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Conservation and Biodiversity
Terms in this set (189)
A set of interacting species in a particular habitat.
Interaction between the communities and the physical environment.
Conditions of the site occupied by a population, community or organisms.
The resources a species must exploit for growth and reproduction.
Any component of the niche that restricts population size.
Organisms that obtain their energy from the same type of source occupy the same trophic level.
Each feeding level within an ecosystem represents a trophic level.
What are the tropic levels?
1. Primary Producers - photosynthetic species
2. Primary Consumers - Herbivores
3. Secondary Consumers - Predators or Carnivores
4. Detritivores - Decomposers
Remains of dead plants and animals
Eats detritus and includes fungi and bacteria.
Important in recycling nutrients back to the inorganic nutrient pool.
Loss of Energy between Trophic Levels?
This explains why food chains seldom exceed 4-5 links.
90% of the energy is lost when transferred from one trophic level to the next.
This is because respiration is not 100% efficient - much of the energy is lost as heat.
How many acres of grassland on the African Plain does it take to convert enough CO2 into plant matter to support one gazelle?
Globally, how many tons of carbon is fixed (converted to carbohydrates) by plants per year?
More than 10 Billion tons
Net Primary Productivity (NPP)
The total amount of solar energy converted into biochemical energy through plant photosynthesis, minus the energy needed by those plants for their own life processes.
One way of analyzing carrying capacity of the earth.
Represents the total food resource on earth.
Two species benefit from interaction
Examples of Mutualism
Best example is between ants and acacia trees in Central America:
Ants live in hollow thorns on the trees and feed from nectaries on the leaves.
They protect the plant by destroying any plants trying to grow under the tree and attacking any herbivores that attempt to consume the leaves.
-Cleaner Fish and Hosts (Moray Eel gets a clean mouth cleaner fish gets a meal)
-Ants Milking Aphids
-Corals and Algae
Zooxanthellae algae live symbiotically within the coral polyp tissues.
Provide the coral with nutrients for energy (carbohydrates) and enhance calcification.
The host coral polyp in return provides its zooxanthellae with a protected environment to live within and a steady supply of carbon dioxide for its photosynthetic processes.
A complicated association between a species of fungus and a species of either a green algae or a blue-green algae.
An interaction between species that benefits only one of the species involved.
One species benefits at the expense of the other.
Occurs when 2 or more species share a limiting resource.
Animals eating animals.
Animals eating plants.
Parasites feeding on body fluids of host.
Bahamas Coral Reef Study
Scientists were able to isolate some reefs and selectively remove certain fish and their competitors or predators.
Found that the removal of any one species can have ramifications for the whole ecosystem.
The study is relevant to the global problems now being experienced in many commercial fisheries because many of the fish species most commonly targeted are marine predators.
Without predation, a fish species can increase its population to an unsupportable size.
Example of Removing Predators
The damselfish build nests for eggs by removing coral tissues, particularly staghorn coral. When lincod are over harvested, damselfish populations explode without predation and devastate coral populations.
2013 PLoS One Study
Showed that increasing numbers of mid-level predators, such as snappers, and a reduction in the number of herbivores, such as parrotfishes. The parrotfishes are very important to coral reef health because they eat the algae that would otherwise overwhelm young corals on reefs recovering from natural disturbances.
The findings indicate that reefs depleted of sharks may be slower to recover from longer-term disturbances, including cyclones and bleaching events.
What is the percentage of large fish currently left in the sea?
Only 10% and this includes tune, grouper, swordfish, marlin, cod, halibut, skates and flounder.
New England's Cod
January 2013 the fishery management officials announced drastic cuts to their quotas.
77% cut from 2012 on cod caught in the Gulf of Maine and a 61% cut for cod taken from Georges Bank, the two distinct fisheries where most New England cod is harvested.
Cod populations have become so depleted that extreme reductions in harvest are the only way to save the once vibrant fishery and are in place until 2016.
Population declined 90% since 1978
Population declined 50% since 1978
Swordfish in the North Atlantic
In the last 20 years, they have declined 70%
Fins are now among the world's most expensive fisheries products.
In Hong Kong, shark fin soup can fetch almost $100 for a single serving.
Scientists estimate that up to 100 million sharks are killed each year, solely for their fins.
Scalloped hammerheads become fist shark species on the U.S. Endangered Species List in 2014.
Two distinct population segments are now listed as threatened and two are listed as endangered by the National Marine Fisheries Service.
What is overfished?
Tuna, Atlantic Cod, Atlantic Sea Scallops, Black Sea Bass, Monkfish, Redfish, Swordfish, Winter Flounder, Sturgeon and Grouper.
Species that play a disproportionately large role in the community.
Their very presence contributes to a diversity of life and whose extinction would consequently lead to the extinction of other forms of life.
More than 200 other wildlife species have been observed on or near prairie dog colonies and this depends on where they find prairie dogs as a food source or for their habitat.
Their burrows act as homes for burrowing owls, badgers, rabbits, black-footed ferrets, snakes, salamanders and insects.
Their burrowing activity works to loosen and churn up the soil, increasing its ability to sustain plant life.
Their foraging and feeding practices enable a more nutritious, diverse and nitrogen-rich mixture of grasses and forbs to grow.
Black-Tailed Prairie Dogs
Critical food source for such animals as the endangered black-footed ferret, swift fox, coyotes, hawks, eagles and badgers.
Other Consequences of Loss of Keystone Species
Loss of a pollinator
Extinction of the plant species
Extinction of insect species that require the plant
Wolf, Elk, Aspen Scenerio
Wolf eats elk --> Elk eats aspen --> defoliates trees --> loss of shade warms streams --> trouts die
A species that can be used as a surrogate for the health/status of the entire community.
Tends to need a lot of area and if it is doing well, then it could be assumed other species would be, too.
A species that provides information about the quality of an area.
Could be rare or a habitat specialist
A biogeographical region and a major regional ecological community characterized by distinctive life forms.
Major ecosystem types that differ from one another in the structure of their dominant vegetation.
The distribution of biomes is strongly influenced by annual temperature and rainfall patterns.
What is precipitation and temperature influenced by?
Latitude, longitude, and altitude.
Occurs along the equator in Central and South America, Africa, Southeast Asia, Caribbean and Pacific Islands.
Annual rainfall, which exceeds 200 cm/yr is generally evenly distributed throughout the year.
Temperature and humidity are relatively high through the year.
The world's largest stand of tropical rain forest is the Amazon Rain Forest, in South America. 2.5 million square miles.
Most plants are evergreen with large, dark green, leathery leaves.
Epiphytic orchids and bromeliads, as well as vines (lianas), are very characteristic of the tropical rainforest biome.
50% of the earth's species live in tropical rainforests, making these forests the richest regions on Earth in terms of biological diversity.
Rainforest Diversity Facts
There are approximately 320 butterfly species in all of Europe. Just one park in a Peruvian rainforest, Manu National Park, has 1300 species.
In Panama, scientists discovered fully 80% of the world's currently known beetle species on only 19 trees.
Contains 170,000 of the world's 250,000 known plant species. 1/3 of bird species found in South America.
The plants and soil of tropical forests hold 460-575 billion metric tons of carbon worldwide.
Each acre of tropical forest storing about 180 metric tons of carbon.
Manu National Park
Set new biodiversity record
287 species of reptiles and amphibians, in addition to more than 1, 000 bird species and 1, 200 butterfly species.
The most diverse protected area for reptiles and amphibians anywhere.
Flora is highly diverse. A square kilometer may contain as many as 100 different tree species as compared to 3 or 4 in the temperate zone.
Found near coastlines.
The largest temperate rainforest stretches for over 1,000 miles along the coast of the Pacific Northwest from Oregon to Alaska.
Climatic conditions required to create a temperate rain forest are mild coastal climate, heavy summer fog and very generous rainfall (150 cm/yr).
Dominant plants, tall evergreen trees, Redwood trees to the south, Douglas fir and Sitka spruce to the north.
The biggest trees on Earth here. The tallest tree in the world is a Redwood over a 100 meters in height.
Supports many different types of plants and animals. In contrast to tropical rainforests, the species diversity in the temperate rainforest is fairly low.
Many large mammals, such as elk, moose, deer and carnivores, such as wolves, bear, lynx and wolverines.
Nature and Value of Old-Growth Forests
More than 250 years old
Contains large trees, big fallen logs and large standing snags (dead trees).
With a mixed and multi-layered canopy broken by occasional light-filled gaps, trees may grow up to 100 meters high and over 2 meters in diameter.
At least 118 known vertebrate species live primarily in old-growth forests. 41 of these species cannot nest, breed or forage anywhere else.
They have two classifications: freshwater and marine communities.
They are primarily influenced by light penetration, type of bottom substrate, water temperature and dissolved materials.
Covers 71% of the earth's surface, areas of the open ocean are a vast aquatic desert containing few nutrients and very little life.
Contains over 97% of the earth's water.
The largest store of water is the ocean which delivers water through evaporation and rainfall each day.
Contains 3.5% salt on average.
The temperatures of the oceans strongly affect the world's climate and wind patterns.
Areas of the open ocean are a vast aquatic desert containing few nutrients and very little life.
Marine algae are a major source of oxygen for the world, as well as consuming huge amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Areas of biological abundance in shallow, warm tropical waters.
Lining 60,000 miles of shoreline along 109 countries.
Densely populated with animal life and are one of most diverse and productive biomes on Earth.
Covers less than 0.2% of the ocean's area, they contain 25% of marine fish species.
Each polyp is an individual animal in a colony of coral.
Coral Reefs and Biogeochemical Processes
This includes primary production, carbon and calcium storage, and geological formations that facilitate water flow and upwelling.
Symbiosis on Coral Reefs
Coral polyps and zooxanthellae algae are mutualists.
Coral Reef Decline
An estimated 30% of coral reefs have died in the past 50 years.
An estimated 38% of the reefs in the Florida Keys died between 1996 and 2000.
An estimated 75% of all coral reefs are at risk today.
In areas of the Indian and Pacific Ocean mortality rates have been in the 90% range in past years, mostly from warming waters.
Approximately half of the coral reef ecosystem in U.S. jurisdiction are considered by scientists to be in "poor" or "fair" condition and have declined over time due to several natural and anthropogenic threats.
St. Croix Coral
A 2006 NOAA report calculated that 96% of lettuce coral, 93% of the star coral and nearly 61% of the brain coral in this area had bleached.
Much of the coral had started to recover, but then the weakened colonies were struck by disease, finishing them off.
Threats to the world's coral reefs
Overexploitation and coastal development
Dynamite and cyanide fishing
Sedimentation from farming and deforestation
Bleaching caused by rising ocean temperatures
From CO2 emissions that interferes with calcium carbonate uptake for corals and other marine life with calcium carbonate exoskeletons.
Overexploitation and Coastal Development
8% of the world's population live within 100 km of coral reefs.
Promotes growth of algae that smothers the reef.
Mangrove Forests and Coral Reefs
Strong and direct link exists between the number of fish in coral reefs and the health of nearby mangrove forests.
Provide habitat and also prime nesting and migratory sites for hundreds of bird species.
Provide protected nursery areas for juvenile reef fishes, crustaceans and molluscs.
Support extensive coastal food webs.
Provide shoreline stability.
Makes up only about 5% of land in the US, they support about 190 amphibian species and one-third of all bird species in the country.
Almost 43% of the federally listed threatened and endangered animal species are in some way dependent on wetlands for survival.
A report by NOAA has found that the Tortugas Ecological Reserve, located in the FLorida Keys Marine Sanctuary has benefited from conservation efforts and "no-take" zones.
Key findings of the Marine Sanctuary
1. Overfished species such as black and red grouper, yellowtail and mutton snapper increased in presence, abundance and size inside the reserve and throughout the region.
2. Annual gatherings of spawning mutton snapper, once thought to be wiped out from overfishing, began to reform inside the Reserve.
3. Commercial catches of reef fish in the region increased and continue to do so. Regional commercial or recreational fishers experienced no financial losses.
34 biodiverse areas around the world that cover just 2.3% of Earth's land surface.
Two factors are considered for hotspot designation
Hotspots are regions that harbor a great diversity of endemic species and have been significantly impacted and altered by human activities.
Taxa that have evolved their uniqueness in and are restricted to a particular region.
Qualification as a hotspot?
Supports 1,500 endemic plant species, 0.5 percent of the global total.
Must have lost more than 70% of its original habitat.
Richest and most diverse hotspot on Earth and nearly half of its 40,000 plant species are endemic.
2013 IPCC Report
At least 95% confidence that human-emitted greenhouse gases are responsible for most of the earth's warming since 1951. Scientists were only 90% confident in 2007 and the human contribution to global warming wasn't even mentioned in the first report published in 1990.
Where is Global Warming Going?
Ocean - 93.4%
Atmosphere - 2.3%
Continents - 2.1%
Glaciers and Ice Caps - 0.9%
Arctic Sea Ice - 0.8%
Greenland Ice Sheet - 0.2%
Antarctic Ice Sheet - 0.2%
Atmospheric Greenhouse Gases
Water Vapor - 60%
Carbon Dioxide - 20%
Methane, Nitrous Oxide, Ozone - about 20%
Released to the atmosphere when solid waste, fossil fuels (oil, natural gas, coal) and wood and wood products are burned.
Atmospheric CO2 levels have increased by 40% since the industrial revolution mostly from fossil fuel emissions.
It accounts for over 80% of global warming pollution.
Atmospheric levels of CO2 are now higher than at any time in the past 420,000.
Emitted during the production and transport of coal, natural gas and oil.
Emissions also result from the decomposition of organic wastes in municipal solid waste landfills and the raising of livestock.
Traps over 21 times more heat per molecule than CO2.
Cows and Methane Production
Cows can emit 150 gallons of methane a day into the air.
The cumulative effects of 1.3 billion cattle producing over 100 million tons of methane annually are estimated to produce approximately 15% of the world's total methane.
Emitted during agricultural and industrial activities, as well as during combustion of solid waste and fossil fuels.
Absorbs 270 times more heat per molecule than CO2.
Unnatural Powerful GHGs?
HFCs and PFCs are the most heat-absorbent.
Why are GHG concentrations increasing?
U.S. Energy Consumption by Sector
Buildings - 49%
Industry - 23%
Transportation - 28%
Cumulative CO2 Emissions 1850-2011
United States - 27%
European Union - 25%
Rest of the World - 17%
China - 11%
Russian Federation - 8%
Japan - 4%
India - 3%
Canada - 2%
Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia - 1%
How much of the GHGs does the U.S. emit?
About 1/4th of the total GHGs
Evaporation will increase as the climate warms, increasing average global precipitation.
Warming temperatures will lead to changes in the global water cycle.
Global Water Cycle
Rainfall is increasing in the far northern latitudes during winter, which creates ice that restricts reindeer food supplies.
North American Reindeer - Peary Caribou
Populations hae dropped nearly 85% since the late 1960's from 50,000 to fewer than 7,800 today according to the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
Soil moisture is likely to decline in many regions and intense rainstorms are likely to become more frequent.
Drought and Desertification
Already threatens the livelihood of some 1 billion people in more than 110 countries around the world.
Some 30% of the earth's surface experienced drought in 2002 more than double from the 1970s.
Widespread drying occurred over much of Europe and Asia, Canada, western and southern Africa, and eastern Australia.
As regional temperature increases in the tropics the level of clouds are higher, which effectively dries out these areas
In the northern Great Plains are responsible for breeding 50-80% of the nation's duck population. A drier climate would decrease the amount of open water ponds in this region.
Over the past 150 years, the majority of mountain glaciers monitored have been shrinking.
Scientists predict that, under some plausible warming scenarios, the majority of glaciers will be gone by the year 2100.
Kilimanjaro's glaciers are disappearing. They have lost 82% of their ice since 1912.
Arctic Ocean Meltdown
Arctic Ocean ice has withdrawn far from the shore of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.
Sea ice in the Arctic Circle is about 40% thinner than it was four decades ago.
Relies on ice and if it declines, their ability to hunt will be affected.
Their main food source are seals, who also rely on the ice for rearing their young, so the melting of the ice will affect them as well.
On average, weigh about 15% less than they did 30 years ago.
A recent study by the USGS, estimated that only 43% of their cubs in the southern Beaufort Sea survived their first year during the past five years, compared to a 65% survival rate in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Rising ocean temperatures may be forcing them to abandon their young as they follow the rapidly retreating ice edge north to colder waters to forage. Without their mothers, the calves likely drown or starve.
Increasing temperatures melted the Antarctic pack ice, which are causing their suitable habitat to vanish.
Nearly disappeared from its northernmost sites in the Antarctic.
Population on Anvers Island has declined more than 70% from 16,000 breeding pairs 30 years ago to 3,500 today.
In 2006, the Adelie population on Litchfield Island disappeared.
Predicted to lose sea ice platforms for breeding and face changes in food availability. They highlight impacts of rising sea temperatures and melting sea ice due to climate change.
Emperor, adelie and rockhopper penguins rely on krill as the more important food source than fish, but they are also eaten by whales, seals, fish and birds.
Melting sea ice reduce ice algae which support them.
There has been almost a 90% decrease since 1980.
Indicate a surge of fresh water into the North Atlantic from a melting of northern glaciers could stop the current that sweeps warm waters from the Gulf of Mexico toward Europe.
Ocean Conveyor Belt
This transfers warm, less salty water from the Pacific to the Atlantic as a shallow current and returns cold, more salty water from the Atlantic to the Pacific as a deep current flowing further south. This flow is threatened by melting ice in the Arctic and disruptions off the Antarctic coast.
Brings warm surface water from the tropics up along the US coast and then across to the eastern North Atlantic, where it cools and sinks to the bottom of the sea. The cold bottom water then flows south to the tropics, where it gradually warms, rises to the surface and begins flowing north again.
Fresh, less dense water from melting ice dilutes ocean water and has a more difficult time sinking, slowing the currents. The runoff is warmer and is also less dense, contributing to the problem.
Keeps coastal sea level a meter or a meter and a half lower than the rest of the ocean. In recent years, however, the satellites show that the midpoint of the Gulf Stream doesn't have as high an elevation as it used to and that the edges aren't quite as low.
Sea Level Rise
Warmer temperatures cause melting glaciers and sea ice and increase ocean heat content and cause ocean water to expand.
The models used by the IPCC project that by the end of this century, the global average sea-level will rise between 10 and 32 inches above the 1986-2005 average.
Probably 13 to 19.5 feet higher when temperatures were 5.4 F higher than the present in a period between Ice Ages 125,000 years ago.
Could inundate coastal marshes, forcing coastlines further inland and in many cases, eliminating marsh habitats.
Low-lying coastal areas like the Everglades will be flooded or made more vulnerable to storms.
Loss in these would cause by rising sea level would decrease available habitat for endangered species like the least tern.
Bacteria convert the plant material into CO2 and methane gas.
High Levels of CO2 in the ocean
This can scramble fish behavior by altering their sense of smell, hearing and sight and leads young tropical reef fish to die more often.
A group of tiny shelled animals known as sea butterflies, crucial to marine food webs are dissolving due to ocean acidification.
Global warming amplified by reduced sulfur fluxes as a result of ocean acidification
Dimethylsulfide is responsible for the smell of the ocean at the shore. In the atmosphere it reacts to produce sulfuric acid, aiding in the formation of clouds.
2013 study in Nature Climate Change links the rising acidity of the world's oceans to falling levels of DMS.
Clouds reflect light and heat away from the earth, helping to keep temperatures down. Diminished cloud cover would result in warming temperatures.
Earlier Spring Arrival
Earlier thaws for rivers and lakes
Earlier dates for plant blooming and leafing
Earlier animal egg-laying, spawning and migration.
Loggerhead Sea Turtles
The ones that live along Florida;s Atlantic coast are laying their eggs about 10 days earlier than they did 15 years ago.
In 2003, half of the turtles' nests were laid before June 19th, compared with before June 29th in 1989
Sex of Turtles
Determined by the temperature under which they developed. Warmer temperatures produce female offspring, while colder temperatures produce male turtles.
Nesting beaches are being washed away while rising sand temperatures during egg incubation lead to disproportionately lower numbers of males.
Face habitat loss, competition and predation from Red Foxes, together with changes in population cycles of their prey. They highlight climate change's disruptive effects on interactions between species.
Red Fox moving range northward into range of the Arctic Fox and is competitively dominant over the arctic fox. The red fox is more aggressive and much larger in body size.
Experiencing malnutrition as Eucalyptus leaves decline in nutrient richness. They highlight effects of elevated CO2 levels on plants and on the animals that rely on them for food.
2006 study published in the journal Nature
Found that at least 279 species of plants and animals are already responding to global warming.
Species' geographic ranges have shifted toward the poles at an average rate of 4 miles per decade.
Spring events have shifted earlier by an average of 2 days per decade.
Populations fell sharply in 1997 and 1998, when local ocean temperatures rose 5-6 degree C higher than normal in 1997 and remained 2 degree C warmer than normal through 1998.
Freshwater habitats are facing warming and altered seasonal flows, while food availability in their marine ranges may shift. They highlight the effects of rising temperatures on both freshwater and marine ecosystems and illustrate how climate change impacts on wild species can have a direct effect on economies.
IPCC 2007 report
Up to 30% of plant and animal species could face extinction if the global average temperature rises more than ~3 to ~5 degrees F
What can you do to safeguard a future for these species?
Reduce your use of energy
Ensure that your leaders make and adhere to strong commitments to cutting greenhouse gas emissions now.
Spread the word about the effects of climate change on the world's species.
Find a way to support conservation where you live and support a conservation organization working to safeguard species at risk from climate change.
Involves the cutting down, burning and damaging of forests.
Over the past 8,000 years, 50-80% of the forests that once covered the earth have been converted to farms, pastures and other uses.
Just 20% of the earth's original forest remains in large, relatively natural ecosystems.
Due to a significant increase in plantation forests, forest cover has generally been expanding in North America, Europe and China.
Contribution to World Deforestation 1990-2000
Africa - 50%
South America - 36%
North and Central America - 6%
Oceania, Australia and Asia - 4%
More than 80% of its flora and fauna are found nowhere else on Earth, thanks to millions of years of isolation in the Indian Ocean off of Africa.
If nothing is done to save the world's fourth-largest island, its forests will be gone in 35 years and their unique inhabitants along with them.
The lemurs for which its renowned are in danger of disappearing. Though there are game reserves, they're not large nor are they contiguous thus failing to provide corridors for the animals to travel through. Some are endemic species that have never even been recorded and will likely be lost before they can be studied.
Up to 90% of their coastal rain forests have disappeared since 1900.
Home to more than a quarter of Africa's mammals and more than 1,800 endemic species of plants, this has been named one of the world's 34 biodiversity hotspots by Conservation International.
Rates in Brazil's Amazon rainforest dropped 20% since 2011, reported the Brazilian National Institute of Space Research Brazil is close to its 2020 target of reducing deforestation by 80% from 1990 levels.
Though rates have increased by 28% between August 2012 and last July.
Two of the Biggest Causes of Amazon Deforestation (2000-2005)
Cattle Ranches - 60%
Small-Scale, Subsistence Agriculture - 33%
Natural Vegetation in the US
Nearly 60% has been lost
Developed countries account for 70% of the total world production and consumption of industrial wood products.
Each year the average US citizen uses the equivalent of a tree 100 feet tall and 18 inches in diameter (all wood fiber products)
3.5 times more products than in 1970.
Developing countries, produce and consume about 90% of the world's fuel wood and charcoal and the major household energy sources in many of these nations.
Wood as a source of energy
Nearly 3 billion people depend on wood as their main source
Wood provides nearly all of the energy needs of sub-Saharan African nations.
Fuel is also the most important end-use of wood in Asia accounting for 92% of all wood harvested in South Asia and 73% in Southeast Asia.
Slash and Burn
Farmers chop down a small area (typically a few acres) and burn the trees trunks
Impacts of Deforestation: Erosion and sedimentation
The loss of trees, which anchor the soil with their roots, causes widespread erosion.
The increased sediment load of rivers smothers fish eggs causing lower hatch rates. This impedes the ability of fish stocks to migrate and spawn.
As the suspended particles reach the ocean, the water clouds, causing regional declines in coral reefs and affecting coastal fisheries.
Impacts of Deforestation: Logging
Use of heavy machinery for logging cases severe water quality problems and flooding downstream.
Humbolt County, California
Accelerated logging has polluted some 85% of the waters in California's North Coast region, uprooted protected redwoods and damaged private property.
Destruction of these have left coastal areas exposed to erosion, flooding and storm damage, altered natural drainage patterns and increased salt intrusion.
Removed critical habitats for many aquatic and terrestrial species with serious implications for biodiversity, conservation and food security.
Once covered some 75% of the coastlines of tropical and sub-tropical countries.
Some 35% of the world's mangroves are already gone.
In the Americas, mangrove forests are being cleared at a rate faster than the tropical rainforests.
Deforestation increases the amount of CO2 and other trace gases in the atmosphere.
Primary tropical forests are the most carbon and biodiversity-rich type of forest ecosystem.
Continuing deforestation and forest degradation account for almost one-fifth of the world's GHG emissions - more than the entire global transport sector.
When trees are felled or burned, the 50% of carbon that makes them up is released back into the air.
Deforestation and the Hydrologic Cycle
Trees provide shade and transpire H2O.
Transpiration processes from plants return large quantities of water to the atmosphere.
Loss of large forested regions may result in changes in rainfall and weather patterns.
Globally, about 62% of precipitation occurs over land as a result of evapo-transpiration from lakes and wetlands and dense vegetation, in particular forests pumping water held in the soils, into the air.
A single hectare puts out about 59 tons of water vapor in the course of a sunny summer day.
Vegetation and Weather Patterns
As vegetation is cleared, the land loses its capacity to retain heat and becomes cooler.
As the land cools relative to the ocean, there is a larger gradient between the ocean temperature and the land causing less moisture to be pulled from the ocean air toward the land.
Deforestation has worsened a severe drought afflicting Thailand and the key to preventing similar problems in the future lies in doubling forest cover.
Deforestation and Biodiversity
70% of the earth's land animals and plants reside in forests.
Tropical rainforests covers only 7% of the total dry surface of the earth hold over 1/2 of all the earth's species.
A considerable number of the world's plants and animals live in the Amazon, most of which remain undiscovered by scientists.
To date, as least 40,000 plant species, 427 mammals, 1,294 birds, 378 reptiles, 427 amphibians and some 3,000 fish species have been scientifically classified in the region.
About half of the 1,200 species that live here may be in danger of extinction because of the continuing destruction of their forest habitats.
Large numbers of vulnerable animals that depend almost entirely on bamboo for food and shelter, which include pandas, lemurs and mountain gorillas, lesser bamboo bat, face extinction.
US national forest system
The 192 million acres are inhabited by more than 3,000 species of wildlife and more than 10,000 plant species, including some 20% of federally endangered and threatened species.
In this type of farming, many of the original rain forest trees are left to provide shade fore shade-loving crops like coffee or chocolate.
When the farm is abandoned, the forest grows back very quickly because much of it was left unharmed in the first place.
Studies in Colombia and Mexico found 94-97% fewer bird species in "sun grown" coffee plantations than in "shade grown" coffee.
Needs healthy rainforests with varied plant life to help it withstand wind, heat and pests.
Consequences of Deforestation
Loss of habitat
Loss of species
Increase in global CO2
Increase in runoff, erosion and sedimentation
Increase in temperature
Leading cause of habitat destruction in this country, substantially impacting our forests, range lands and wetlands.
Approximately 45% of the US land area is used for agricultural purposes with 472 million acres in cropland and 587 million acres in range or pasture.
Contributes nearly one-quarter of global GHG emissions, uses 37% of landmass and accounts for 70% of all freshwater withdrawn from rivers, lakes and aquifers.
98% of the original 143 million acres have been destroyed with only 10% remaining in mostly small fragments.
The amount of land covered by urban and suburban development has increased by nearly 300% since 1955 while population has increased by only 75%.
Wetlands (Habitat Loss)
Loss of acreage within the continental US is estimated that over half of the wetlands that existed before European settlement began have been destroyed by agriculture, dredge and development.
From 1859 to 1885, intense timber cutting and land clearing eliminated many of these - about 80% of the original wetlands.
Habitat Loss Impacts
86% of threatened birds
86% of threatened mammals
88% of threatened amphibians.
Deforestation in Mexico
Recent bouts of severe weather
Growth of herbicide-based agriculture destroying crucial milkweed flora in the Midwest. About 60% of all milkweed species has been eliminated from the grassland ecosystem. There are 108 species of milkweed in the US - the whole monarch migration evolved in relation to evolution of this milkweed flora.
This is the disruption of continuity.
Reduction of total amount of habitat type
Apportionment of remaining habitat into smaller, more isolated patches.
These are too small to support populations is a major cause of extinction.
Fragments compared to Islands
Islands - tenfold decrease in area in area results in about half the number of species.
Large populations are less likely to go extinct than small.
So larger fragments are better than small.
Metapopulations results in spatial variation in habitat quality in which species are distributed as small, local populations
Fragmentation VS Natural Heterogeneity
Heterogeneity is natural disturbances, gradients and patchwork of habitats over time and space. Natural disturbances generally increase diversity of habitats and species in an area.
Differences between natural patchiness and fragmentation
Naturally patchy allows for rich internal structure.
Fragments are simplified patches.
Natural landscape allows less contrast between adjacent patches.
Some features of fragmented landscape present threats.
May have dramatic effects such as roads, trails, power lines, fences, etc.
Road deaths were one of the leading causes of mortality causing a strain on their endangerment.
Connectedness via Corridors
A corridor is a naturally existing or restored native linear landscape element that provides for movement between habitat patches.
Sunlight and wind greater at edges of forests.
Edge zones drier and less shady.
Shade tolerant species move to interior.
Changes in temperature and water regimes.
Temperature fluctuations increase.
Greater structural contrast between adjacent terrestrial habitats equals greater edge effects.
Extends deep into the patch.
Below certain size, true interior or core will be absent.
As habitats become fragmented...
Edge effects include increased human hunting access, drying from winds, and competition from or predation by both exotic species and native species that prefer edge habitat.
The proportion of a habitat patch subject to detrimental edge effects increases as patch size decreases.
What species are vulnerable to fragmentation?
Species with narrow geographic range or specialized habitat requirements such as island birds or lake fish.
Species with low population densities which consists of animals with large territories or home ranges where fragments don't provide enough area.
Poor dispersers such as freshwater mussels and snails and bird species with low colonizing abilities.
Species with low potential reproductive capacity of an organism or population (fecundity) which prevents quick rebuilding of population after severe reduction event.
Species with short life cycles.
Ground nesters are more vulnerable to predators.
Species vulnerable to human exploitation or persecution.
Conservation in fragmented habitats
Expand the habitat to prevent destruction of the existing habitat and protect more fragments.
The larger, the better since more things can live in bigger fragments. Some animals have "home ranges" that might be bigger than a fragment of a habitat.
Make the habitat quality better. Managing habitat fragments to limit invasive species, soil erosion and other processes that degrade the habitat is key to maintaining biodiversity.
Increase the connectivity between fragments. Allowing organisms to move between habitat fragments can increase survival and genetic diversity of organisms. Creating corridors of suitable habitat between fragments is a way to allow movement.
Introduced or Invasive Species
Non-native or alien to the ecosystem under consideration whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.
They can be plants, animals and other organisms and human actions are the primary means of invasive species introductions.
Characteristics of Invasive Species
Generalist diet and habitat requirements.
Small body size.
High reproductive potential.
Hypotheses for the success of Invasive Species
Exotics are released from their predators and diseases.
Better competitors than the natives.
The invaded habitat is altered or disturbed.
How do invasive species negatively impact native species?
Competing with them.
Mating with them and decreasing genetic diversity.
Introducing pathogens and parasites that sicken or kill them.
Disrupting available nutrients.
Community and Population Level Impacts
Negative impacts on native animals.
Promotion of non-native invasive animals.
Promotion of non-native invasive animals.
Population reductions, eliminations.
Reduced recruitment of natives (succession).
Hybridization with native species.
Why are species introduced?
Recreation (hunting and fishing).
Only introduced 60 birds in 1890 into New York City and now the population has grown to about 200,000,000.
Cavity nesters and nest earlier than other cavity nesters, which leads to serious competition for suitable nesting sites. They have also been shown to destroy the eggs and nestlings of tree swallows, woodpeckers, purple martins, great crested flycatchers and eastern blue birds.
In the 1950s, several new species were introduced to compensate for the declining stock of native species.
Some of these new species were Nile tilapia which eats zooplanton and Nile perch which eats other fish.
Nile Perch in Lake Victoria
Has contributed to the extinction of more than 200 endemic fish species through predation and competition for food.
Before 1980, Haplocromines contributed about 80% of the biomass and the Nile Perch less than 2%, but that changed significantly after 1983 contributing to the most rapid vertebrate mass extinction in recent history.
Their introduction led to the collapse of the lake ecosystem.
Feral Cat Problems
Prey on natives, particularly birds.
Particularly dangerous to understory dwellers.
Altered the way energy flows through the San Fran Bay's ecosystem. Before the clam showed up in the 1980s, large portions of the bay supported extravagant algae blooms.
These algae nourished huge populations of zooplankton, which supported a vast aquatic food web, ranging from tiny fish and crustaceans to big halibut and leopard sharks.
Can reach densities of 50,000 per square meter.
140 exotic species...61 plants, 24 fish, 24 algae and 9 mollusks.
Voracious predator escaped from aquaria and decimating Florida Keys and other marine areas.
Santa Catalina Island, California
Sheep, goats and pigs introduced onto the island have caused severe loss of endemic plants, such as Catalina ironwood and Catalina mahogany.
Goats and pigs eat the native vegetation used by tortoises, as well as eating their eggs.
Brown Tree Snake
An invasive snake originating in South Pacific and Australia has exterminated 12 native bird species, 6 of 12 native lizard species and 2 of 3 bat species on the island of Guam.
Arrived probably around mid-1950s as a stowaway on boats from New Guinea.
Introduced into North America for fur farming, now live wild in fresh and salt water ponds and swamps throughout the mid-Atlantic, south east, Great Lakes and northwest states, where they disrupt irrigation and destroy native aquatic ecosystems.
Invasive in the Western US are suspected to be significant predators of other amphibian species as well as hatchling and juvenile western pond turtles.
Burmese pythons in Florida's Everglades National Park
144,000 have been imported to the US in the past five years for the pet trade and are devastating the native small mammal and bird populations of the Everglades.
January 2010 Cold Snap in Florida
Killed many non-native species, such as about one half of the Burmese pythons and thousands of non-native fish died.
Believed to have been transported to the Great Lakes via ballast water from a transoceanic vessel.
Ballast water, taken on in a freshwater European port was subsequently discharged into Lake St. Clair, near Detroit, where the mussel was discovered in 1988.
Greatest effects are competition for food.
Exotics deplete food sources and starve natives, as well as attach to them weighing them down, weakening them and slowing down physical processes.
Introduced to Mass. in 1860s
Originally brought to the US for silk production, but now defoliates entire forests.
Hemlock Woolly Adelgid
An aphid like insect native to China and Japan, poses a catastrophic risk to forests from NE Georgia to SE Maine and west to eastern Tennessee.
Found in Washington and Meigs Counties in Ohio in 2012. Since then, it has been identified in several other ecologically important places in our region including Hocking Kills.
Emerald Ash Borer
Invasive insect that has infested and killed more than 20 million ash trees in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana since its 2002 accidental importation from Asia.
Larvae feed just under the bard on phloem tissue.
Asian Long-Horned Beetle
A new and potentially serious threat to some of North America's most beautiful and popular trees.
Trees favored by these are predominantly maples, but infestations have also been discovered in horsechestnuts, poplars, willows, elms, mulberries and black locusts.
Known to kill hatchling turtles and a variety of other reptiles, even while they are in the egg.
In 1956, African Honey Bees were imported into Brazil.
In 1957, 26 African queens escaped and reached US in 1990.
More aggressive than European Honey Bees having killed around 1,000 people.
Impacts honey and pollination industries.
Introduced into many areas of the NE US.
In 1999, there were more than 50,000 exotic species in the USA.
Increase in their total biomass was associated with decreasing diversity and abundance of herbaceous plants and the decreasing abundance and density of tree seedlings.
Outcompetes and eliminates endemic species in large areas of the SE US.
Kills by shading trees and spreads inexorably, mostly through soil movement and vegetative growth.
Crowding out native plants from about spreads across approximately 1 million additional acres of wetlands each year and can produce up to 2.7 million seeds per plant.
West Nile Virus
First detected in the Western Hemisphere in 1999 and has since rapidly spread across the North American continent into all 48 continental states, even Canadian provinces.
There are now over 150 wild bird species, 15 mammal species and one reptile species known infected with the virus in the US.
Dramatic Declines due to West Nile Virus
Estimated cost of Invasive Species?
A total of $137 billion annually in losses to agriculture, forestry, fisheries and the maintenance of open waterways in the US.
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