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Environmental Studies
Rob Milne

Week One & Two Bronfenbrenner Theory: - about human behavior and the relationship between humans and the environment - help to understand development, behavior and personality Inputs – from environment ex. precipitation, sunlight Throughput – rates of flow ex. trampled vegetation of humans using system Outputs – to environment ex. products, carbon/oxygen Equilibrium: constant change is still taking place Homeostasis: keeping internal conditions steady as external conditions change Feedback: process that maintains equilibrium, can be positive (continuing ex. arctic sea ice) or negative (reversing) Gap Phase forests: tree ages and dies, opens up for other species. When we clear cut the rainforest it cannot adjust to this like the boreal Carrying capacity: the maximum population size of the species that the environment can sustain indefinitely, given the food, habitat, water and other necessities available in the environment Controls of wildlife population: population control, starvation, disease, accidents, weather, hunting, predators Threshold: once past the threshold cannot go back – level of stress and tolerance of the environment, things you cannot track Disturbance ecology: fires, disease, hurricanes, landslides, flooding Alternative stable state: one system can have more than one state, depending on what it’s been exposed to Blue Mountain: area where the most active landslides occur in Canada Systems of Niagara Escarpment: cliff face, buried face, rounded face Scarlet Tanager: after breeding settled in gaps in the forests System property: response to change or disturbance Persistence or inertia: ability of a living system to resist being disturbed or altered Constancy: ability of a living system such as a population to keep its numbers within the limits imposed by available resources Resilience: ability to restore itself to original condition Stability: linear, cause and effect, manageable and quickly returns to stable state Instability: disturbance can be absorbed, change in composition Adaptive cycle: exploitation, conservation, release, reorganization Potential: sets the limits to what is possible – number of future options available Connectedness: the certain degree to which a system can control it’s own destiny through internal controls, as distinct from being influenced by external values Resilience: determines how vulnerable a system is to unexpected disturbances that can exceed or break control Panarchy: mixture of stability and change, complex systems Revolt: occurs when fast, small events overwhelm large, slow ones, as when a small fire in a forest spreads to the crowns of trees, then to another patch, and eventually the entire forest Remember: occurs when the potential accumulated and stored in the larger, slow levels influences the reorganization. For example, after a forest fire the processes and resources accumulated at a larger level slow the leakage of nutrients, and options for renewal draw from the seed bank, physical structures and surrounding species that form a biotic legacy Week Three Small population paradigm: Community ecology: groups of species interacting Population ecology: interbreeding of groups Declining population paradigm: Landscape ecology: spatial patterns and ecological processes Behavioral ecology: individual behavior Preservation: response to loss resources – game management, maintain wilderness and ecological integrity Conservation: value in anthropogenic landscapes, local people involved in conservation Ecological integrity: a condition that is determined to be characteristic of its natural region and likely to persist, including abiotic components and the composition and abundance of native species and biological communities, rates of change and supporting processes Ecological integrity – Parks Canada: understanding of the history of the system, conservation strategies should reflect natural processes, understand ecological integrity at a landscape scale Landscape ecology: pattern of land and species matrix, biophysical processes and human interaction with environment Fragmentation: break up of natural matrix, damaging process, there are many susceptible species – loss of natural forest, patch patterns Picture above: below 30% there is a drop in ecological processes, passes the threshold Roads: major cause of fragmentation Metapopulations: also a cause of fragmentation, big populations connected to subpopulations by corridors of roads and highways Source population: produce enough young to sustain, provide excess to populate other areas Sink populations: not enough young to be sustainable – requires immigrants Credit Valley: source-sink populations Patch dynamics: patches, corridors and matrixes make up an area, parks need to be aware of the flow of energy and species from park to other areas Patch landscapes: in town, ponds, small creeks – more complex like forests and rivers Koala: population decline, you can see the patches of koala populations declining Edge habitat: produces high species diversity – game species Corridors: maintain high diversity, encourage immigration, but increased susceptibility to fire and poaching Buffers/Transition zones: strips of grass, shrubs, trees, ditches, creeks etc. Week Four Parks: have developed from isolated management to integrated management Considerations: species that take up the most room, minimum number of individuals to self-sustain, carnivores and species at risk Alberta/NWT: Wood Buffalo National Park, sustains smaller species too Island Biography: Small islands support smaller number of species Ecological islands: surrounded by water or unsuitable habitat – e.g. urban, agricultural fields Survival: equilibrium between species immigration and extinction Factors: size and distance to colonizing source SLOSS debate: Single Large or Several Small Risk of extinction: evaluating risk of population becoming extinct – population viability (vulnerability) analysis (PVA) Estimate extinction: possible events and impacts on species – carrying capacity and hunting Minimal Viable Population (MVP): small population – reduced biodiversity Genetic drift: loss of alleles or reduced gene pool – if no newcomers than not replaced Elephant seal: population was going extinct, they have increased the population but population may only have one set of genes and may not be able to adapt Hurricane Hugo: hit South Carolina – Francis Marion National Forest, killed 63% of population and destroyed 83% of nest cavities Presqu’ile Provincial Park: egg oiling, nest destruction, harassment, sharp-shooting cull Massassauga Rattlesnake: species at risk Double-crested Cormorants: threatened by pesticides, birth defects – came back and now considered a nuisance Impacts on vegetation: ground nests, tree nests Great park ecosystem: also called ecosystem based management (EBM) – integrated approach to natural resource management Pukaskwa National Park: community mapping, relevant regional land users, Bruce: protected areas, forest cover, land use, planning, Three functions of biosphere reserves: conservation of biodiversity, development – association of environment with development, logistic support – international network for research and monitoring Biosphere reserves: design Core: - Protected lands - Minimal environmental disturbance - Biodiversity/monitoring Buffer: - Environmental education - Recreation - Research station Transition or Cooperation: - Land use – farms, fisheries, towns - Government, NGO, cultural group, economic interests Week Five Traditional Systems: linkages between biodiversity hot spots and small cultural indigenous groups Biocultural diversity: link between culture and biodiversity, has there been a loss of traditional values – biodiversity persists because of cultural diversity, indigenous communities protect biological resources Indigenous communities: small demands on resources, traditional ecological knowledge (TEK), custom regulations TEK: - Sanction land use regulations, resource use - Religious beliefs support regulation - Handed down through generations - Holistic – spiritual health, language and culture - Relationship between living things and environment - Dynamic: Common sense based on teaching and experience - Local communities – active participation in management TEK examples: - James Bay Cree: staggering harvest of prey - African herders: dealing with seasonal pattern of rain and grazing conditions - Sweden: local fishing association India: sacred groves – patches of trees and vegetation protected by local community and their beliefs and rituals, keeps conservation (threats of urbanization etc.) TEK limitations: technology can override, set of species and not necessarily biodiversity, focus on local and not large, cannot compensate for environmental change TEK and adaptive management: - Adaptive: trial and error - Social learning: between and across generations - Observational - Experimentation: innovation - Protected forests: Borneo - Integrating with science: Austrailia Impact of Indigineous groups: not always good for nature Easter island: high agriculture production, soil erosion and isolated population – starving, cannibalism North American mega fauna: more than overhunting – burning of hunting grounds, introduction of exotics, disease, climate change Hunting and Gathering: practice conservation or efficiency in food/resource collected? Resource Use – Individual Strategies: two types of resource extraction (restraint or exploitation), nurturing resources or depleting them, consider resource-harvesting strategies Hunters – Foraging Strategies: natural selection – out-compete competitors, better or efficient strategies to get resources, passed on to offspring, short term gains Optimal foraging theory: used to determine – prey choice or food items, selection of preferred foods, length of time spent on foraging – patch patterns Foraging Model: everyone has their own, what they ate, choose, influences etc. Optimal Diet Breadth Model (ODB): potential prey types are ranked, profitability or energy return rate per encounter (time spent) - Prey with highest profitability pursued - Shift to lower ranked prey - Change in system because of technology - How technology changes foraging strategy Canadian Cree: introduction of guns, nets, steel traps, transport – increased speed of catch, new prey Optimal Forage Theory: what species to take, groups, technologies to invest in, other systems too such as fuel wood and pastoral subsistence (selfish) Conservation hypothesis: optimal foraging is efficiency hypothesis Hunting: hunters move from less prey regions to more, hard to measure restraint of hunters Intent to Conserve: 1. Intrinsic characteristics of the resource 2. Individual’s evaluation of benefits of resource can decay over time 3. Individual’s concern someone will steal the resource Characteristic of Resource: needs value into future, no benefit if short lived, environments favor greater restraint Discount rate (over time): favors instant benefits and deferred costs, market demand for resource Ownership: do individuals hold secure rights, issues of cooperation and community institutions Types of wildlife harvesting: - Commercial - Sustainable - Recreational - Trophy - Research - Trade Hunting Pros: - Enjoyment - Spin off jobs - Food source - Animal - Money population - Processing plants control - Tourism - Social/culture - Suppliers - Sport skills Hunting Cons: - Hunting - By catch accidents - Endangered - Habitat species disturbance - Accidental - Cruel shooting - Over hunting - Pollution - Ecosystem collapse Bambi syndrome: first strong anti-hunting message to the masses, cruel and indifferent and caused the growth of animal rights Growth of anti-hunting: urban view of nature, interpretations because of TV, feelings to nonhuman animals, legal and ethical rights Seal hunt: harp seal, controversial intense (350000) hunt in the spring on the east coast, horrible cruel killings, hunt for cod stocks to recover Subsistence hunting: arctic and subarctic, Africa – traditional uses of wild foods, substantial portions of diet Week Six & Seven Northern North America: the concern that subsistence hunting is depleting population of those already in decline, hunting out of season Co-Management: shared decision making powers, local level projects, community involvement, management from science and TEK Yukon Goose Management Plan: emperor goose is endangered Subsistence hunting: accounted for 8% of spring bird population, 70% of yearly hunting, predation and over winter mortality is the main cause of death in young birds, little potential for development of non-consumptive use of resource limited access Management issues and strategies: 50% decline in population from historic level, illegal harvest continues need for hunting closures and encourage compliance, increased risks by predators, and oil exploration Arctic Co-Management: Arctic Char – strategies include concentrating effort on abundant fish, intensive harvest and then move on, variety in fish sizes Traditional Management: distribution of effort over time, maximize catch per unit of effort (diachronic data) Transition: 1940’s shift to market economy, decline in fur industry Conventional Management: scientific information, top-down approach, decisions from a distance, maximize catch (synchronic data) Co-Management: informal and formal evolution, mutual recognition of problems, conflicts between subsistence and recreational fishers - Informal response: governmental limited catch of sport fisher, community ban on gill-net fishing - Formal response: land claims agreements, Inuit legal rights to recourses - Effective system: recognizes Inuit harvesting rights and
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