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Putting Habitat Conservation into a Wider Perspective. Disease and Exotic Species Climate cycles Conservation Costs and Benefits What can we do?? Conservation planning Economics Ethics Remember Habitat is Necessary, but NOT SUFFICIENT To Conserve Most Wildlife in a Human-dominated World.

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putting habitat conservation into a wider perspective
Putting Habitat Conservation into a Wider Perspective
  • Disease and Exotic Species
  • Climate cycles
  • Conservation Costs and Benefits
  • What can we do??
    • Conservation planning
    • Economics
    • Ethics
    • Remember Habitat is Necessary, but NOT SUFFICIENT To Conserve Most Wildlife in a Human-dominated World
chronic wasting disease
Chronic Wasting Disease
  • Misfolding of brain proteins may lead to brain “sponginess” (Prusiner 1982)
      • Not a virus, a protein that warps other proteins
  • Affects deer and elk in US (Williams et al. 2002)
    • 20 years of affect
    • 6% of deer in affected area, 1% of elk
    • Greater effect on ranched wildlife
      • Spread to South Korea
  • Same type of disease as mad cow and Creutzfeldt-Jakob
      • Despite story to contrary there is no evidence that people get it by eating game

Milus 2002

rapid spread of wnv in us
Rapid Spread of WNV in US

Activity in 2006

For more information and current updates: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm


Occurrence of vectors is fairly well known, but the role of particular birds as primary and secondary reservoir hosts versus incidental hosts is poorly known

keys to understanding ecology of wnv
Keys to Understanding Ecology of WNV
  • Vectors
    • Environmental conditions suitable to breeding
      • Temperatures for transmission and overwintering (10 – 20oC)
      • Role of rainfall
    • Movement, biting, and hybridizing behaviors
  • Hosts (>200 birds, reptiles, mammals)
    • Virus-amplifying, primary reservoirs
      • House Finch, American Robin, Ring-billed Gull, House Sparrow
    • Secondary or incidental
      • Incompetent species (Rock Pigeon, Starlings, Many Native Songbirds)
      • Species with high mortality (Corvids, Parids, Raptors)
policy timeline leading to northwest forest plan
Policy timeline leading to Northwest Forest Plan
  • 1970’s- Endangered Species Act (1973) and state efforts to protect Owl
  • 1980’s- Petition to list Owl by Greenworld (1987), Interagency Scientific Committee (1989) leads to Thomas Report in 1990
  • 1990’s- Owl listed as threatened by USFWS (1990), 6.9 million acres critical habitat designated (1991), FEMAT team, forest summit and draft EIS for option 9 (1993)
northwest forest plan
Northwest Forest Plan
  • Functions as recovery plan for N Spotted Owl
  • Incorporates three major management strategies for federal lands within the range of northern spotted owl (~24 mil acres)
    • Late-successional reserves
    • Adaptive management areas
    • Matrix areas
post nw forest plan studies
Post-NW Forest Plan studies
  • Effectiveness monitoring mandated over range of n spotted owl
    • demographic studies, rather than density or presence absence
    • range-wide analysis of population trends- most recent estimate (1985-2003) was that Lambda ranged from 0.896 to 1.005 and was < 1.0 on 12 of 13 study areas (Anthony et al. 2006. Status and trends in demography of northern spotted owls, 1985-2003. Wildlife Monographs 163:1-43).
franklin et al 2000
Franklin, et al. 2000
  • Modeled climate, habitat quality and NS Owl fitness in NW California
  • Found climate explained most temporal variation
  • Spatial variation surprising
    • high survival associated with maximum old forest core areas and edge with other habitat types
    • Reproduction negatively associated with interior old forest, positively associated with edge
  • Concluded that that old forest in a mosaic of other veg types promotes highest fitness

Franklin, A.B., D.R. Anderson, R.J. Gutiérrez, and K.P. Burnham. 2000. Climate, habitat quality, and fitness in northern spotted owl populations in northwestern California. Ecological Monographs 70(4):539-590.

  • WNV is a new source of mortality for NSO
  • WNV is in WA, OR and southern CA
  • Vectors are present in NSO range
  • Amplifying hosts are present in range, but details of relative importance are not well known
  • Many owls are susceptible to WNV
  • Heightened mortality may only last a few years after outbreak
  • Adults may develop immunity after initial exposure to WNV
  • Barred Owls may suffer less than NSO
  • Northern Goshawks may suffer as much as NSO
  • Small mammal prey may indirectly pass WNV to NSO
  • 1. Localized centers of increased owl mortality for 1 – 2 years after outbreak; juvenile mortality increased where virus exists; increase in Barred Owls is offset by reduction in NSO predators
    • range-wide population viability remains intact
      • Shown by common raptors in east and midwest
  • 2. Localized centers of increased owl mortality for 1 – 2 years after outbreak; continued high mortality of juveniles without resistance; increased competition from less affected Barred Owls is greater than reduction in predators
    • Range-wide population viability erodes
      • Long-lived species with low reproductive output are sensitive to increased mortality
      • Rare species may already be in an “extinction vortex” and each additional reduction of viability is disproportionately severe.

Spread of barred owl

  • First record eastern WA-1965
  • First record western WA-1973
  • First occurrence and breeding Olympic Peninsula-1985
  • Causes?

Gremel, S. 2005. The Influence of Barred Owls on Spotted Owls in Olympic National Park. MSc. Thesis. University of Washington.


Population Changes Become Community Changes

    • Outcomes are set by the interaction between intrinsic density dependence and extrinsic density independent processes like climate

(Stenseth et al. 2002)

lack of prey and increased movement lead to lower reproduction and survivorship
Lack of prey and increased movement lead to lower reproduction and survivorship

La Nina

costs and benefits
Costs and Benefits
  • Clearing Zebra mussels from blocked intake pipes –$3.1 B/10 years (Vitousek et al. 1996)
  • Golden apple snail in Philipines -$27.8-45.3 M in 1990 (Vitousek et al. 1996)
  • Lost farm production, need for new pesticides, drug resistance-$33-50B/year (Palumbi 2001)
  • Invasives in US -$1.1-137 B/year (Chapin et al. 2000)
  • Loss of Passenger Pigeons –Increase in lyme disease (Chapin et al. 2000)
  • TOTAL VALUE of ecosystem services to EARTH~38Trillion/year (Balmford et al. 2002, Costanza et al. 1997)

(Chapin et al 2000)


Case Studies

  • Intensive resource use has greatest short-term, private (individual) benefits
  • But this does not account for subsidies or non-marketed, global and local externalities that benefit society
    • Recreation, carbon sequestration, natural resources, biodiversity, flood protection
  • Accounting for all benefits finds a mean loss of 55% of total economic value by conversion

(Balmford et al 2002)

estimating global costs of habitat loss and habitat preservation
Estimating Global Costs Of Habitat Loss and Habitat Preservation
  • Annual rate of habitat conversion (1.2%) costs $250 B / yr (Balmford et al. 2002)
  • Perverse Subsidies
    • German support for coal mining; US petrol costs, Ag subsidies, Fisheries subsidies,
    • $950-1950 B / yr (Myers 1998; Balmford et al. 2002)
    • $2,000 /year paid by average American
  • Global Reserve System
    • 30-45 B / yr (current budget is $6.5 B / yr) (Wilson 2002, Balmford et al. 2002)
      • Using “hot spot” priorities could protect 70% of diversity

44% of all vascular plants and 35% of vertebrates are confined to 25 hotspots comprising 1.4% of Earth

(Myers et al. 2000)

what to do
What To Do?
  • End Subsidies
    • Diverting 5% would pay the habitat bill
  • Global Treaties
    • Montreal Protocol
      • CFCs
    • Kyoto
      • CO2
    • Rio
      • Biodiversity
    • International Peace Parks (Korean DMZ)
  • Incentives and compensation
    • Credits, premium pricing for certification
  • Ethics, Morals, Values

(1170 plants, 83 fish, endangered birds, 67% of Korean mammals {51 sp}; Kim 1997)

(Balmford et al 2002, Wilson 2002, Ferraro and Kiss 2002)


Direct May be Better

    • People respond to immediate, selfish needs
  • Couple with long-term change in subsidies and longer-term change in morals

(Ferraro and Kiss 2002)


Leopold’s Land Ethic


  • Conservation is getting nowhere because it is incompatible with our Abrahamic concept of land.
  • We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us.
  • That land is a community is the basic concept of ecology, but that land is to be loved and respected is an extension of ethics.


(Leopold 1948)

science ethics and nature
Science, Ethics, and Nature

The problem for the environment is that the nearly 12 billion feet busy trampling the life out of ecosystems belong to the most uncontroversial deservers of moral value.

(Nash 1990 in Agar 2001)

life s intrinsic value and the burden of a biocentric moral position
Life’s Intrinsic Value and The Burden of a Biocentric Moral Position

Biocentrism finds some degree of intrinsic value in every living thing, which bestows moral protection to nature and also has room for high human value.

(Agar 2001)




Medicine /








Economic, Ecological, Social Costs

(Modified from Vitousek et al. 1996 to include Palumbi 2001)