Decision-makers require useful tools, such as indicators, to help them make environmentally sound decisions leading to effective management of hazardous wastes. Four hazardous waste indicators are being tested for such a purpose by several countries within the Sustainable Development Indicator Programme of the United Nations Commission for Sustainable Development. However, these indicators only address the 'down-stream' end-of-pipe industrial situation. More creative thinking is clearly needed to develop a wider range of indicators that not only reflects all aspects of industrial production that generates hazardous waste but considers socio-economic implications of the waste as well. Sets of useful and innovative indicators are proposed that could be applied to the emerging paradigm shift away from conventional end-of-pipe management actions and towards preventive strategies that are being increasingly adopted by industry often in association with local and national governments. A methodological and conceptual framework for the development of a core-set of hazardous waste indicators has been developed. Some of the indicator sets outlined quantify preventive waste management strategies (including indicators for cleaner production, hazardous waste reduction/minimization and life cycle analysis), whilst other sets address proactive strategies (including changes in production and consumption patterns, eco-efficiency, eco-intensity and resource productivity). Indicators for quantifying transport of hazardous wastes are also described. It was concluded that a number of the indicators proposed could now be usefully implemented as management tools using existing industrial and economic data. As cleaner production technologies and waste minimization approaches are more widely deployed, and industry integrates environmental concerns at all levels of decision-making, it is expected that the necessary data for construction of the remaining indicators will soon become available.
Periods of extreme food abundance, such as irregular masting events, can dramatically affect animal populations and communities, but the extent to which anthropogenic disturbances alter animal responses to mast events is not clear. In South-East Asia, dipterocarp trees reproduce in mast fruiting events every 2-10 years in some of the largest masting events on the planet. These trees, however, are targeted for selective logging, reducing the intensity of fruit production and potentially affecting multiple trophic levels. Moreover, animal responses to resource pulse events have largely been studied in systems where the major mast consumers have been extirpated. We sought to evaluate the influence of human-induced habitat disturbance on animal responses to masting in a system where key mast consumers remain extant. We used motion-triggered camera traps to quantify terrestrial mammal and bird occurrences in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo, relative to variation in fruit biomass from 69 plant families during a major (2014) and minor (2015) masting event and a non-mast year (2013), in both logged and unlogged forests. Bearded pigs (Sus barbatus) showed the clearest responses to masting and occurrence rates were highest in unlogged forest in the year following the major mast, suggesting that the pulse in fruit availability increased immigration or reproduction. We also detected local-scale spatial tracking of dipterocarp fruits in bearded pigs in unlogged forest, while this was equivocal in other species. In contrast, pigs and other vertebrate taxa in our study showed limited response to spatial or temporal variation in fruit availability in logged forest. Our findings suggest that vertebrates, namely bearded pigs, may respond to masting via movement and increased reproduction, but that these responses may be attenuated by habitat disturbance.
Animals can have both positive (e.g. via seed dispersal) and negative (e.g. via herbivory) impacts on plants. The net effects of these interactions remain difficult to predict and may be affected by overhunting and habitat disturbance, two widespread threats to tropical forests. Recent studies have documented their separate effects on plant recruitment but our understanding of how defaunation and logging interact to influence tropical tree communities is limited. From 2013 to 2016, we followed the fate of marked tree seedlings (n = 1489) from 81 genera in and outside experimental plots. Our plots differentially excluded small, medium and large-bodied mammal herbivores in logged and unlogged forest in Malaysian Borneo. We assessed the effects of experimental defaunation and logging on taxonomic diversity and plant trait (wood density, specific leaf area, fruit size) composition of seedling communities. Although seedling mortality was highest in the presence of all mammal herbivores (44%), defaunation alone did not alter taxonomic diversity nor plant trait composition. However, herbivores (across all body sizes) significantly reduced mean fruit size across the seedling community over time (95% confidence interval (CI): -0.09 to -0.01), particularly in logged forest (95% CI: -0.12 to -0.003). Our findings suggest that impacts of mammal herbivores on plant communities may be greater in forests with a history of disturbance and could subsequently affect plant functional traits and ecological processes associated with forest regeneration.
Vertebrate granivores destroy plant seeds, but whether animal-induced seed mortality alters plant recruitment varies with habitat context, seed traits, and among granivore species. An incomplete understanding of seed predation makes it difficult to predict how widespread extirpations of vertebrate granivores in tropical forests might affect tree communities, especially in the face of habitat disturbance. Many tropical forests are simultaneously affected by animal loss as well as habitat disturbance, but the consequences of each for forest regeneration are often studied separately or additively, and usually on a single plant demographic stage. The combined impacts of these threats could affect plant recruitment in ways that are not apparent when studied in isolation. We used wire cages to exclude large (elephants), medium, (sambar deer, bearded pigs, muntjac deer), and small (porcupines, chevrotains) ground-dwelling mammalian granivores and herbivores in logged and unlogged forests in Malaysian Borneo. We assessed the interaction between habitat disturbance (selective logging) and experimental defaunation on seed survival, germination, and seedling establishment in five dominant dipterocarp tree species spanning a 21-fold gradient in seed size. Granivore-induced seed mortality was consistently higher in logged forest. Germination of unpredated seeds was reduced in logged forest and in the absence of small to large-bodied mammals. Experimental defaunation increased germination and reduced seed removal but had little effect on seed survival. Seedling recruitment however, was more likely where logging and animal loss occurred together. The interacting effects of logging and hunting could therefore, actually increase seedling establishment, suggesting that the loss of mammals in disturbed forest could have important consequences for forest regeneration and composition.
The responses of lowland tropical communities to climate change will critically influence global biodiversity but remain poorly understood. If species in these systems are unable to tolerate warming, the communities-currently the most diverse on Earth-may become depauperate ('biotic attrition'). In response to temperature changes, animals can adjust their distribution in space or their activity in time, but these two components of the niche are seldom considered together. We assessed the spatio-temporal niches of rainforest mammal species in Borneo across gradients in elevation and temperature. Most species are not predicted to experience changes in spatio-temporal niche availability, even under pessimistic warming scenarios. Responses to temperature are not predictable by phylogeny but do appear to be trait-based, being much more variable in smaller-bodied taxa. General circulation models and weather station data suggest unprecedentedly high midday temperatures later in the century; predicted responses to this warming among small-bodied species range from 9% losses to 6% gains in spatio-temporal niche availability, while larger species have close to 0% predicted change. Body mass may therefore be a key ecological trait influencing the identity of climate change winners and losers. Mammal species composition will probably change in some areas as temperatures rise, but full-scale biotic attrition this century appears unlikely.