habitat loss

Application Form for Area of Importance for Bat Conservation (AICOM) Kleine Bonaire

Located in the South Caribbean xeric region, approximately 800 m from the Island of Bonaire, Klein Bonaire is a small flat island (maximum elevation 7 m a.s.l.) with a surface of 690 ha of limestone of coral reef origin and an estimated age of 30.000 to 40.000 years. Free of herbivorous exotic species since the 1980s, it presents a dry thorny forest dominated in the central area by columnar cacti of two species, Stenocereus griseus, and Cereus repandus. These cacti have high production of flowers and fruit, suggesting high foraging activity of the two nectar-feeding bats that live on Bonaire Island, Glossophaga longirostris, and Leptonycteris curasoae. Ecological interactions established between these bats and the cacti (pollination and seed dispersal) are essential for the maintenance of the dry ecosystems present on Bonaire. In addition, the bat pollinated tree Crescenta cujete is also a common species in the plant community. Other species on the island use its fruits. Because of the short distance that separates Bonaire and Klein Bonaire, the second is an important source of food resources for L. curasoae, known to fly over seawater. As natural habitats of Bonaire, including protected areas, undergo a degradation process due to the negative impact of exotic herbivore mammals (goats, sheep, donkeys, and pigs) and the land suffers a fragmentation process due to touristic and urban developments, the importance of Klein Bonaire as food reservoir for fruit bats increases. This island is free of exotic herbivores, and the construction of any type of residential structure is forbidden. Despite being already considered a protected area locally and internationally, its designation as AICOM is important for several reasons: a) it will help enforce future management plans for the island in favor of its wildlife, b) it will influence the approval of future environmental projects on the island (e.g., reforestation, research, recreational activities), c) it will enforce the need to protect the island, d) it will facilitate its designation as a KBA (Key Biodiversity Area) and, e) it will complement the current system of AICOMs and SICOMs recognized for the ABCs.

Data type
Other resources
Geographic location

Accelerating loss of seagrasses across the globe threatens coastal ecosystems

Coastal ecosystems and the services they provide are adversely affected by a wide variety of human activities. In particular, seagrass meadows are negatively affected by impacts accruing from the billion or more people who live within 50 km of them. Seagrass meadows provide important ecosystem services, includ- ing an estimated $1.9 trillion per year in the form of nutrient cycling; an order of magnitude enhancement of coral reef fish productivity; a habitat for thousands of fish, bird, and invertebrate species; and a major food source for endangered dugong, mana- tee, and green turtle. Although individual impacts from coastal development, degraded water quality, and climate change have been documented, there has been no quantitative global assess- ment of seagrass loss until now. Our comprehensive global assess- ment of 215 studies found that seagrasses have been disappearing at a rate of 110 km2 yr 1 since 1980 and that 29% of the known areal extent has disappeared since seagrass areas were initially recorded in 1879. Furthermore, rates of decline have accelerated from a median of 0.9% yr 1 before 1940 to 7% yr 1 since 1990. Seagrass loss rates are comparable to those reported for man- groves, coral reefs, and tropical rainforests and place seagrass meadows among the most threatened ecosystems on earth. 

Data type
Scientific article
Research and monitoring