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Conservation Biology - 1. Introduction to Conservation Biology

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BIOL 3130
Andrew Mac Dougall

Conservation Biology Lecture Notes1 Introduction to Conservation BiologyWhy Conservation BiologyExpanding human demandsEvery natural ecosystem has been changed most profoundly changedExtinctions altered functioning of ecosystems reduced availability of resources soil erosionCause The worlds human population is currently 64 billion people and is growing Some historical contextHumans mayhave been responsible for megafauna extinctions in the Americas shortly after human colonization from Asia about 11000 years agoAristotle 382 334 BC commented on the widespread destruction of forests in the Baltic RegionBarren landscapes of Turkey Syria Iraq and Iran are unnatural deserts that resulted from massive exploitation of fragile woodlandsIndia Bangladesh and Pakistan major changes over the past 2000 yearsDeforestation of Europe by the early 18th Century forest areasmaintained as private game management and royal preservesthIn Great Britain many of the native forests were gone by the 12 CenturySoutheastern Ontario has been largely deforested during the past 150 yearsBut never like todayWe now consume a large fraction of the planets resourcesWe now consume 2040 of the planets annual net primary productivity energy from the sun transformed to plant biomass35 of the NPP from oceanic shelvesWe also consume 60 of freshwater runoff irrigation drinking waterConsumption is highly unequalUS 4 of the worlds population but 30 oil consumption83 of the earthland surface shows evidence of our impactsAgricultureUrbanity suburban sprawl roadsPollutionFertile grasslands98Room for optimism SurePopulation growth rates are declining in many regions growth rates are negative in some countries
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