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EES1101: Research Paper in Environmental Science

Potential Recovery Strategy Antagonisms on Pelee Island - T Ahsan

Full Title:

An Analysis of Potential Recovery Strategy Antagonisms on Pelee Island


Tasfia Ahsan


Dr. Nicholas Mandrak, Dr. Stuart Livingstone


While recovery strategies are an essential conservation tool for facilitating the recovery for species-at-risk, it has increasingly been recognized that conflicts across recovery objectives may occur between sympatric species. Thus, a novel methodology was developed to identify consistent, neutral, and antagonistic interactions between recovery actions. A case study for the application of this methodology is presented with a focus on Pelee Island, where as many as 102 species-atrisk have been identified. In this case study, an emphasis is placed antagonisms between habitatspecific recovery actions of sympatric species and an examination of whether antagonisms (or other interactions) could be predicted using explanatory variables (taxonomic group, legal status, recovery strategy publication year, critical habitat designation, recovery ambition, suitable habitat, threats to species). Recovery actions for 16 focal species were evaluated pairwise to identify consistency, neutrality, or antagonism with each other; in some cases, the nature of the interaction between recovery actions could not be assessed due to the limited information available. 84.99% of the interactions evaluated were identified as consistent or neutral, 1.53% as potentially antagonistic, and 13.48% as unknown. Interactions were plotted in multivariate space using principal coordinate analyses (PCoAs) to visualize dissimilarities but yielded few visually distinct patterns. To examine whether certain explanatory variables could predict interactions, distancebased redundancy analyses (db-RDAs) were utilized and found only mixed forest habitat was statistically significant for predicting antagonisms; however, consistent, neutral, and unknown interactions could be predicted by various habitats, threats, critical habitat designations, and taxonomic groups. While the results presented in this case study are region-specific and thus not widely generalizable, the methodology presented may inform conservation planning to minimize antagonisms as it is adaptable to different regions, species assemblages, and recovery actions.