Advancing conservation planning for western chimpanzees using IUCN SSC A.P.E.S.-the case of a taxon-specific database



Heinicke S, Mundry R, Boesch C, Amarasekaran B, Barrie A, Brncic T, Brugiere D, Campbell G, Carvalho J, Danquah E, Dowd D, Eshuis H, Fleury-Brugiere M, Maisels F & Williamson EA (2019) Advancing conservation planning for western chimpanzees using IUCN SSC A.P.E.S.-the case of a taxon-specific database. Environmental Research Letters, 14 (6), Art. No.: 064001.

Even though information on global biodiversity trends becomes increasingly available, large taxonomic and spatial data gaps persist at the scale relevant to planning conservation interventions. This is because data collectors are hesitant to share datawith global repositories due toworkload, lack of incentives, and perceived risk of losing intellectual property rights. In contrast, due to greater conceptual and methodological proximity, taxon-specific database initiatives can provide more direct benefits to data collectors through research collaborations and shared authorship.TheIUCNSSC Ape Populations, Environments and Surveys (A.P.E.S.) database was created in 2005 as a repository for data on great apes and other primate taxa. It aims to acquire field survey data and make different types of data accessible, and provide up-to-date species status information. To support the current update of the conservation action plan forwestern chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) we compiled field surveys for this taxon from IUCNSSCA.P.E.S., 75%ofwhich were unpublished. We used spatial modeling to infer total population size, range-wide density distribution, population connectivity and landscape-scale metrics.Weestimated a total abundance of 52 800 (95%CI 17 577–96 564) western chimpanzees, of which only 17%occurred in national parks.We also found that 10%of chimpanzees live within 25 kmof fourmulti-national ‘development corridors’ currently planned forWestAfrica. These large infrastructure projects aim to promote economic integration and agriculture expansion, but are likely to cause further habitat loss and reduce population connectivity.We close by demonstrating the wealth of conservation-relevant information derivable from a taxon-specific database like IUCNSSC A.P.E.S. and propose that a network of many more such databases could be created to provide the essential information to conservation that can neither be supplied by one-off projects nor by global repositories, and thus are highly complementary to existing initiatives.

species distribution model; Pan troglodytes verus; development corridor; West Africa

Environmental Research Letters: Volume 14, Issue 6

FundersRobert Bosch Stiftung GmbH
Publication date22/05/2019
Publication date online26/03/2019
Date accepted by journal26/03/2019

People (2)


Professor Fiona Maisels

Professor Fiona Maisels

Honorary Professor, Biological and Environmental Sciences

Professor Liz Williamson

Professor Liz Williamson

Honorary Professor, Psychology