Sustainability and exploitation question
MEDC, having already cleared a majority of their ecosystems and not dependent on economic activities involving the clearing of natural ecosystems, preserve the right to conserve their natural ecosystems. LEDCs, on the other hand depend on these economic activities. For the long-term, sustainable development of LEDCs, there needs to be a balance between conserving the tropical biomes and using the land to provide income for the local economy.
How can practices in LEDCs be more sustainable while contrinuting to the local economy?
- RILs (reduced impact logging) allowing for regeneration
- promotion of ecotourism as a source of income
What is the purpose of the IUCN red list?
- Identify species for conservation
- Raise awareness about species in need of conservation
- Provide a platform for scientists to collaborate on an extensive list
What are the factors used by IUCN to determine the conservation status of a species?
- Population Size
- Trophic Level (top predators are more prone to extinction due to the 10% energy reduction + reduction of the number of species on a lower trophic level may be catastrophic)
- Reduction in population size
- Degree of Specialization
- Geographic range
- Reproductive potential and behavior (rhinos are prone to extinction as their reproduction rates are lower)
- Degree of fragmentation (sumatran rhino is fragmented in the tropical forest in south east asia due to deforestation led to their extinction)
- Quality of habitat (poorer quality means less likely to survive, tuz golu)
What kind of species is more prone to extinction?
Any plant or animal which is rare, specialized, have a restricted distribution, with low reproductive potential and on the top of the food chain is prone to extinction.
Example for species under threat?
The indri in Madagascar is a primate threatened by habitat depletion (to supply fuel and timber, slash-burn agriculture)
Case history of an extinct species?
- Falkland islands wolf
- Top predator feeding on birds, insects, seashore scavenging
- Threatened sheep and was rapidly exterminated through poisoning and shooting
- Was not particularly threatening or a significant predator, however an increase in the population of the prey was observed.
Case history of a critically endangered species?
- Siau Island Tarsier
- The species is an endemic primate found in Siau Island, Indonesia. The species is critically endangered with a decreasing population size trend (80% in the last 3 generations) due to its highly specialized habitat (a single small volcanic island), habitat depletion, volcanic activity and human disturbance. The species is important for the pollination and seed dispersal of the habitat. The species also holds economic value, as it is a food, trade and ecotourism source for the local population. Although the species is listed as one of the world’s 25 most endangered primates, no conservation efforts are present at the moment.
Case history of improved because of intervention?
- American bald eagle
- Top predator feeding on fish, mice, rodents, ducks, rabbits, snakes)
- Habitat destruction, hunting, poisons and pollutants, DDT pesticides (thinning of eagle eggs)
- Legislation against hunting bald eagles and ban on DDT saved the species from extinction.
What are the arguments for preserving biodiversity?
- Aesthetic: provides emotional and aesthetic feelings to humans
- Scientific: anti-academic to deplete the source of knowledge for biology
- Ecological: high biodiversity means resilience, the importance of species is unknown and thus they must be preserved
- Economic: genetic diversity will be able to provide desirable traits for crops in the future, sustainable resource for timber and oil if used properly (rosy periwinkle, endemic species in madagascar is used for cancer treatment)
- Social: they provide income and life to indigenous people and hold importance in their cultures
- Ethical: Species have the right to live, future generations have the right to live
Differences between IGOs and NGOs?
- Use of media: NGOs rely on media attention, thus more controversial media actions are taken (protests and campaigns), charismatic species are used. IGOs use the media to communicate the decisions and progress made.
- Speed of response: NGOs are quicker to respond. The amount of bureaucracy slows the speed the of response of IGOs
- Political pressures: The decisions of NGOs may be idealistic, whereas IGOs may not make the optimum decision for ecological preservation due to immense political pressure by member states.
- Public Image: NGOs may be confrontational and radical, whereas IGOs enforce decisions via laws which may be authoritarian.
- Agenda: NGOs raise awareness, put pressure on governments and lobby. IGOs make legislation and implement treaties.
- Funding: IGOs receive funding from national budget and use public lands. NGOs get funding from private donors (which may skew the decisions made)
- IGOs have both local and global impact. NGOs tend to have local / national impact.
Similarities between IGOs and NGOs?
Both collaborate in raising awareness, research projects and making sure that things are implemented.
What is In Situ and Ex Situ conservation?
- In situ: species based conservation in its natural habitat
- Ex situ: species based conservation outside of its habitat (botanical gardens, zoos)
How to design protected areas (habitat based protection)?
- Larger is better (less edge effect, more species, more diversity, allows for migration.
- One large is better than multiple small (less edge effect, larger populations)
- Closer reserves are better as animals are able to disperse and recolonize in the case of outside disturbance (fire, disease)
- Corridors are important for migration, gene flow. However they have disadvantages as well (edge effect, pathways for poachers)
- Round is better due to less edge effect and inaccessible center
What are edge effects?
Due to different abiotic conditions than the center (more wind, less humidity, warmer) different species are attracted to the edges, leading to competition with exotic species and the reduction of overall diversity.
Why are buffer zones needed?
They minimize outside disturbance (people, agriculture, invasion of pests)
What are some strategies of species based conservation?
- Captive breeding and reintroduction programmes
- Flagship species (orangutans)
- Keystone species (california sea otter)
What is CITES?
- The convention on international trade in endangered species.
- Established to ensure that international trade of plants and animals is sustainable. Endangered animals are under article 1 and it is strictly illegal to trade them.
- Membership of CITES is voluntary. Each member state adopts legislation at a national level.
Flagship species vs. Keystone species?
- Flagship species are charismatic and iconic species used as the face of campaigns to raise public awareness. Although working with flagship species is at the expense of other species that may need awareness, the protection of the flagship species can raise funds to protect other less attractive animals and the protection of the habitat of the flagship species will also protect the species living in the area.
- Keystone species are vital for the continuation of the ecosystem, without which the ecosystem would collapse. Determining keystone species is hard, and thus we must protect the entire ecosystem.
Advantages of CITES?
- Can protect many species
- Signed by many countries
- Works across borders (needed for international trade)
- Legally binding
Disadvantages of CITES?
- Implementation varies
- Difficult to enforce
- There is no funding, it’s up to the countries to fund the implementation
Advantages of zoos?
- Raises public awareness
- Sustainable funding
- Allows controlled breeding for animals needing quarantine
- Allows research
Disadvantages of zoos?
- Habitat is destroyed during ex situ conservation
- Reintroduction of species into the wild is hard
- May not have optimal conditions with insufficient funding
Species based x habitat based?
- Strength of species based is that it costs less and attracts more attention. The weakness of species based is that the habitat is destroyed in the process.
- The strength of habitat based is that the entire ecosystem is protected, the ecosystem may be closely researched. However they require funding and political support, and areas may become isolated islands where a loss of biodiversity would occur.
A mixed approach to conservation?
Sichuan giant panda reserve, chengdu panda base + chengdu zoo, bejing zoo and 51 other zoos. (raises awareness, protects the habitat, successful reintroduction)
What is evolution?
- Cumulative, gradual change in the genetic composition of species over many successive generations largely through the mechanism of natural selection.
- Population produce more offspring than the environment can support
- There is variation between the members of a species
- Those that can adapt to environmental change / those that are fitter survive and pass their genes to the next generation
What is gene pool?
All different types of genes inherited by every individual of a species.
What is adaptive radiation?
Rapid evolutionary diversification of a single evolutionary line. (when a single species occupies a variety of different environmental conditions such as after mass extinctions)
What is Speciation?
- Formation of a new species when populations of a species become isolated and evolve differently
- Geographic isolation (sea level fluctuations, rift valleys, mountain ranges)
- Behavioral isolation (differences in courtship, changes in appearance)
- Reproductive isolation (anatomical difference, genetic difference)
What are plate tectonics?
- Movement, forming and reforming of tectonic plates.
- Can lead to isolation (lemurs on madagascar) or land bridges (caribou and reindeer in alaska and siberia) can generate new habitats (japan, galapagos)
- Which promotes biodiversity due to variation in climate and food reserves.
- Subduction of oceanic crust under continental crust
- Thickening of crust or island arcs (new zealand
- 2) subduction of oceanic crust under oceanic crust (japan, hawaii) volcanic activity causes islands to form
- 3) collision of continental plates (himalaya and mountain ranges)
Continental valleys moving apart (creates large lakes, rising magma may create islands like iceland)
Two plates move sideways, leading to earthquakes like san francisco
What causes mass extinctions?
- Tectonic movements
- Super volcanic eruptions
- Climatic changes
- Atmospheric changes
What are the consequences of mass extinctions?
- Adaptive radiation
- New directions in evolution
- Increased biodiversity
What are mass extinctions?
Periods in which at least 75% of the total number of species on earth get wiped out.
What are the causes of biodiversity depletion?
- Natural causes: volcanoes, draughts, ice age, meteor impact)
- Human causes (habitat destruction, invasive species, pollution, overharvesting and hunting)
What are the threats to tropical biomes?
- Tropical biomes are biodiversity hotspots that support many different niches.
- They prevent soil erosion, nutrient loss, function as carbon sinks and are a vital part of the water cycle.
- Deforestation and forest degradation driven many by demand for timber and biofuel (oil and soya palm) lead to logging or slash and burn agriculture.
- The tropical soil is low in nutrients, which make sit hard for tropical biomes to regenerate and succession is mostly arrested.
- Poverty, exploitative government policies, mining, cattle ranching, oil drilling
- Habitat destruction,
- Invasive species
- Population growth
- Climate change
How do we judge the success of a conservation area?
- Local involvement
- Enforcement (10 year sentence since 1987 for hunting pandas)
- Maximize natural income
- Minimize change to traditional ways
- Minimizing costs
- Environmental education
- Preserve sufficient population size
- Total number (total number-1)
- Divided by sum of number in single species(number-1)
- Measures are relative, same sampling method must be used
- High D better for conservation, more stable
- Low D worse for conservation, pollution or agricultural practices (or simply the nature of the biome)
- Sample size and sampling technique affect the index, similar areas with similar populations must be compared
What is biodiversity>
Variability of a community, ecosystem or biome at the species, habitat or genetic level.
Different kinds of biodiversity?
- Species diversity (richness and evenness of species)
- Habitat diversity
- Genetic diversity
- The conservation of habitat diversity usually leads to the conservation of species and genetic diversity
Why is the quantification of biodiversity important?
- Determines whether a specific human activity is sustainable.
- Determines areas for conservation and research,’
- What are hotspots?
- Areas of high diversity, containing large numbers of endemic species (galapagos islands)
The species richness is not an accurate method to determine diversity.
The species richness of a logged forest is higher than that of a primary forest (invasion by species in the area)
- estimates population size
- caught in first x caught in second over marked in second