You are on page 1of 45


CHAPTER 8: Sustaining Biodiversity: The Species Approach

8-1 What Role Do Humans Play in the Premature Extinction of Species?

Concept 8-1 Species are becoming extinct 100 to 1,000 times faster than they were before modern humans arrived on earth, and by the end of this century, the extinction rate is expected be 10,000 times higher than the background rate.

Human Activities and Extinction

Background extinction rate Current rate is 100-1000 times background extinction Rate likely to rise to 10,000 times Is a mass extinction coming?

Current Extinction Rate Estimates Are Conservative

Species and biodiversity decrease in next 50100 years Biodiversity hotspot rates higher than global average Degrading, simplifying, and destroying diverse environments

Passenger pigeon Great auk


Golden Toad

Aepyornis (Madagascar)

Fig. 8-2, p. 154

Ecological Smoke Alarms

Endangered species Threatened species The first to go: large, slow, tasty, or have valuable parts Some behaviors make species prone to extinction

Grizzly bear

Kirklands warbler

Knowlton cactus Florida manatee African elephant

Utah prairie dog Swallowtail butterfly

Humpback chub Golden lion tamarin

Siberian tiger

Fig. 8-3, p. 156

Giant panda

Black-footed ferret

Whooping crane Northern spotted owl

Blue whale

Mountain gorilla Florida panther

California condor Hawksbill sea turtle

Black rhinoceros
Fig. 8-3, p. 156

Low reproductive rate Specialized niche Narrow distribution Feeds at high trophic level Fixed migratory patterns Rare

Blue whale, giant panda, rhinoceros Blue whale, giant panda, Everglades kite Elephant seal, desert pupfish Bengal tiger, bald eagle, grizzly bear Blue whale, whooping crane, sea turtle African violet, some orchids Snow leopard, tiger, elephant, rhinoceros, rare plants and birds California condor, grizzly bear, Florida panther

Commercially valuable Large territories

Stepped Art Fig. 8-4, p. 157

Fish Amphibians Mammals Reptiles Plants Birds 25% 20% 14% 12%

34% (51% of freshwater species) 32%

Fig. 8-5, p. 157

8-2 Why Should We Care about Preventing Species Extinction?

Concept 8-2 We should prevent the premature extinction of wild species because of the economic and ecological services they provide and because they have a right to exist regardless of their usefulness to us.

Value of Species
Instrumental value of biodiversity
Food crops Genetic information Medicine Bioprospectors Ecotourism

Do not know what we lose when species go extinct

Fig. 8-6, p. 158


Pacific yew

Rosy periwinkle

Foxglove Cinchona
Taxus brevifolia, Pacific Northwest Ovarian cancer Cathranthus roseus, Madagascar Hodgkin's disease, lymphocytic leukemia

Neem tree

Rauvolfia sepentina, Southeast Asia Anxiety, high blood pressure

Digitalis purpurea, Europe Digitalis for heart failure

Cinchona ledogeriana, South America Quinine for malaria treatment

Azadirachta indica, India Treatment of many diseases, insecticide, spermicide

Fig. 8-7, p. 158

Ethical Obligations
Intrinsic (existence) value Stewardship viewpoint

8-3 How Do Humans Accelerate Species Extinction?

Concept 8-3 The greatest threats to any species are (in order) loss or degradation of its habitat, harmful invasive species, human population growth, pollution, climate change, and overexploitation.

Natural Capital Degradation

Causes of Depletion and Premature Extinction of Wild Species
Underlying Causes Population growth Rising resource use Undervaluing natural capital Poverty

Direct Causes Habitat loss Habitat degradation and fragmentation Introduction of nonnative species Pollution Climate change Overfishing Commercial hunting and poaching Sale of exotic pets and decorative plants Predator and pest control

Fig. 8-8, p. 160

Causes of Endangerment and Premature Extinction (HIPPCO)

Habitat destruction Invasive species Population growth Pollution Climate change Overexploitation

Habitat Loss
Deforestation of tropical areas greatest eliminator of species Endemic species Habitat fragmentation

Indian Tiger

Black Rhino

Range 100 years ago Range today African Elephant

Range in 1700 Range today Asian or Indian Elephant

Probable range 1600 Range today

Former range Range today

Stepped Art Fig. 8-9, p. 161

Species Introductions
Most beneficial food crops, livestock, pest control 500,000 alien invader species globally 50,000 nonnative species in the U.S. Some definitely not beneficial

Deliberately Introduced Species

Purple loosestrife European starling African honeybee Nutria (Killer bee)

Salt cedar (Tamarisk)

Marine toad (Giant toad)

Water hyacinth

Japanese beetle


European wild boar (Feral pig)

Fig. 8-10, p. 163

Accidentally Introduced Species

Sea lamprey Argentina fire (attached to lake ant trout)

Brown tree snake

Eurasian ruffe

Common pigeon (Rock dove)

Formosan termite

Zebra mussel

Asian longhorned beetle

Asian tiger mosquito

Gypsy moth larvae

Fig. 8-10, p. 163

Deliberately introduced species

Purple European loosestrife starling

African honeybee Nutria (Killer bee)

Salt cedar (Tamarisk)

Marine toad (Giant toad)

Accidentally introduced species

Water hyacinth

Japanese beetle


European wild boar (Feral pig)

Sea lamprey Argentina (attached to lake fire ant trout)

Brown tree snake

Eurasian ruffe

Common pigeon (Rock dove)

Formosan termite

Zebra mussel

Asian long- Asian tiger Gypsy moth horned beetle mosquito larvae

Stepped Art Fig. 8-10, p. 163

Disruptions from Accidentally Introduced Species

Downside of global trade Downside of traveling Argentina fire ant Burmese python Zebra mussel

Fig. 8-12, p. 165

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

Fig. 8-13, p. 165

Human Choices Drive Extinction

Human population growth Excessive, wasteful consumption Use of pesticides Climate change

DDT and Bioaccumulation

1950s1960s fish-eating bird populations drop DDT biologically magnified in food webs Birds eggshells thin and fragile Leads to unsuccessful reproduction

DDT in fish-eating birds (ospreys) 25 ppm DDT in large fish (needle fish) 2 ppm DDT in small fish (minnows) 0.5 ppm

DDT in zooplankton 0.04 ppm DDT in water 0.000003 ppm, or 3 ppt

Fig. 8-15, p. 166

Illegal Killing and Trading of Wildlife

Poaching endangers many larger animals, rare plants Over two-thirds die in transit Illegal trade: $1.1 million per hour Wild species depleted by pet trade Exotic plants often illegally gathered

Fig. 8-16, p. 168

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

Demand increasing with population growth Increased road access Loggers, miners, ranchers add to pressure Local and biological extinctions Spread of HIV and Ebola virus

8-4 How Can We Protect Wild Species from Premature Extinction?

Concept 8-4 We can reduce species extinction and help to protect overall biodiversity by establishing and enforcing national environmental laws and international treaties, creating a variety of protected wildlife sanctuaries, and taking precautionary measures to prevent such harm.

International Treaties
Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

Protection of Marine Species

ESA and international treaties protect endangered marine reptiles and mammals Challenges to protecting marine species
Limited knowledge of species Difficulty in monitoring and enforcing treaties open oceans

Sea Turtles Threatened

Six species critically endangered Loss or degradation of habitat Illegal harvest of eggs Threats from fishing methods Protection measures have helped

Fig. 8-18, p. 171

The Precautionary Principle

When substantial preliminary evidence indicates an activity could harm humans or the environment, we should take precautionary measures to prevent or reduce the harm Do even if cause-and-effect relationships are not yet clearly established Better safe than sorry

Three Big Ideas from This Chapter - #1

We are greatly increasing the premature extinction of wild species by destroying and degrading their habitats, introducing harmful invasive species, and increasing human population growth, pollution, contributing to projected climate change, and over-exploitation.

Three Big Ideas from This Chapter - #2

We should prevent the premature extinction of wild species because of the economic and ecological services they provide and because they have a right to exist regardless of their usefulness to us.

Three Big Ideas from This Chapter - #3

We can work to prevent the premature extinction of species and to protect overall biodiversity by using laws and treaties, protecting wildlife sanctuaries, and making greater use of the precautionary principle.