth@ 123456mn.uio.no .

                Edited by B. Turner, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ; received April 22, 2022; accepted October 12, 2022

                Author information
                http://orcid.org/0000-0003-3854-1999
                https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0123-9596
                https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2045-1285
                https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2397-6108
                http://orcid.org/0000-0003-2036-3346
                http://orcid.org/0000-0002-2739-9096
                https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1591-5399
                Article
                202206635
                10.1073/pnas.2206635119
                9897469
                36490314
                e5c0355b-e916-42c4-b65a-14bc8b425701
                Copyright © 2022 the Author(s). Published by PNAS.

                This open access article is distributed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License 4.0 (CC BY-NC-ND).

                History
                Page count
                Pages: 10, Words: 6911
                Funding
                Funded by: Fulbright Norway (US-Norway Fulbright), FundRef 100019845;
                Award ID: None
                Award Recipient : Peter James Fashing Award Recipient : Nga Nguyen
                Funded by: San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research (SDZICR), FundRef 100017843;
                Award ID: None
                Award Recipient : Peter James Fashing Award Recipient : Nga Nguyen
                Funded by: Carlsbergfondet (Carlsberg Foundation), FundRef 501100002808;
                Award ID: None
                Award Recipient : Sebsebe Demissew
                Categories
                dataset, Dataset
                pers, Perspective
                env-sci-bio, Environmental Sciences
                env-sci-soc, Environmental Sciences
                from-the-cover, From the Cover
                417
                417
                447
                Perspective
                Biological Sciences
                Environmental Sciences
                Social Sciences
                Environmental Sciences

                biodiversity hotspots,climate change,community conservation

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