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North American Gray Wolf
Reduced to a few hundred Keystone species Restoration proposal angered ranchers, hunters, loggers 1995, reintroduced in Yellowstone, 136 by 2007 Positive ripple effect after reintroduction
The Gray Wolf
How Are We Affecting the Earth’s Biodiversity and Why Should We Protect It?
We are degrading and destroying biodiversity in many parts of the world and these threats are increasing.
We should protect biodiversity because it exists and because of its usefulness to us and other species.
Loss of Biodiversity
Earth’s biodiversity depleted and degraded
83% land surface disturbed
Degradation of aquatic biodiversity
Ecological fishprint unsustainable
Why Protect Biodiversity
Existence Aesthetic Bequest
How Should We Manage and Sustain Forests?
We can sustain forests by recognizing the economic value of their ecological services, protecting old-growth forests, harvesting trees no faster than they are replenished, and making most paper from fastgrowing plants and agricultural residues instead of trees.
Forests 30% of earth’s land surface
Types of Forests
Natural Capital: Forests
Short Rotation Cycle Forestry
Loss of Original Forests
46% in 8,000 years, most since 1950
Most in tropical areas, developing countries
Estimated loss of 40% intact forests within next 20 years
Natural Capital Degradation: Deforestation
Science Focus: Putting a Price Tag on Nature’s Ecological Services
Estimated value of earth’s ecological services
$33.2 trillion per year $4.7 trillion per year for forests
Need to start factoring values into land use
Roads and Forests
Good News on Forests
2000–2005 net total forested area stabilized or increased
Most of the increase due to tree plantations
Net loss of terrestrial biodiversity
Return of Forests in the United States
Cover ~30% of land Contain ~80% of wildlife species Supply ~67% of nation’s surface water
Forest cover greater now than in 1920
Return of Forests in the United States
Second- and third-growth forests fairly diverse
More wood grown than cut
40% of forests in National Forest System
Forests transformed into tree plantations
Step one – build roads
Erosion Invasive species Open up for human invasion
Step two – logging operations
Selective cutting Strip cutting Clear cutting
Forest Harvesting Methods
Trade-offs: Clear-cutting Forests
Forests and Fires
Burn undergrowth only Cool fire Ecological benefits
Burn the entire tree Hot fire Occur in forests with lack of surface fires
Management of Forest Fires
Fire suppression in all types of forests
Some forests naturally fire adapted
Restoration of fire’s natural role
Certifying Sustainably Grown Timber
Forest Steward Council (FSC) certification of forest operations
Environmentally sound practices Sustainable yield harvest Minimal erosion from operations Retention of dead wood for wildlife habitat
However, the FSC has been under fire for certifying areas that are not sustainable- see http://www.fsc-watch.org
Solutions: Sustainable Forestry
Trees and Paper
Many trees are cut for paper production
Pulp from rice straw and agricultural residues (China) Kenaf (U.S.)
In California, Texas and Louisiana, 3,200 acres of kenaf were grown in 1992, most of which was used for animal bedding and feed Kenaf grows quickly, rising to heights of 12-14 feet in as little as 4 to 5 months. U.S. Department of Agriculture studies show that kenaf yields of 6 to 10 tons of dry fiber per acre per year are generally 3 to 5 times greater than the yield for Southern pine trees, which can take from 7 to 40 years to reach harvestable size. 31
How Serious Is Tropical Deforestation and How Can It Be Reduced?
We can reduce tropical deforestation by protecting large forest areas teaching settlers about sustainable agriculture and forestry using government subsidies that encourage sustainable forest use reducing poverty slowing population growth
Cover 6% of earth’s land area Habitat for 50% of terrestrial plants and animals Vulnerable to extinction – specialized niches Rapid loss of 50,000–170,000 km2 per year
Burning of a Tropical Forest
Destruction of Tropical Forests
Causes of Tropical Forest Deforestation and Degradation
Population growth and poverty
International lending agencies encourage development
southern Venezuelan lowland tropical rainforest, the Caura basin has impressive levels of biodiversity -- 2,600 vascular plant species, 168 mammal species, 475 bird species, 34 amphibian species, 53 reptile species, and 441 species of fish to date -- and stores some 700 million metric tons of carbon, or about the amount released by 162 million cars in a year. Area home to indigenous groups -- Ye'kwana, Sanema and Hoti -- who rely heavily upon local rivers for drinking water, food, and transportation. isolated parts Amazonia, these Indians live in mostly traditional ways.
Miners rely heavily on hydraulic mining techniques, blasting away at river banks with highpowered water cannons and clearing forests to expose potential goldyielding gravel deposits. Gold is usually extracted from this gravel using a sluice box to separate heavier sediment and mercury used to amalgamate the precious metal.
“Mercury sales are poorly regulated and its use is widespread…bioaccumulation of mercury in fish poses health threats to people living downstream. Fish account for the major share of protein in the diet of local residents, …Venezuela's Minister of Environment, said that it will take 300 years to re-plant destroyed forest in the area and 70 years to decontaminate areas polluted by the miners.” http://news.mongabay.com/2006/1109-atbc.html
Effects of Tropical Deforestation
Fragmentation of remaining patches
Remaining forests get drier and may burn
Degrades biodiversity CO2 to the atmosphere Accelerates climate change
How to Protect Tropical Forests
Teach settlers to practice small-scale sustainable agriculture Harvest renewable resources from the forests Debt-for-nature swaps Conservation concessions Better logging methods
Solutions: Sustaining Tropical Forests
Individuals Matter: Wangari Maathai and Kenya’s Green Belt Movement
Backyard small tree nursery Organized poor women Women paid for each surviving seedling planted
Breaks cycle of poverty Reduces environmental degradation People walk less distance to get fuel wood
Sparked projects in +30 African countries 2004 Nobel Peace Price
Wangari Maathai on Climate Change and Copenhagen 2009
“The world hopes that in Copenhagen, governments will be guided by the realities of available scientific evidence, and act accordingly. I welcome the development of new incentive mechanisms, such as reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD), which should also address degradation of agricultural land. REDD would compensate developing countries for environmental services provided by indigenous forests left standing.” “Other mechanisms have been proposed and should be considered, including an “emergency fund” by the Prince of Wales’ Rainforest Project, which would provide payments from public and private sources to countries that protect their rainforests. “
How Should We Manage and Sustain Parks and Nature Reserves?
Sustaining biodiversity will require protecting much more of the earth’s remaining undisturbed land area, starting with the most endangered biodiversity hot spots.
>1,100 national parks in 120 countries
Only 1% of parks in developing countries are protected
Local people invade parks to survive
Problems Protecting National Parks
Illegal logging Illegal mining Wildlife poaching Most parks too small to protect large animals Invasion of nonnative species
Illegal Killing and Trading of Wildlife
Poaching endangers many larger animals, rare plants Over two-thirds die in transit Illegal trade $6–$10 billion per year Wild species depleted by pet trade Exotic plants often illegally gathered
White Rhinoceros Poached for Its Horn
The Value of Wild Rare Species
Declining populations increase black market values
Rare species valuable in the wild – eco-tourism
Some ex-poachers turn to eco-tourism
Rising Demand for Bush Meat
Traditional use of bush meat Demand increasing with population growth Increased road access Loggers, miners, ranchers add to pressure Local and biological extinctions
Bush Meat on the Rise
Stresses on U.S. National Parks
Biggest problem popularity
Damage from nonnative species
Threatened islands of biodiversity
Most beneficial – food crops, livestock, pest control 500,000 alien invader species globally 50,000 nonnative species in the U.S. The economic toll from damage by invasive species—and the costs of trying to control them—is enormous: U.S. $137 billion a year, according to a 1999 Cornell University study.
Deliberately Introduced Species
Accidentally Introduced Species
Case Study: The Kudzu Vine
Kudzu introduced to control erosion
Asians use powdered starch in beverages Source of tree-free paper Japanese kudzu farm in Alabama
Invasive Kudzu Vine
Disruptions from Accidentally Introduced Species
Downside of global trade Argentina fire ant Burmese python 13-foot (4-meter) Burmese python in Florida's Everglades National Park, the headless python was found in October 2005 after it apparently tried to digest a 6-foot-long (2-meter-long) American alligator
Argentina Fire Ant
Prevention of Nonnative Species (1)
Identify characteristics of successful invaders Detect and monitor invasions Inspect imported goods Identify harmful invasive species and ban transfer
Prevention of Nonnative Species (2)
ships discharge ballast waters at sea
introduce natural control organisms of invaders
Characteristics of Successful Invaders
Fig. 9-12, p. 187
What Can You Do?
Fig. 9-13, p. 188
Natural Capital Degradation: Off-road Vehicles
Nature Reserves Occupy a Fraction of Earth
12% of earth’s land protected
Only 5% fully protected – 95% reserved for human use
Need for conservation
Minimum 20% of land in biodiversity reserves Protection for all biomes
Solutions for Protection
Requires action – bottom-up political pressure
Nature Conservancy – world’s largest private system of reserves
Buffer zones around protected areas
Locals to manage reserves and buffer zones
Solutions: National Parks
Case Study: Costa Rica
Superpower of biodiversity
Conserved 25% of its land, 8 megareserves
Government eliminated deforestation subsidies
Paid landowners to maintain and restore tree coverage
Goal to make sustainable forestry profitable 69
Model Biosphere Reserve
Costa Rica’s Megareserve Network
Protecting Wilderness Protects Biodiversity
Minimum size >4,000 km2
Preserves natural capital
Centers for evolution
Case Study: Controversy over Wilderness Protection in the U.S.
1964 Wilderness Act
Roadless Rule protects 400,000 sq. miles
Pressure from oil, gas, mining, and logging
Protecting Global Biodiversity Hotspots
17 megadiversity countries in tropics and subtropics
Two-thirds of biodiversity
Developing countries economically poor and biodiversity rich
Protect biodiversity hotspots
34 Global Hotspots
Biodiversity Hotspots in the U.S.
8-6 What Is the Importance of Restoration Ecology?
Concept 8-6 Sustaining biodiversity will require a global effort to rehabilitate and restore damaged ecosystems.
Creating artificial ecosystems
Science-based Principles for Restoration
Identify cause of degradation
Stop abuse by reducing factors
Reintroduce species if necessary
Protect area from further degradation
Case Study: Ecological Restoration of Tropical Dry Forest in Costa Rica
One of world’s largest ecological restoration projects
Restore a degraded tropical dry forest and reconnect it to adjacent forests
Involve 40,000 people in the surrounding area – biocultural restoration
Will Restoration Encourage Further Degradation
Some worry environmental restoration suggests any harm can be undone
Restoration badly needed Altered restored site better than no restoration
What Can You Do?
Fig. 8-24, p. 171
8-7 How Can We Help Sustain Aquatic Biodiversity?
Concept 8-7 We can sustain aquatic biodiversity by establishing protected sanctuaries, managing coastal development, reducing water pollution, and preventing overfishing.
Three Patterns of Aquatic Biodiversity
Greatest biodiversity in coral reefs, estuaries, and deep-ocean floor
Higher near the coast than in open sea
Higher in the bottom region of ocean than in surface layer
Human Impacts on Aquatic Ecosystems
Destroyed or degraded by human activities
Ocean floor degradation 150 times larger than area clear-cut annually 75% of most valuable fish species overfished Likely extinction
34% marine fish species 71% freshwater species
Effects of Bottom Trawling
Fig. 8-25, p. 172
Why Is Protection of Marine Biodiversity So Difficult?
Human aquatic ecological footprint expanding
Not visible to most people
Viewed as an inexhaustible resource
Most ocean areas outside jurisdiction of a country
Solutions for Marine Ecosystems
Protect endangered and threatened species
Establish protected marine sanctuaries
Marine reserves – work well and quickly
Integrated coastal management
Protect existing coastal wetlands 88
Solutions: Managing Fisheries
Fig. 8-26, p. 173
8-8 What Should Be Our Priorities for Protecting Biodiversity?
Concept 8-8 Sustaining the world’s biodiversity requires mapping terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity, protecting terrestrial and aquatic hotspots and old-growth forests, initiating ecological restoration projects worldwide, and making conservation profitable.
Priorities for Protecting Biodiversity
Map terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity Immediately preserve biodiversity hotspots Keep old-growth forests intact Protect and restore lakes and rivers Initiate ecological restoration Make conservation profitable 91
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