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Wild Species and Biodiversity


World Conservation Union (IUCN) maintains a 'Red List of Threatened Species' Similar to the endangered species list ... rapid decline of the African elephant ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Wild Species and Biodiversity

Wild Species and Biodiversity
  • Chapter 10
  • A.P. Environmental Science

  • Puffins are little seabirds that live in cold
    coastal waters on both sides of the North
    American continent.
  • Before the 1900s, they were hunted for their
    eggs, meat, and feathers
  • Populations of puffins decreased in Maine.
  • Project Puffin- plan to take some puffins from
    Newfoundland to Maine.
  • Trained birds to adapt to the new territory
  • Called social attraction
  • This included painted decoys, tapes of puffin
    noises and bogus eggs.
  • The island now has a colony of 52 pairs

10.1 The Value of Wild Species
  • Ecosystem capital- sum of all goods provided by
  • The integrity of the ecosystem must be maintained
  • We must maintain resilience and biodiversity
  • In order for ecosystem capital to remain
    valuable, natural systems must be sustained
  • Done by not abusing resources
  • Different values must be reconciled.

Biological Wealth
  • About 1.75 million species of plants, animals,
    and microbes have been classified.
  • There are about 13 million species that have not
    yet been discovered
  • All species together make up a biota and are
    responsible for the structure and maintenance of
    all ecosystems
  • Represent biological wealth-ecosystem capital
  • Humans have always exploited wild species for
    food and materials
  • Forests, savannas and plains became fields and
  • At least 500 plant and animal species have become
    extinct in the U.S. alone

Two Kinds of Value
  • Instrumental value a species has instrumental
    value if its existence or use benefits some other
  • Anthropocentric- beneficial to human needs
  • Intrinsic value- species have intrinsic value
    when it has value for its own sake.

  • The value of natural species can be categorized
  • Value as sources for agriculture, forestry,
    aquaculture, and animal husbandry
  • Value as sources for medicines
  • Recreational value
  • Intrinsic value

Sources for agriculture, forestry, and animal
  • In nature, both plants and animals are
    continuously subjected to the rigors of natural
  • Only the fittest survive
  • Wild populations have resistance to parasites and
    tolerance to adverse conditions.
  • They exhibit vigor.
  • Populations grown under the conditions of
    agriculture lose traits.
  • They are selected for production, not resilience.
    If a plant is not drought tolerant, it is
  • This population is known as a cultivar
  • Minimum genetic variation
  • Produce high yields
  • Cannot adapt to other conditions

  • To maintain vigor in cultivars and to adapt them
    to various climatic conditions, plant breeders
    comb wild populations of related species for the
    desired traits.
  • Example corn crop in the 1970s was saved from
    blight by genes from a wild strain of maize.

  • If natural biota is lost, improving and
    developing new food plants will greatly reduce.
  • Wheat, maize, and rice fulfill about 50 of
    global food demands.
  • Growth can be affected by environment
  • Wild genes can be used to help enhance
    development in arid regions
  • Some pests come from natural biota and should not
    be depleted.
  • Control them using natural enemies
  • Natural biota are referred to as a genetic bank
  • Deposit species and withdraw them

Sources for Medicine
  • Plant species are used for medicine
  • People of Madagascar use the rosy periwinkle
  • In the 1960s, scientists extracted two chemicals
    from this flower vincristine and vinblastine
  • Used to treat leukemia and Hodgkins disease

  • More drugs
  • Capoten- taken from a Brazilian pit viper (snake)
  • Controls high blood pressure
  • Taxol- taken from the bark of the English yew
  • Treats ovarian, breast, and small cell cancers

  • The study of relationships between plants and
  • 3,000 plants have been identified as having
    anticancer properties
  • Drug companies finance field studies to find
    more. There may be promising drugs being tested
    now but announcement will wait until approval by

Recreation, Aesthetic, and Scientific Value
  • Recreational and aesthetic values constitute a
    very important source of support for maintaining
    wild species.
  • Ecotourism- tourists visit a place in order to
    observe wild species or unique ecological sites

Value for their own sake
  • Some people believe that the most important
    strategy for preserving all wild species is to
    emphasize the intrinsic value of species
  • There is much debate about the right for humans
    to terminate a species
  • Some say one living thing is no better than
    another living thing.
  • All religions have different viewpoints
  • Jewish and Christian- all wild things deserve
    moral consideration and care
  • Islamic- environment is the creation of Allah and
    must be protected
  • Native American religions- wildlife and humans
    should interact like members of a large family

10.2 Saving Wild Species
  • Game animals are animals that are hunted
  • Some are hunted to extinction
  • Some have been provided with complete protection
    by the government
  • Wild turkey
  • After WWII state and federal programs stressed
    the need to protect turkey habitats
  • The birds have made a great comeback, now in 49
  • Special protection areas are funded by hunting

Positive aspects of hunting
  • Many hunters belong to organizations dedicated to
    the game they are hunting
  • Raise funds that are used for the restoration and
    maintenance of natural ecosystems
  • Some animals cause major damage
  • Deer and kangaroos
  • Kangaroos are culled each year for use as pet
    food and for their leather.

  • PETA actively campaign to end hunting and
  • Some traps are especially cruel
  • Some animals have adapted to urban and suburban
  • Squirrels
  • Backyard birds
  • Rabbits
  • Some predators

  • The following are serious problems that have
    emerged from an increase in certain animal
  • The number of animals killed on roadways now far
    exceeds the number killed by hunters
  • Many nuisance animals are thriving in urbanized
  • Some animals reach high population densities
    because they lack predators.
  • People in suburban areas have been attacked by
    cougars, bears, alligators, and other wild life.
  • Coyote populations are increasing
  • Parks and lawns have become home to flocks of

Wildlife services?
  • In 1998, the agency of the U.S. Department of
    Agriculture changed its name from Animal Damage
    Control to Wildlife Services
  • Responds to requests from livestock owners,
    farmers, homeowners, and others concerned with
    economic damage, human health, and safety to
    remove nuisance animals

Acts protecting endangered species
  • Florida and Texas were the first states to pass
    laws protecting plumed birds.
  • Lacey Act
  • Forbids interstate commerce in illegally killed
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services can bring federal
    charges against anyone who violates this law

Endangered Species Act
  • Passed in 1973
  • Protects endangered and threatened species
  • Endangered- brink of extinction
  • Threatened- populations fall drastically, but not
    near extinction

  • There are three crucial elements in the process
    of designating a species as endangered or
  • Listing- species is listed by the appropriate
    agency or by petition
  • Critical Habitat- agency must designate the
    habitat areas where the species is found
  • Recovery Plans- plan to help the species survive
    and thrive

Impact on species
  • Some people believe that the act does not go far
  • Others oppose
  • 13 species have been removed from the list
    because they recovered (American Peregrine
  • 7 have become extinct

Fly Away Home
  • People have made efforts to help the whooping
    cranes migrate from Wisconsin to Florida
  • This includes, using eggs from captive breeding
    flocks and teaching birds its migratory path
    following an ultralight.

The Spotted Owl
  • This species lives in old growth forests in the
    Pacific Northwest
  • Its population was down to between 4 and 6 K
  • The original plan called for 7.4 million acres to
    be set aside and logging prohibited in stands of
    trees older than 80 years.

  • The Klamath River provides irrigated water for
    250,000 acres of farmland.
  • In 2001, because of an extended drought, the
    government allocated almost all the water to
    prevent the extinction of salmon.
  • Upset many farmers
  • Problem is still not resolved

10.3 Biodiversity and its decline
  • No one knows how much biodiversity there is
  • 1.75 million species that have been described
  • Many more exist
  • Groups rich in species are the flowering plants
    and insects
  • Estimates in the number of species on Earth today
    are based on recent work in the tropical rain
  • Costa Rica makes up 5 of biota

The Decline in Biodiversity
  • At least 500 species native to the U.S. are known
    to have become extinct
  • The species populations are a more important
    element of biodiversity than just the species
  • It is the populations that contribute to
    biological wealth
  • Populations of birds in North America are
    dramatically declining

Global Outlook
  • At least 726 animal species and 90 plant species
    have become extinct since1500.
  • Most extinctions occur on oceanic islands
  • 24 of mammal and 12 of bird species are
    globally threatened.
  • Biodiversity is richest in tropical forests
  • 300 species of trees in a single ha plot
  • 10,000 species of insects on a single tree in
  • 43 species of ants on a single tree in Peru

Reasons for the Decline
  • One of the greatest sources of loss is the
    physical alteration of habitats through the
    processes of conversion, fragmentation, and
  • Responsible for 36 of extinctions

  • Natural areas are converted to farms, housing
    subdivisions, shopping malls, marinas, and
    industrial centers.
  • Any loss of natural habitat can result in only
    one thing a proportional reduction in all
    populations that require the habitat.

  • Natural landscapes generally have large patches
    of habitat
  • Human-dominated areas have small patches-
  • Plowed fields
  • House lots
  • highway
  • Can cause populations to fall below their
    critical number
  • Kirtlands warbler

Simplification and Intrusion
  • Human use of habitats often simplifies them
  • Channelized streams
  • Tree farming
  • Intrusion of habitats also causes a decline in
  • Television towers
  • Attract birds
  • Kills 5-50 million a year

The Population Connection
  • Loss of biodiversity can be attributed to the
    expansion of the human population over the globe.
  • Loss is greatest in the developing world
  • Africa and Asia have lost almost 2/3 of their
    natural habitat

  • Can directly kill many plants and animals
  • Ex) The dead zone of the Mississippi River
  • Oil spills, acid deposition, human wastes, and
    pesticides also affect biodiversity
  • Increase in temperature
  • Melting of polar icecaps
  • Decrease in polar bear population
  • These problems can be traced to the
    industrialized world.

  • What is the Dead Zone?
  • Every summer in the Gulf of Mexico an area,
    sometimes as large as Massachusetts, becomes void
    of life due to severely depleted levels of oxygen
    in the Gulf's water, a state known as hypoxia.
    This condition kills every oxygen-dependent sea
    creature within its 8,500 square mile zone. The
    Dead Zone varies in size, but it has been growing
    steadily since 1993.

  • The Dead Zone is caused by excess nitrogen and
    phosphorous that is washed into the Gulf from the
    Mississippi River. These nutrients ignite huge
    algae and phytoplankton blooms. As the blooms
    die, they drop to the ocean floor and decompose,
    using up the oxygen of the deeper water.

  • The stratification of the water that occurs
    during the summer in the Gulf prevents the
    deepest water from becoming reoxygenated. As a
    direct result, oxygen levels fall below 2 parts
    per million, a level that most marine life cannot
    survive, including all commercial fish, crab and
    shrimp species. The Dead Zone is now one of the
    largest hypoxic zones of water in the world.

  • Frog deformities, caused by the larval stage of
    a flatworm that invades the tadpoles
  • This rapid rise in the incidence of deformities
    due to habitats that have been altered by human
  • High N pollution
  • Leads to large snail populations
  • Which are intermediate hosts of the flatworm

Parasites A tiny trematode appears to cause a
significant amount of the leg deformities in
amphibians, as it works through a complex
ecological cycle that at various times includes
aquatic snails, amphibians and birds. The
parasite can form a cyst in frogs and disrupt
normal limb development.
Exotic Species
  • Exotic species is a species introduced into an
    area different from its original habitat.
  • Can become invasive and can eliminate native
    species by predation and competition
  • Examples of exotic species include kudzu, autumn
    olive, multiflora rose, Brazilian pepper and
    oriental bittersweet
  • Annual cost of invasive species in the U.S. is
    137 billion

  • One-third of all seafood consumed worldwide is
    produced by aquaculture
  • The farming of shellfish, seaweed, and fish
  • Most are not native to the farming locations
  • Parasites and pathogens have been introduced
    together with the aquaculture species.
  • Escape from farming locations
  • Become invasive

  • Removing species faster than they can reproduce
    will lead to ultimate extinction
  • Overuse is responsible for 23 of extinction
  • One form of overuse is the trafficking of
  • Much of this trade is illegal
  • 12 billion a year is made by this
  • It flourishes because some people are willing to
    pay large amounts of money for the luxuries
    provided by the species

eBay sting
  • Recently an agent purchased an African leopard
    skin and a frozen stillborn tiger cub for 1,500
    on eBay
  • Poor management is another cause of the loss of
  • Without policies, forests and woodlands are
    overcut and animals are overhunted

Consequences of Losing Biodiversity
  • It is possible to lose keystone species
  • Species whose role is absolutely vital to the
    survival of many other species in an ecosystem
  • Can be a predator that keeps herbivore
    populations under control
  • It is also possible to introduce species that can
    become new dominants in ecosystems
  • Can produce undesirable results

10.4 Protecting Biodiversity
  • Serious efforts are being made to preserve
    biodiversity around the world, especially in the
  • World Conservation Union (IUCN) maintains a Red
    List of Threatened Species
  • Similar to the endangered species list
  • Uses a set of criteria to evaluate the risk of
    extinction to thousands of species throughout the
  • There are currently 11,167 species on it

  • Established in the early 1970s
  • It is an international agreement that focuses on
    trade in wildlife and wildlife parts.
  • Covers 30,000 species
  • The best-known act of CITES was to ban the
    international trade in ivory in 1990 in order to
    stop the rapid decline of the African elephant

Convention on Biological Diversity
  • CBD became one of the pillars of the 1992 Earth
    Summit in Rio de Janeiro.
  • The Biodiversity Treaty was ratified in December
  • Its is a convention that sets goals for
    participating countries to sustain biodiversity

Basic guidelines for the Biodiversity Treaty
  • A concern for the intrinsic value of biodiversity
  • Its significance for human welfare
  • The sovereignty of a nation over its biodiversity
  • The nations obligations to protect and conserve

Stewardship Concerns
  • Four policies that focus on improving
  • Reform policies that lead to declines in
  • Address the need of people who live adjacent to
    or in high-biodiversity areas or whose livelihood
    is derived from exploiting wild species
  • Practice conservation
  • Promote more research on biodiversity

  • END
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