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Sustaining Biodiversity: The Ecosystem Approach

Chapter 6

Biodiversity - Defined
Speciation Extinction = Biodiversity
Raw genetic material for further evolution

Highest diversity occurs when there is enough disturbance to prevent the dominant competitors from taking over, but not so much that the community is unable to develop.

Human Activities and Biodiversity

Habitat Loss and Degradation

Greatest threat to species diversity HIPPO
Habitat destruction Invasive species Population (humans) growth Pollution Over-harvesting

Rate = 80 million new people/year + New York City every month + Germany every year + United States every 3.7 years

Biodiversity is affected by human population size and resource use



Economic production and consumption


Global Biodiversity Status





5% of our virgin forests remain uncut

2% of our native grasslands are left in their native state

15% of our redwood forests are old growth

Less than 50% of our wetlands remain

Their existence being deemed less important than others

Open Season On Wetlands Destruction Begins Menards filling wetlands for new store

In Puget Sound, we have lost 70% of our estuaries to farms and development

Over 800 miles of Puget Sound shoreline has been armed with bulkheads.

Importance of Biodiversity
Intrinsic value right to exist, to have evolved means they have important roles Instrumental value because of their use to us Existence value knowing it exists Aesthetic value wildlife viewing Bequest value willing to pay for its existence

Solutions for Protecting Biodiversity

Types of US Public Lands

Multiple-use lands: National Forests; National Resource Lands (BLM) Moderately-restricted use lands: National Wildlife Refuges Restricted-use lands: National Park System; National Wilderness Preservation System

US Public Lands

Fig. 11-6 p. 198

Managing US Public Land

Conservation biologists support: Biodiversity and ecological function No subsidies or tax breaks for use Public should get fair compensation Users held responsible for actions Developers and Resource Extractors Support: Sell public land Cut funding to administer lands Cut old growth forests Drill in the Artic Refuge

Ecological and economic services of forests



Logging in U.S. National Forests and other publicly owned lands


Helps meet countrys timber needs Cut areas grow back Keeps lumber and paper prices down Provides jobs in nearby communities Promotes economic growth in nearby communities

Provides only 4% of timber needs Ample private forest land to meet timber needs Has little effect on timber and paper prices Damages nearby rivers and fisheries Recreation in national forests provides more local jobs and income for local communities than logging Decreases recreational opportunities

Clear cutting our forests: Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages Higher timber yields Maximum economic return in shortest time Can reforest with genetically improved fast-growing trees

Trade-Offs Clear-Cutting Forests

Disadvantages Reduces biodiversity Disrupts ecosystem processes

Destroys and fragments some wildlife habitats

Leaves moderate to large openings

Short time to establish new stand of trees

Needs less skill and planning Best way to harvest tree plantations Good for tree species needing full or moderate sunlight for growth

Increases soil erosion

Increases sediment water pollution and flooding when done on steep slopes Eliminates most recreational value for several decades

Sustainable Forestry
Several methods can be used to sustain harvests and maintain biodiversity

Longer rotations will provide a more stable ecosystem and greater biodiversity

Selective logging leaves habitat, minimizing disturbance and

Habitat fragmentation and island biogeography

Leave snags and downed logs for cavity nesting animals

Logging roads like this one have dozens of ditches, culverts and other conduits that dump pollution from clear cut and herbicide-sprayed hillsides directly into streams and rivers.

Recent efforts by the forest industry, the tribes and government agency scientists have worked to lessen the impacts of logging roads.

Include ecological services in estimating economic value

Rainforests harbor the greatest gene pool in the world. The rainforest has nurtured this "pool" to become home for 170,000 of the world's 250,000 known plant species.

Tropical Deforestation: Consequences

Rapid and increasing Loss of biodiversity Loss of resources (e.g., medicines) Contributes to global warming

Tropical Deforestation: Causes

Population growth Poverty Environmentally harmful government subsidies (encourage poor to colonize tropical forests) Debts owed to developed countries Low value of ecological services

Managing and Sustaining National Parks

Inadequate protection Often too small to sustain biodiversity Invasions by nonnative species Too many human visitors Traffic jams and air pollution Better pay for park staff

Establishing, Designing, and Managing Nature Reserves

Include moderate to large tracts of land Involve government, private sector and citizens Biosphere reserves Adaptive ecosystem management Protect most important areas (hot spots) Wilderness areas

Ecological Restoration: Basic Principles

Mimic nature Recreate lost niches Rely on pioneer species Control nonnative species Reconnect small patches

Protecting Biodiversity in Washington State

Governor Lockes Executive Order Establishment of the Washington Biodiversity Council
Develop 30-year comprehensive prioritized strategy to protect biodiversity Assess existing and potential landowner incentive program Develop public education and a web site By December 31, 2007

Ecosystem Planning in Washington State

Mitigation banks Growth Management Act Critical Area Ordinances CREP and CRP Marine Protected Areas Eco-regional Assessments for Biodiversity