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Species Diversity and Preservation II


This transport may or may not ... Invasive species - is an alien species that disrupts the normal ... (Cheetahs, other big cats, rhinos, other large game animals) ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Species Diversity and Preservation II

Species Diversity and Preservation II

Invasive Species - USA
The current environmental, economic, and health
costs of invasive species could exceed 138
billion per year, more than all other natural
disasters combined. West Nile virus and Purple
loosestrife (northeast) Kudzu, water hyacinth,
nutria, and fire ants (southeast) Zebra mussels
and leafy spurge, (Midwest) Salt cedar, Russian
olive, and Africanized bees (southwest) Yellow
star thistle, Asian clams, and sudden oak death
(California) Cheatgrass, knapweeds and
thistles (Great Basin) Whirling disease of
salmonids (northwest) Hundreds of species
(microbes to mammals) (Hawaii) Brown tree snake
Factors that Contribute to Community
Vulnerability to Invasion
Vacant niches Escape from biotic
constraints Community species richness
Disturbance before or upon immigration
Exotic Species Introductions (Biotic Pollution)
Other than habitat loss (and possibly
exploitative hunting/fishing practices), the
introduction of exotic species has caused the
greatest threat to biodiversity. Introduced
competitors and predators have a greater negative
effect on local organisms than do native
competitors or predators because exotic species
have not coevolved with those native species.
Therefore, the native species have no adaptations
to the introduced species. Islands (e.g.,
Hawaii, Australia) are particularly susceptible
to introductions because predators are often rare
on islands.
Introduced Species in Hawaii
With the arrival of Captain James Cook in 1778,
the environment of Hawaii began to change
dramatically.  These first European settlers
brought a number of new species including pigs,
goats, sheep, and many ornamental and
horticultural plants.  
It is now estimated that an average of 20-50 new
species arrive annually in Hawaii. The
subsequent loss of native species has decreased
the diversity and produced economic problems.
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Introduced Species in the Continental USA
Kudzu Introduced in the southeastern U.S. in the
1930s as a control for erosion. Has overgrown
everything in its path, causing millions of
dollars in damage annually.
Introduced Species in the Continental USA
Purple loosestrife Cultivated for its beautiful
purple flowers, this wetland plant escaped into
New England marshes a century ago. It now
fills the wetlands across much of the northern
U.S. and southern Canada, reducing wetland
Introduced Species in the Continental USA
Japanese honeysuckle This aggressive vine
seriously alters or destroys the understory and
herbaceous layers of communities it invades,
including prairies, glades, floodplains, and
upland forests.
Introduced Species in the Continental USA
Cane toads Bufo marinus is the most introduced
amphibian in the world. It outcompetes native
amphibians and also causes predator declines
because they have no natural immunity to the
bufotoxin it secretes.
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Great Lakes Introduction of Species
Zebra Mussels
Introduced from the ballast water of cargo ships
from the Caspian Sea. They glue themselves to
any solid surface.
These mussels clog intake pipes, cover the bottom
of lakes, and invaded the Hudson and Mississippi
Rivers. They cost 400 million/year in removal
costs, and exclude other, native mussels.
Zebra Mussels
The estimated cost to industry, shipping and
sport fishing was 5 billion in the Great Lake
region alone by the year 2000.
Each female can produce one million eggs a year.
Being colonial, as many as 500 000 mussels may be
attached as a solid mass on each square meter of
substance, encrusting and clogging various
utilities like the intake ducts and pipes of
power stations and industries, drains, etc.
The impact of lamprey on commercial fishing in
the Great Lakes.
Protecting Species
Habitat Protection Placement of habitats into
Preserves, Reserves, and National Monuments, can
protect both endangered species, as well as
provide ecosystem stability. Risks Multiple
use (recreation, timber extraction, grazing use,
mineral extraction) can often conflict with
preservation of a habitat. Paper parks are
often logged, farmed, mined, or poached.
Poaching is a common practice, even in U.S.
protected areas.
Protecting Species
Sometimes the protection of a specific habitat
(e.g., freshwater river) involves monitoring of
other ecosystems (e.g., riparian environment).
Protecting Species
Debt for Nature Swaps The purchase of debt by
organizations at a much lower rate (10 cents on
the dollar), and then forgiveness of that debt in
return for that countries efforts to make
reserves in certain areas. The largest of the
debt for nature swap organization is the World
Wildlife Fund (WWF). Since its inception in
1961, WWF has invested in over 13,100 projects in
157 countries. The annual budget is about 20
million, almost all from private donations.
Examples of Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs)
Involved in Defending Species and Habitats
Nature Conservancy Conservation
International World Wildlife Fund Environmental
Defense Fund Sierra Club Greenpeace.
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Protecting Species by Laws
Hunting and Fishing Laws - Limit number of
animals that can be harvested on a yearly
basis. Usually animal populations are
monitored so that hunting pressures do not limit
the populations. For some animals, such as
deer, management practices favor them, so they
may be even more abundant than prior to
settlement of the U.S. In these cases, the
species can be more of a problem for habitat
integrity than a species that needs protection.
Zoos, Botanical Gardens, Captive Breeding Programs
Breeding of endangered animals (Cheetahs,
other big cats, rhinos, other large game
animals), conservation of plant species
(sometimes through the storage of seeds in
banks), may provide a haven from which to
reestablish very endangered species. Costs
are prohibitive.
Restoration Ecology
Restoration Ecology means to bring back a habitat
to a former condition. When overexploited,
ecosystems degenerate and services decline.
Ultimately we need the capture of renewable
resources while sustaining the global ecosystems
that convert sunlight into ecosystem
services. Principles and Goals Need to
consider several levels - genes, populations,
ecosystems at the same time. Ongoing research to
collect data on the restored site to monitor
Restoration Ecology
Curtis Prairie in Wisconsin In 1934, seeds
were collected from remnants along railroad
right-of-ways and in pioneer cemeteries and
cultivated in an old field. Periodic fires
helped to establish the prairie it now serves as
a seed source for other prairies.
Restoration Ecology
Guanacaste National Park (Tropical dry forest)
In an attempt to restore a tropical dry forest
in Costa Rica, used existing livestock to
germinate seeds, fire control to help establish
forests, and intensive labor to eliminate weedy
Restoration Ecology
Rivers - The Army Corp of Engineers straightened
and drained naturally occurring meanders in
rivers. Now, after realizing the value of
wetlands along rivers as a flood control (and for
groundwater recharge), they are trying to restore
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Endangered Species Act of 1973.
Regulate activities involving endangered species,
including taking, selling, or transporting any
endangered animal. Protecting these species
often involves preserving habitats that are also
endangered, as well as the other unidentified
species using that habitat. Recovery Plans
Several success stories, 1. American Alligator,
which was overhunted for meat and skin 2.
Eagles, hawks, and falcons which were
decimated by DDT.
Definitions Resulting from Endangered Species Act
Federal Endangered - animal or plant species,
subspecies or varieties in danger of extinction
throughout all or a significant portion of their
range. These are considered "Federally-listed" or
"listed" because a final rule was published in
the Federal Register. Federal Threatened -
species, subspecies or varieties likely to become
endangered within the foreseeable future
throughout all or a significant portion of their
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Policy Responses
Population Governments can help to create the
conditions where having fewer children will make
sense, and where people have the means to reach
their desired fertility.
And if fertility can be reduced, there will
usually be environmental benefits.
Policy Responses
Consumption Realistic approach is to divert
consumption into channels with lower
environmental costs, while ensuring that people
still enjoy the end products or services they
need for dignity and comfort.
The balance of taxes and subsidies can be shifted
so as to make environmental "bads" like excessive
car or fossil-fuel use less attractive to
consumers, and environmental "goods" such as
energy-saving technology more attractive.
Policy Responses
Technology The heaviest burden will fall on the
technology element of the equation. If, as is
quite likely, the scale of the world economy
triples by 2050, then technological changes will
have to reduce the environmental impact of our
activities by two thirds - just to prevent the
present rate of damage from increasing.
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