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Chapter 18: conservation of biodiversity. Sarah Blythe and Christina Reilly. Introduction: Modern conservation legacies. Decreasing biodiversity Sixth mass extinction Causes Human activity: habitat destruction, overharvesting Response Interest in conserving biodiversity Political effort

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chapter 18 conservation of biodiversity

Chapter 18: conservation of biodiversity

Sarah Blythe and Christina Reilly

introduction modern conservation legacies
Introduction: Modern conservation legacies
  • Decreasing biodiversity
  • Sixth mass extinction
    • Causes
      • Human activity: habitat destruction, overharvesting
    • Response
      • Interest in conserving biodiversity
    • Political effort
      • Grant: Yellowstone National Park
      • Obama: Alaskan coastline critical habitat
      • Bush: Hawaiian marine habitats
sixth mass extinction
Sixth mass extinction
  • Why should we care?
    • Instrumental and Intrinsic values
  • Extinction
    • Occurs when last member of a species dies
    • 50,000 extinction per year (.5% of world’s species)
  • First since humans have existed
  • Short amount of time
global declines in genetic diversity of wild organisms
Global declines in genetic diversity of wild organisms
  • Conserving Genetic Diversity
    • Low population diversity
      • Not as well suited to change
      • Prone to inbreeding depression
        • Florida Panther, cheetah
      • Mutations more likely to spread
global declines in the genetic diversity of livestock crops
Global declines in the genetic diversity of livestock crops
  • Majority: Mammals and Birds
    • Donkeys, Buffalo, Cattle, Goats, Horses, Pigs, Sheep, Chicken, Ducks, Geese, Turkey
    • Trying to breed same traits for every animal, loss of genetic diversity
  • Endangered
    • Serious risk of extinction
    • 80% of domesticated animals either declining or facing extinction
  • Planting fewer varieties of crops leads to crop loss if environment changes
    • 1970’s- fungus kills half of corn fields in southern US
  • Solutions
    • Seed Storage Facilities (Svalbard Global Seed Vault)
global declines in species diversity
Global declines in species diversity
  • International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
    • Classifications
      • Data deficient
      • Extinct
      • Threatened
      • Near-threatened
      • Least Concern
  • Estimated 10 million species on earth
global declines in ecosystem function
Global declines in ecosystem function
  • Ecosystems provide valuable services
    • Lumber, food crops, prescription drugs
    • Pollinate crops, filter drinking water
  • Decline in species diversity associated with decline in ecosystems’ abilities to function
  • Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
    • 2006- 15 of 24 ecosystem functions in decline
declining biodiversity has many causes
Declining biodiversity has many causes
  • Causes
    • Habitat loss
    • Intrusion of alien species
    • Overharvesting
    • Pollution
    • Climate Change
habitat loss
Habitat loss
  • Causes
    • Human development
    • Deforestation
  • Species with narrow range of tolerance
    • More prone to population declines
  • Stats
    • 70% woodland/shrubland ecosystem bordering Mediterranean Sea has been lost
    • 50% grassland habitats lost
    • 30% desert habitats lost
    • Less than half of wetlands that existed in 1600’s
    • Only 10% live coral (2002)
  • Smaller habitat
    • Less genetic diversity
    • More interactions with predators
    • Restrict movement of migratory species
alien species
Alien species
  • Native species
    • live in historical range for thousands to millions of years
  • Alien/Exotic Species
    • live outside historical range
    • Animals, plants, or pathogens
  • Causes
    • Accidental Movement
      • Shipping containers (Madagascar)
  • Not all are threat to biodiversity
  • Invasive species
    • When alien species rapidly spread across large areas
      • No natural enemies
  • Solutions
    • Inspection of imported goods
    • Prohibition of untreated wooden packing crates
overharvesting
Overharvesting
  • Overharvesting
    • Individuals removed faster than can be replaced
    • Hunting, fishing, and poaching
    • Bison, passenger pigeon, dodo
  • Regulations
    • Restrict hunting and fishing of game animals at certain times of year
    • Limit number of animals to be harvested
    • Still illegal poaching of large fur animals
plant and animal trade
plant and animal trade
  • Trade is serious threat to ability to persist in nature
  • Regulation
    • Lacey Act 1900- prohibited transport of illegally harvested animals across state lines
    • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
    • IUCN
pollution
pollution
  • Toxic Contaminants
    • Pesticides, heavy metals, oil spills, and acids
      • BP
    • Endocrine Destruction
      • Prevent or inhibit reproduction, but not lethal
  • Eutrophication
    • Algal blooms
  • Thermal Pollution
climate change
Climate change
  • Affects temperature and precipitation
    • Some species not able to adapt to new conditions
the conservation of biodiversity often focuses on single species
The conservation of biodiversity often focuses on single species
  • One species at a time
  • When species is threatened or endangered
    • Try to improve conditions where it exists
      • Additional habitat
      • Reduce presence of contaminants
  • Captive Breeding (zoos)
    • Bred with intention of returning species to wild
conservation legislation
Conservation Legislation
  • Marine Mammal Protection act 1972
    • Prohibits killing of all marine mammals in US
    • Prohibits import/export of marine mammal body parts
  • Endangered Species act 1973
    • Prohibits harming of threatened/endangered species
    • Allows government to purchase habitat critical to conservation of threatened/endangered species
    • Develop recovery plans to increase population
    • Controversy- restricts human activities in these areas; politicians try to weaken act
the convention on biological diversity
The convention on biological diversity
  • 1992- International treaty to help protect biodiversity
    • Objectives
      • Conserve biodiversity
      • Sustainably use biodiversity
      • Share benefits of commercial use of genetic resources
  • Identified Trends (2002-2010)
    • One quarter of plant species threatened with extinction
    • Natural habitats are smaller and more fragmented
    • Ecological footprint of humans has increased
    • Genetic diversity of crops and livestock still declining
the conservation of biodiversity sometimes focuses on protecting entire ecosystems
The conservation of biodiversity sometimes focuses on protecting entire ecosystems
  • Reasons for Conservation
    • Aesthetic beauty
    • Communities of organisms
  • Amount of protected land has dramatically increased since 1960
  • Factors to take into consideration
    • Size
    • Shape
      • Edge habitat: two different communities come together
    • Connectedness
  • Biosphere reserves
    • Protected areas with of zones that vary in amount of human impact
    • Preserves biodiversity without excluding all human activity
    • 464 in world
working towards sustainability
Working towards sustainability
  • Preserving biodiversity is expensive
  • Indirect costs (externalities)
    • Income loss from not using land/resources
    • Cost of maintaining protected area
  • Thomas Lovejoy (WWF)
    • Protect large areas of land & improve economic conditions of developing countries
    • Debtor nations can use position to motivate investment in biodiversity conservation
      • Debt transferred to environmental organizations
        • Helps protects country’s biodiversity
  • Conservation efforts in 3 main areas of land
    • Purchase of land
    • Prevention of illegal logging
    • Future grants to protect biodiversity