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FOR200H1 Final: FOR200 Exam Review

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Dr.Faisal Moola
Study Guide

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FOR200 Exam Review
The biodiversity crisis:
17000 species are at risk of extinction on earth
Birds, mammals, conifers and amphibians are all particularly at risk (in
ascending order)
Climate change alone might commit an additional fifteen to thirty seven percent
of extant species to premature extinction
Causes of the biodiversity crisis:
Alteration, fragmentation or destruction of species habitat by humans
oSome species need very large habitats, some are specific in habitat
oEx: wetlands being drained for human purposes (urban development or
agriculture)  Oregon spotted frog losing habitat  only three hundred
breeding females
Overexploitation of species, including logging
oGrizzly bears are vulnerable to overhunting (population grows at a very
slow rate, mortality for young bears is high)
Introduction of exotic species into ecosystems where they aren’t native
oAmerican bullfrog is outcompeting the Oregon spotted frog (only in the
Fraser valley in B.C)  stronger, aggressive, and eating adult Oregon
spotted frogs
Climate change
Human Health and Welfare:
Humanity in the long-term is dependent on the maintenance of the world’s
Ecosystem services are currently being degraded or used unsustainably
U.N Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA)
According to the 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (4 year global effort
to assess the state of the global environment comprised of 1300 scientists from
all around the world), two-thirds of the evaluated benefits to society are from
ecosystem (ex: bee populations  Natural capital  coffee is worth billions of
dollars but couldn’t be produced without pollinators)
Ecosystem services include:
Provisioning services such as food, fuels and fibers
Regulating services that affect the climate, disease outbreaks, wastes and
Cultural services that provide aesthetic, recreational and spiritual value
Supporting services such as nutrient cycling and water purification and storage
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Provides by insects, birds and bats
Pollinators are economically important to the global economy (apples, soy
beans, coffee depend on pollinators)
Carbon storage in intact ecosystems:
Great Bear Rainforest (large and intact temperate rainforest)
Stores billions of tons of carbon dioxide  Acts as a hedge against runaway
climate change  So long as trees are alive carbon is out of the atmosphere
When it dies it will seep into atmosphere over centuries of decomposition 
Burning it releases too much carbon too fast
15-20% of GHG emissions come from the destruction and degradation of large
intact ecosystems
British Columbia:
Large mammals, large forests
3600 plants and animals found here  Scientists believe there are 50 thousand
Rich in biodiversity  Most biodiversity in Canada and North America
Has large species like grizzlies, cougars, wolverines and wolves  Need enough
habitat to roam
Grizzly bear range used to extend to Mexico, but its range has contracted to
British Columbia and the territories and Alaska  Over 50 % of Canada’s
grizzlies are in British Columbia
Greater sage-grouse, greenish blue butterfly, dragon lake whitefish, western
pong turtle, white tailed jackrabbit, coastal blue grass  All species that have
gone extinct
Humans are accelerating some extinctions  We’ve lost 49 species in B.C
Dawson’s caribou  Small antlered and lived in old growth forests but went
Spotted owl is on its way out
IUCN Policy there are a series of categories that rank level of endangered species
Range from secure species (S5)  Blackbear
S1  Spotted owl, mountain caribou
SH (Animal is no longer In the wild)  Vancouver Island Wolverine
SX  No longer exists anywhere like the dodo
1300 species in BC will be in one of the red categories
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Extinct or
Secure (S4)
Secure (S5) Other (SNR,
SU, SNA or
Conservation Status
Proportion of Species and Subspecies
47% of fish are endangered
67% reptiles
43% vascular plants
47% amphibians
18% terrestrial mammals
17% birds
A lot of the species at risk are in high danger zones  4 hotspots
What makes a hotspot?
Species at the outer extent of their range
Always rare
Intensively impacted by human land-use and threats
Why are species endangered?
Those that are endangered are just at the edge of their range  example:
spotted owl population just pops up into southern BC
Species are just found to be very rare  Not in great numbers and are unlikely
to recover  Example: Mountain caribou live in small herds in subalpine
Species whose habitat is being hammered by human impact  Grizzlies are
large and need a lot of area to roam and humans are getting in their way
Hotspots of species at risk
Extinction spots in S. Vancouver Island, the lower mainland, rocky mountain
trench and the Okanagan valley
Number of hotspots is disproportionate to number of species at risk
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