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Lecture 22 - Global Change.docx

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Biology (Sci)
BIOL 111
Suzanne Gray

Global Change and Ecosystem Ecology In 2005, Millennium Assessment Project released first assessment of global ecosystem health.  Called for by UN Secretary General in 2001  Outlined recent, current and future trends in global ecosystem health  Experts and Review Process – Prepared by 1360 experts from 95 countries – 80-person independent board of review editors – Review comments from 850 experts and governments – Includes information from 33 sub-global assessments  “Strengthening capacity to manage ecosystem sustainably for human well-being” Rates of Global change are Global change and Anthropocene increasing dramatically. Humans have been modifying the global ecosystems. Anthropocene: current period in Earth’s history characterized by the large changes humans have had on ecosystems at a global scale  Term coined by Nobel Laureate in 2000 Global Change: planetary-scale changes in biophysical and/or socioeconomic processes altering structure and function on the Earth Why do we care about ecosystems and ecosystem health?  Services ecosystems provide: food, clean water, flood control, soil stabilization, climate regulation  UN goals linked to ecosystems: reduce/eliminate famine, disease, poverty  Collapse of an ecosystem can have substantial economic repercussions Global Change and Ecosystem Ecology Substantial and sometimes irreversible ecosystem losses over the past 50 years: Example: More land was converted to cropland in the 30 years after 1950 than in the 150 years between 1700 and 1850  20% of the world’s coral reefs were lost and 20% degraded in the last several decades  35% of mangrove area has been lost in the last several decades  Amount of water in reservoirs quadrupled since 1960 – Withdrawals from rivers and lakes doubled since 1960 5 Main Forms of Global Change: global change:  Habitat change:  Climate Change change  Invasive Exotic Species  Over-– nivasive exotic species  Pollution – ver-exploitation – ollution Past:  O•er-astloitation  Invasive exotic species – Over-exploitation Present:  Land-cover changexotic species Future• resent  Clima– Landcover change Tropical Evergreen forest is the Earth’s most species-rich biome on the planet.imate change Tropical Evergreen Forests:  Dominant Plants: trees and vines  Species richness: plants (extremely high) and animals (extremely high in mammals, birds, amphibians and arthropods)  Soil biota: very rich but poorly known Land-cover change example: Tropical Evergreen forests:  Tyranny of area: less area holds fewer species  General rule for conservation: with 90% loss of habitat area = loss in half of species that live in and depend on that habitat  Tropical evergreen forests being lost at a rate of 2% of remaining forest each year – thus 1 million species could go extinct by the end of the 21 century Global Change and Ecosystem Ecology Habitat Patch sizes are importan
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