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Restoration Ecology
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  1. Restoration Ecology

  2. Key terms • Intervention • Mitigation • Reallocation • Reclamation • Re-creation • Rehabilitation • Remediation • Restoration

  3. Characteristics of Species Prone To Extinction

  4. 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

  5. The 6th Mass Extinction

  6. Causes of Declining Biodiversity • Loss of Habitat • Alien species (non-native/exotic) if they spread rapidly, → Invasive • Population • Pollution • Climate change • Overharvesting

  7. Habitat

  8. Invasive Species

  9. Population

  10. Pollution

  11. Climate Change

  12. Overharvesting

  13. 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)

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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)

  17. Invasive Species

  18. Invasive Species

  19. Conservation of biodiversity focusing on species

  20. 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

  21. 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

  22. Laws and Treaties Convention on Biological Diversity (1992) • Conserve biodiversity • Sustainably use biodiversity • Share the benefits that emerge (ex – pharma-ceuticals)

  23. Other Methods • Wildlife refuges • Gene/seed banks • Botanical gardens • Wildlife farms • Zoos and aquariums

  24. 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

  25. 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

  26. Conservation of biodiversity focusing on ecosystems

  27. 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

  28. 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

  29. Forest Restoration • Sequoia National Park: 70 years of fire suppression → dense undergrowth → more fuel for destructive fires

  30. 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

  31. Prairie Restoration • Huge areas of short-grass prairie are being preserved • Bison help maintain prairies; with fire, an important tool in restoration

  32. 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

  33. 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

  34. 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

  35. 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