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Jackals as cleaners : ecosystem services provided by a mesocarnivore in human-dominated landscapes
Ćirović, Duško (Author), Penezić, Aleksandra (Author), Krofel, Miha (Author)

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Abstract
Ecosystem services are receiving increasing attention among researchers and managers, due to emerging recognition of their global extent and contribution towards human welfare. Obligatory scavengers have been identified as important providers of these services, namely waste management, but their populations are declining worldwide and mesocarnivores are taking on the role of dominant scavengers in many regions. However, mesocarnivores are rarely appreciated for their services of waste removal, and are mostly cited in negative contexts in the literature. Here we explored the widely neglected potential of mesocarnivores as providers of ecosystem services. We used the golden jackal (Canis aureus) as a model species and evaluated its provision of ecosystem services in a developing country in the Balkans, where waste management creates numerous challenges. Based on contents of 606 jackal stomachs, food intake and population size, we estimate that in Serbia jackal population annually removes >3 700 tonnes of animal waste and 13.2 million crop pest rodents. We estimate the monetary value of animal waste removal at >0.5 million € per year. We scaled this result up to evaluate ecosystem services at the continental-scale, and these results indicate that jackals remove substantial amounts of discarded animal waste (> 13 000 tonnes) as well as potential crop pests (> 158 million crop pest rodents) across human-dominated landscapes of Europe. These results are the first to demonstrate the value of ecosystem services provided by mesocarnivores as facultative scavengers, and show that they are of great value for local communities in the modern world. We emphasize the importance of recognizing ecosystem services provided by species with predominantly negative public images, in consideration of their conservation.

Language:English
Keywords:waste management, anthropogenic food subsidies, scavenging, golden jackal, Canis aureus, Serbia
Work type:Not categorized (r6)
Tipology:1.03 - Short Scientific Article
Organization:BF - Biotechnical Faculty
Number of pages:str. 51-55
Numbering:#Vol. #199
UDC:630*15
ISSN on article:0006-3207
DOI:10.1016/j.biocon.2016.04.027 Link is opened in a new window
COBISS.SI-ID:4388006 Link is opened in a new window
License:CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
This work is available under this license: Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives 4.0 International
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Downloads:174
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Record is a part of a journal

Title:Biological Conservation
Shortened title:Biol. Conserv.
Publisher:Applied Science Publishers
ISSN:0006-3207
COBISS.SI-ID:26719232 This link opens in a new window

Document is financed by a project

Funder:ARRS - Agencija za raziskovalno dejavnost Republike Slovenije (ARRS)
Project no.:P4-0059
Name:

Secondary language

Language:Slovenian
Keywords:šakal, zlati šakal, Canis aureus, ekosistemske storitve, plenilci, mrhovinarji, mrhovinarstvo, plenjenje, prehrana, Srbija

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