Sustaining Terrestrial BiodiversityManaging and Protecting Ecosystems
The Frontier Worldview
Frontier worldview-the idea that Earths resources are inexhaustible and it is there more humans to conquer it.Contrast to Native American views that deeply respected the land and its plants and animalsLed to enormous waste of resources because of belief that they were inexhaustibleBy 1850 about 80% of land was owned by U.S. government, most taken from Native AmericansBy 1900 more than half of U.S. public land was given away or sold cheaply to promote settlement.
Case Study: Yellowstone WolvesBetween 1850 & 1900, 2 million wolves were shot, trapped, and poisoned to keep W. and Great Plains safe for livestock1973 U.S. Endangered Species Act only 400 wolves remained in lower 48 states.1974 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) listed them as endangered.
Case Study: Yellowstone WolvesKeystone predator:Kept down populations of deer, moose, and coyote and provided food for scavengersPopulations then rose drastically, devastating vegetation and increasing soil erosion.1987 USFWS proposed introduction of gray wolves into Yellowstone, which was protested.1995 caught wolves in Canada and relocatedPresently less damage due to elks and coyotes.
Human Impacts on Terrestrial BiodiversityHumans have disturbed 50-80% of Earths land surface82% of temperate deciduous forests cleared, fragmented, and dominated for crops and urban developmentTundra, tropical deserts, and land w/ ice are least disturbed b/c harsh conditions and poor soils are unappealing.Humans ALONE use, waste, or destroy 10-55% of NPP of planets terrestrial ecosystems.
Human Impacts on Terrestrial BiodiversityGlobal extinction rates of species are at least 100 to 1,000Xs what it was before humans existed Rate currently 1%/yearThreats to increase sharply by 2018Convention on Biological Diversity of the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio was ratified by 178 countries:National surveys of wildlifeEstablishment of parks and reservesAssessment and protection of endangered species.
Human Impacts on Terrestrial BiodiversityBoth the needy poor and the largest amount of biodiversity that is vanishing is located in developing countries. We cant address one without the other.
Projected Status of Biodiversity19982018Critical and endangeredThreatenedStable or intactANTARCTICANORTHAMERICAEUROPEAFRICAASIASOUTHAMERICAAUSTRALIAPacificOceanAntarctic CirclePacificOceanTropic of CancerTropic of CapricornIndianOceanAtlanticOcean1509060E030W9012015006030N30S60
Human PopulationSize and resource useHuman ActivitiesAgriculture, industry, economicproduction and consumption, recreationIndirect EffectsDirect EffectsDegradation and destruction of natural ecosystems
Alteration of natural chemicalcycles and energy flowsChanges in number and distribution of species
Pollution of air, water, and soilClimate changeLoss of biodiversity
What Can We Do?Two approaches:1. Species approach- to protect species from premature extinction2. Ecosystem approach- protect populations of species and their natural habitats affects all others of ecosystems.**Notice importance of habitat!
The Species ApproachThe Ecosystem ApproachGoalProtect species frompremature extinctionStrategiesIdentify endangered speciesProtect their critical habitatsTacticsLegally protect endangered speciesManage habitatPropagate endangered species in captivityReintroduce species into suitable habitatsGoalProtect populations ofspecies in their naturalhabitatsStrategyPreserve sufficient areasof habitats in differentbiomes and aquaticsystemsTacticsProtect habitat areas through private purchase or government actionEliminate or reduce populations of alien species from protected areasManage protected areas to sustain native speciesRestore degraded ecosystems
Conservation BiologyMultidisciplinary scienceStarted in 1970Use emergency responses to slow down humans destruction and degradation of biodiversityConservationists identify hot spots- most endangered species-rich systems, and take action.Endemic plants- Those found nowhere else on Earth.
Public Lands in U.S.>35% of U.S. land is managed by federal governmentMore than any other country73% of federal public lands in Alaska, and 22% in western statesPublic lands can be classified into three categories:Multipleuse lands, which include National Forests (National Forest Service) and National resource lands (Bureau of Land Management);Moderatelyrestricted use lands, which include National Wildlife Refuges (U.S. Fish and Wildlife);Restricteduse lands, which include National Parks (National Park Service), and the National Wilderness Preservation System.
National parks and preservesNational forests(and Xs) National wildlife refuges
Public Lands in U.S.National Forest SystemRun by U.S. Forest Service (part of Department of Agriculture)i.e. Hoosier National Forest 155 forests, 22 grasslandsUsed for logging, mining, livestock farming, oil and gas extraction and recreation.National Resource LandsManaged by Bureau of Land Management (BLM)Used for mining, oil and gas, livestock grazing
Public Lands in U.S.National Wildlife RefugesManaged by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)Most protect habitats and breeding areas for waterfowl and big gameSome protect endangered species from extinctionPermitted activities: hunting trapping fishing, mining, logging, and grazing
Public Lands in U.S.National Park SystemMore restricted useManaged by National Park Service (NPS)56 major parks, 331 national recreation areas, monuments, and historic sites.1,100 all over the world for other countries programsHuman activities threaten them due to:Noise, congestion, eroded trailsOff-road vehicles, damage to vegetationNonnative species introductionWater pollution
SolutionsNational ParksIntegrate plans for managing parks and nearby federal lands
Add new parkland near threatened parks
Buy private land inside parks
Locate visitor paring outside parks and use shuttle buses for entering and touring heavily used parks
Increase funds for park maintenance and repairs
Survey wildlife in parks
Raise entry fees for visitors and use funds for park management and maintenance
Limit number of visitors to crowded park rangers
Increase number and pay of park rangers
Encourage volunteers to give visitor lectures and tours
Seek private donations for park maitenance and repairs
Public Lands in U.S.National Wilderness Preservation SystemCollectively unites all 760 individual wilderness areas. Wilderness zones lie within other types of public lands and managed by agencies in charge of those landsStorehouses for biodiversity and centers of natural evolutionOnly non-motor sports allowedU.S. Wilderness Act of 1964- "...lands designated for preservation and protection in their natural condition..." "...an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man..."
Public Lands in U.S.3/30/09 Obama signed the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (Public law 111-11) into law which designated 52 new wilderness areas and added acreage to 26 existing areas, a total addition to the NWPS of over 2 million acres. The most land to go into the system on record was during the Reagan administration in 1984.
Other Types of ReservesBiosphere reserves-UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) created the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme. Goal: To establish a least one biosphere reserve in each of the earths 193 biogeographical zones.Today, more than 425 existHave a core area (protected from human activities) surrounded by buffer zone (sustainable activities and recreation) and a final, outer, transition zone (more intensive but sustainable activities)
Biosphere ReserveCore areaBuffer zone 1Buffer zone 2Human settlementsTourism andeducation centerResearch station
Management of U.S. Public LandsConservation biologistsProtect biodiversity and habitatsUsers-pay approachAll users or extractors of resources should be responsible for environmental damage.Economists and developers:Sell public lands to corporationsSlash federal fundingRepeal or modify Endangered Species ActWise-use approach- public lands should be managed wisely and scientifically to provide needed resources
Major Types of ForestsBiomes with forests: boreal, temperate and tropical.Three types of forests1. Old-growth- uncut or regenerated that hasnt been seriously disturbed by humans or natural disasters for 200+ yearsStorehouses of biodiversity b/c lots of ecological niches63% of worlds forestsRussia, Canada, Brazil, New Guinea, etc.
Major Types of Forests2. Second-growth- stand of trees from secondary succession after removal by humans or natural forcesDecent biodiversity22% of all forests3. Tree plantations (farms)- uniformly aged trees of one species (monoculture) that are harvested by clear-cutting and then replantedLow diversity20% of all forests
Years of growth302515105
Two Forest Management SystemsEven-aged management (industrial forestry)- maintaining trees in given stand at about same age and size for harvestingTree plantations replace biodiverse old-growth or second-growth forestsUneven-aged management- variety of tree species at many ages and sizes to foster natural regenerationFor biodiversity, sustainable production of timber, wildlife, and recreation.
Harvesting Trees1st Build roadsHabitat fragmentation and biodiversity lossIncreased erosion and sediment runoffExposure to pests and nonnative speciesAccess to miners, farmers, and off-road vehicles2nd Harvest treesVarious