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define conservation biology

applied scientific discipline seeking to counter biodiversity loss
- response of biologists to anthropogenic impacts on natural world


what are the 3 components of conservation biology?
and what is it concerned with?

1. quantify loss and impacts
2. identify causal mechanisms
3. devise strategies to reduce impacts
concerned with long term viability of entire systems


give 2 examples of how you may quantify loss and impacts

- avian bird monitoring : farm and woodland bird species declined with 50% drop in farmland birds
- study urban development as fastest growing land used quantify impact on species richness, pop densities, genetic diversity, predate/disease risk


give 2 examples of identifying causal mechanisms

- wood warbler: 1995-2008 60% pop decline, most specialised in African wintering habitat so change here likely causal factor
- plant pollinator interactions such as between oil collecting bee and oil secreting orchid, plant decline may be due to climate change or reduced pollination in urban area


explain protected area gap analysis and skylark plots as examples of devising strategies to reduce impacts

- protected area gap analysis: gap species are threatened by extinction but not in protected areas- identify where species live without protection., analyse where higher priority gaps in protected areas, designed in relation to patterns of species
- skylark plots: decline due to switch in farming type, can spray an area of field with herbicide so natural vegetation can grow benefiting birds but many are against it making their land look poor- fields with 2 plots per hectare have significant benefits and improve foraging and breeding success of the birds


what is the noble savage concept?

in ancestral times was believed there was harmony between humans and nature but incorrect
- lower pop density= fewer resources= resource overuse= damage to natural world


give 2 examples of the noble savage concept

1. pacific islands- colonised <3000ya, over 2000 bird species extinct (10% all bird species) due to human colonisation and introduction of non native species
2. easter island- off coat S.America, colonised 318AD, deforested 1400AD, forest used for fuel, timber for houses, boat making for fishing which also led to overfishing, all natural resources lost and society extinct


what 3 main conclusions can be made from the noble savage concept?

1. human have always impacted natural world (concept is wrong)
2. some species benefit
3. are shifting baselines


- where is there higher deforestation rates?
- what % UK temperate forest
- why may rates have increased?

- tropics
- 12%
- increased pop size so more damage


why has the time taken to add 1 billion to a pop decreased and what is it thought the pop will stabilise at by the end of the century?

rapid pop growth
10 billion


- what % global available energy used by humans
- what % local energy do industrialised nations use
- what % globe bears footprint of our change
- what % fertile land is used by humans

- 20-30%
- 60-80%
- >80%
- 98%


how does human pop growth and resource use lead to loss of biodiversity?

more industry, agriculture, fisheries, forestry leading to land use and cover change, altered bio geochemical cycles, natural compounds harvested, biological invasion


what is crisp discipline?

response to rapid biodiversity loss


what other disciplines may need to be applied when identifying causal mechanisms to reduce impacts and what needs to be taken into account?

economic and social science
need to take local peoples attitudes into account and their say over the situation


whats the relationship between rate of biodiversity loss and knowledge gain?

rate of biodiversity loss > rate of knowledge gain


give 3 points about biofuels

- generally considered carbon neutral
- can't be grown on agricultural soil
- oil palm often used but has led to mass forest destruction and extinction of orang-utans may follow


what is the kakapo example?

- nocturnal parrot in New Zealand
- used to be common but declined when settler introduced domestic animals that predated them
- moved to predator free offshore island, supplements given to increase breeding to every year rather than 3-4 years
- biased sex ratio with mainly male chicks
- new resources added and sex ratio restored


what was the romantic transcendental ethic in 1850s and who were the leaders?

leaders: John muir, Henry throeu, Ralph Emerson
- semi religious idea
- believed in preservation and leaving the world untouched
- not economically value focused
- led to Sierra club,, preservationist movement, Yosemite, national park


what is the resource conservation ethic in 1900s and who were the leaders?

leaders: John mill, gifford Pinchot, teddy roosevelt
- practical approach
- aligned with ecosystem service approach
- aim to protect nature due to economic reasons
- led to multiple use concept


what is the evolutionary ecological land ethic?

- 1950s Aldo Leopold merged resource conservation ethic and romantic transcendental ethic, avoiding muirs semi religious aspect and mills strict utilitarian approach
- view that ecosystems are integrated systems based on interdependent processes and that components can't be tinkered with without risking collapse
- foundation of modern conservation


when was the first modern conservation biology textbook published and by who?

1980- Soule and Wilcox


what 2 reasons are there for why we select conservation units?

1. essential for effective and efficient planning given limited space
2. aim to protect biodiversity


how much money is actually spent on global conservation and what is the required spend fo James et al and McCarthy et al?

James: $27.5 billion required $6 billion actual (20%)
McCarthy: $78 billion required actual 10% of this


define biodiversity

the variability among living organisms within species, between species and of ecosystems


what's the difference between the units of the taxonomic and ecosystem approach as conservation units?

taxonomic: genetic diversity, populations, sub species, species

ecosystems: habitats and ecosystem services


give 6 factors about the genetic diversity unit

- diversity important for increasing pop resistance
- more diverse a pop the greater the capacity to cope with changing environments
- preserving ancestral plant species can help better breed plants and may improve yields in closely related crop species
- varies spatially
- just because is diverse doesn't mean it contains unique species
- without knowing extent of diversity this conservation unit may not be practical


define population

a group of the same species whose members can interbreed


what 3 things does having multiple populations increase the probability of and mean that you would use it as a unit?

- maximising genetic diversity
- protecting local adaptations
- insurance against local disasters


where may genetic data be lacking to determine if separate populations?

in the black pine in Europe as some species distributions are distinct but others not so obvious and can occupy many areas


what issue may focusing on populations as a unit lead to?

parochial (local not global interests) and inefficient conservation