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Restoration Ecology. Key terms. Intervention Mitigation Reallocation Reclamation Re-creation Rehabilitation Remediation Restoration. Characteristics of Species Prone To Extinction. The 6 th Mass Extinction. Estimate: 50,000 species per year

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key terms
Key terms
  • Intervention
  • Mitigation
  • Reallocation
  • Reclamation
  • Re-creation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Remediation
  • Restoration
the 6 th mass extinction
The 6th Mass Extinction
  • Estimate: 50,000 species per year
  • Global declines in genetic diversity of wildlife seen; leads to inbreeding depression
  • Global declines in genetic diversity of crops/livestock
  • Global declines in species diversity
  • Global declines in ecosystem function
causes of declining biodiversity
Causes of Declining Biodiversity
  • Loss of Habitat
  • Alien species (non-native/exotic) if they spread rapidly, → Invasive
  • Population
  • Pollution
  • Climate change
  • Overharvesting
helping nature heal
Helping Nature Heal
  • Humans have disturbed and degraded nature for as long as we have existed
  • We are able to repair some of the damage (ecological restoration)
  • Recovery: linked to the idea “natural climax community will return if we leave it alone”
  • Modern Ecology: this may not be the case (random process)
helping nature heal1
Helping Nature Heal
  • Aims of restoration driven by human values (beauty, recreation, utility) rather than science
  • General principles of restoration are drawn from ecology, hydrology, soil science, etc.
  • Most influential American forester: Gifford Pinchot*
  • Another pioneer: Aldo Leopold
gifford pinchot
Gifford Pinchot
  • Introduced selective harvest and replanting of choice tree species
  • This increased the value of the forest
  • Also produced a sustainable harvest
  • First head of U.S. Forest Service
habitat destruction
Habitat Destruction
  • Deforestation is the greatest eliminator of species,) followed by coral reefs & wetlands
  • Fragmentation (roads, logging, agriculture)
  • Increase vulnerability
  • Changes migratory patterns (buildings, etc.)
  • Case Study: Birds as indicators (p 195 – 197)
laws and treaties
Laws and Treaties
  • Lacey Act, 1900; many amendments; forbids interstate trade of illegally harvested plants and animals
  • Convention on International Trade in endangered Species (CITES), 1975; 175 countries
  • Marine Mammal Protection Act, 1972
laws and treaties1
Laws and Treaties
  • Endangered Species Act, 1973; amended in ‘82, ‘85, ‘88
  • ESA implements CITES agreement
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service is main overseer
  • Controversial at times; spotted owl v. logging in NW US during 1990s
laws and treaties2
Laws and Treaties

Convention on Biological Diversity (1992)

  • Conserve biodiversity
  • Sustainably use biodiversity
  • Share the benefits that emerge (ex – pharma-ceuticals)
other methods
Other Methods
  • Wildlife refuges
  • Gene/seed banks
  • Botanical gardens
  • Wildlife farms
  • Zoos and aquariums
nature can be resilient
Nature Can Be Resilient
  • First step in restoration: stop whatever is causing the damage
  • Ex. – prohibiting logging, mining, etc., may be enough to allow nature to heal by itself
  • Sometimes rebuilding populations of native plants and animals is a simple process of restocking breeding individuals to an area
video focus questions forest fires
Video Focus Questions: Forest Fires
  • Climate impact on frequency, intensity of fires
  • Human impact on frequency, intensity of fires
  • Natural recovery from fires
  • Restoration efforts
  • Importance of forests
forest restoration
Forest Restoration
  • Lumber companies routinely replant forests that they have harvested
  • Mechanical restoration results in a monoculture of uniformly placed trees
  • Japan was almost completely deforested at the end of WWII, now more than 60% is forested
  • Today: Largest reforestation in China; 50 billion trees have been planted over the past 50 years
forest restoration1
Forest Restoration
  • Urban planting important
  • 2007: UN announced “billion tree campaign”
  • Historically, fire has been important in controlling vegetation in savannas
  • Settlers eliminated fire and grazing by native animals → shrub and tree growth
  • Accumulated veg. is cleared before fires are started; herbicides prevent re-growth
forest restoration2
Forest Restoration
  • Sequoia National Park: 70 years of fire suppression → dense undergrowth → more fuel for destructive fires
prairie restoration
Prairie Restoration
  • Before European settlement, prairies covered most of the middle U.S.
  • Tall-grass: eastern edge of the Great Plains. Less than 2% remains
  • Fire is also crucial for prairie restoration; kills many weedy species and removes nutrients (esp. N)
  • The Nature Conservancy has established many preserves to protect tallgrass prairies
prairie restoration1
Prairie Restoration
  • Huge areas of short-grass prairie are being preserved
  • Bison help maintain prairies; with fire, an important tool in restoration
wetland and stream restoration
Wetland and Stream Restoration
  • Wetlands occupy < 5% of US land; 1/3 of all endangered species spend at least part of their lives in wetlands
  • Until recently governments encouraged drainage for development
  • 1972 Clean Water Act began protecting streams and wetlands by requiring discharge permits for dumping waste into sfc waters
wetland and stream restoration1
Wetland and Stream Restoration
  • For wetlands, sometimes all that’s needed is to stop destructive forces
  • The Everglades is a fresh water river that comes from springs that has been diverted, causing 90% of wading birds to be lost
  • It is hoped that by restoring the former flow will allow the biological community to recover
wetland and stream restoration2
Wetland and Stream Restoration
  • The Chesapeake Bay is a drowned river valley with fresh and salty water mixing
  • Overfishing, sewerage discharge, silt, heavy metals, toxic chemicals from industry and agriculture, oil spills and habitat destruction are causing a loss of productive fisheries
  • Restoration = minimal success
wetland and stream restoration3
Wetland and Stream Restoration
  • Cities: artificial wetlands provide a low-cost way to filter sewerage
  • Stabilizing stream banks, stopping pollution, controlling invasive species, preventing erosion are restoring streams
  • Remediation means finding remedies from problems involving noninvasive techniques
  • Reclamation implies using intense physical or chemical methods to repair ecosystems