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LIFS 4301 Habitat destruction

Cindy LAM Room 3486 (L25/26) envscindy@ust.hk


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Important Notice

Field Study Survey


Date: 2 Nov 2013 (Sat) Time: 9:00 am 12:00 noon Location: Pak Sha O Content:
Introduction of Pak Sha O Introduction of baseline ecology survey & role of Environmental Impact Assessment Development Permission Area & Outline Zoning Plans Butterflies & odonta survey Data presentation on Nov 19
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Conservation Biology
Focus on primary threats to biodiversity Habitat degradation (3/10) Habitat fragmentation (8/10) Overexploitation (15/10) Species invasion (17/10) Climate change (22/10) Approaches to solving conservation problems Protected areas (24/10) Endangered species conservation (29/10)
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Lecture Outline
Habitat destruction Patterns of habitat transformation on land and in the sea Causes of habitat destruction
Human activities Pollution

Global habitat conservation Case study

Habitat Destruction
Habitat destruction: dramatic change in natural habitat that no longer supports the species Habitat loss: extreme changes in habitat that make them unable to support more than a faction of original functions and species Habitat transformation Habitat conversion

Forms of Habitat Destruction

Habitat Transformation

Deforestation

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Q: What are the impacts of deforestation?

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Deforestation of Paraguay

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The Grassland Biomes


Grassland covers 52.5 million km2 or 40.5% of Earths surface Different names in different regions
Africa: savannas Asia: steppes South America: pampas North America: prairies

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Grassland Threats

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Grassland Threats
Global warming Poor agricultural practices Change in species composition Cultivation of domestic livestock Urbanization Application of pesticides

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Freshwater Systems
Degradation of freshwater systems through water diversions, dams, and extensive wetland losses The Aral Sea story

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Loss of Wetlands

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Marine Ecosystems
Many populations heavily reply on marine resources for food and income Other possible threats:
River diversion Overfishing Destruction of coral reefs Pollution Climate change

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Human Activities Cause Habitat Destruction


Three main proximate causes of habitat destruction: Agricultural activities Extraction activities Development

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Agriculture

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Agriculture

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Extractive Activities

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Urbanization

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Pollution as a Form of Habitat Destruction


Pollutants may affect biological resources directly by altering chemical balance of water or soils, lead to mortality in wildlife that accidentally ingest alien objects, or affect ecosystem functioning. Air pollution Solid wastes Chemical pollution Eutrophication
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Air Pollution and Acid Rain

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Global warming impacts on biota

Solid Wastes and Plastics

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Chemical Pollution
Oil spill Heavy metals Endocrine disrupting chemicals

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Eutrophication

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Global Habitat Conservation


General goal: Maintain intact ecosystems and thwart human-caused species extinction
Biological importance Threat identification Financial costs Likelihood of success

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Biodiversity Hotspots

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The Global 200 Ecoregions


Developed by WWF-U.S. Selected as conservation targets based on species richness, endemism, taxonomic uniqueness, unusual ecological or evolutionary phenomena and global rarity

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Crisis Ecoregions
Conservation risk index (CRI) of threat
Ratio of % of habitat converted to human uses to % protected by biome/ ecoregion

High CRI in temperate grassland, savannas, scrublands, and Mediterranean ecoregions


CRI CRI > 25 Meaning Critically Endangered

CRI > 10 CRI > 2

Endangered Vulnerable
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Wilderness Protection
Identify and protect the natural, intact habitat (wilderness areas) Critical importance for intact floral and faunal assemblages, ecosystem services, traditional lifestyles of tribal peoples

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Other Approaches
Global Forest Watch: provide real-time forest monitoring system to fight against deforestation
Satellite images Mapping software On-the-ground observation

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Summary
Habitat destruction and degradation is the largest threat to biodiversity. Habitat destruction caused by agriculture, extraction, pollution, etc. Habitat loss is reserved for severe impacts that all or nearly all species are affected, and long recovery times. Efforts to protect remaining natural habitats have centered on settling priorities to govern where conservation efforts are focused.
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References
1. Conservation Biology for All
Chapter 4: Habitat destruction: death by a thousand cuts (p.73 p87)

2. Principles of Conservation Biology (3rd Edition)


Chapter 6: Habitat Degradation and Loss (p. 173 p.212)

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