What Strategies Do Conservation Biologists Use.docx

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University of Calgary
Biomedical Engineering
BMEN 515
William Huddleston

What Strategies Do Conservation Biologists Use?  Protected areas – an important component of efforts to preserve biological diversity ■ preserve habitats while preventing the human exploitation of the species living there may serve as nurseries from which individuals disperse into exploited areas ■ The fundamental requirement for the conservation of biological diversity is the in situ conservation of ecosystems and natural habitats and the maintenance and recovery of viable populations of species in their natural surroundings – United Nations Convention ■ How to select areas being protected  Species richness – the number of species living in an area  then umber of endemic species  biodiversity “hotspots” occupy 15.7% of Earth's land surface but are home to 77% of Earth's terrestrial vertebrate species ■ hotspots are also regions of high human populations whee habitat destruction is a major problem  WWF identified 200 regions of great conservation importance, including marine areas, tundra, boreal forests and deserts  conservation biologists have analyzed distributions of animals and have identified 595 centers of imminent extinction ■ the sites harbor 794 species judged to be at serious risk of extinction  Restoration ecology – methods that attempt to restore natural habitats ■ many degraded ecosystems will not recover without human assistance  many grassland habitats grow on rich soils but humans have converted them to agricultural use ■ North American prairies have been converted to cropland or have been used to domesticate livestock ■ 2 a major prairie restoration is underway in northeastern Montana to restore 15 000km  This project is feasible form any reasons: ■ the private land is owned by a small number on ranchers and each ranch owns extensive grazing leases on nearby public lands ■ most of the land has never been plowed, so native vegetation is most likely to recover when grazing pressure is reduced ■ the area is steadily losing its human population  the American Prairie Foundation is buying ranches and restoring wildlife and black- footed ferrets, the most endangered mammal in North America  many species depend on particular patterns of disturbances on the landscape such as fires and windstorms  conservation biologists work to assess whether reestablishment of historic disturbance patterns can help preserve biodiversity  many plant species require periodic fires for successful establishment and survival but however controlled burning is a common forest management tool ■ scars in the annual growth rings of trees preserve evidence of past fires that didn't kill them ■ researchers can determine when fires occurred, how severe they were and when fire patterns changed  annual growth rings showed that low-intensity fires were common near L.A until 1900  after that cattle and sheep grazing and fire suppression reduced the frequency of low-intensity fires  without these fires, dead branches and needles accumulate in forests  the belief that human know how to create functioning ecosystems has resulted in policies that make it easy to get permits for developments that destroy habitats  regulators believe that alternate wetlands can be created and so allow existing wetlands to be destructed ■ in southern California, 90% of coastal wetlands have been destroyed and wetland restoration is a high priority ■ since the species have been lost, it is not easy to reintroduce the species ■ previous attempts to create wetlands have failed and so established a large field experiment to discover why  found that experimental plots planted with species-rich mixtures developed a complex vegetation structure  species-rich plots accumulated nitrogen faster  many people would like to consume only natural products that have been harvested in ways that protect biodiversity and ecosystem productivity  Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) – established criteria that a forest products company must meet for its products to be certified ■ had most impact on forest management in temperate zones but certification of tropical
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