Flashcards in Conservation Deck (139):
What is meant by biodiversity?
: the variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial marine + other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are a part; this includes diversity within a species, between species + of ecosystems" - convention of biological diversity
"The variety of life" - Gaston 2010
how can you quantify biodiversity?
No single measure will suffice
number: (species richness) Or Heterogeneity (Diversity index)
What is a disadvantage of using species richness to quantify biodiversity?
doesn't consider differences in occurrence between counts) - doesn't tell you how many of each species just number of species; gives a narrow perspective
how do we measure biodiversity?
traditional tools / environmental DNA
what is the advantage / disadvantage of eDNA to measure biodiversity?
from faeces, mucus etc; Can identify organisms present in habitat even if not present at exact time of sampling: broader measure
o Good for detecting traditionally elusive species
o Currently only available for well-funded research
What are biodiversity hotspots?
where there are peaks in biodiversity
what is the underlying problem with biodiversity?
Why is population growth a problem for biodiversity?
people compete with other organisms
More humans = fewer resources (food/space/light) for other organisms
what is the equation for the impact on biodiversity?
I = PAT equation (Holdren & Ehrlich 1974; Ehrlich & Ehrlich 1981)
o I = impact on biodiversity;
o P = population size;
o A = affluence (measured as per capita consumption);
o T = technologies & socio-political-economic arrangements to service that consumption.
what did new bold et al., 2015 say about biodiversity
"Human activities, especially conversion and degradation of habitats, are causing global biodiversity declines"
What does nature do for us?
Use Frameworks to simplify things:
2. Ecosystem services
What are use values of biodiversity?
1) Direct. e.g. fruit (direct benefit by eating)
2) Indirect e.g. decomposition, use trees that have utilised nutrients produced by decomposition
What are non-use values of biodiversity?
1) Option value- Keeping something gives option to use it in the future (medicine? plants in the Amazon that we don't know of yet that may help to cure problems.)
2) Bequest value - Idea of leaving something desirable for future generation
3) Existence/intrinsic value - Idea that biodiversity has value even in absence of humans, it has a right and reason to exist even in absence of humans
What is the Millenium ecosystem assessment (MEA)
o Called for by UN Secretary General in 2000
o Largest assessment of health of ecosystems
o Includes information from 33 sub-global assessments
o Authorized by governments through 4 conventions
o Prepared by 1360 experts from 95 countries
o Reviewed by 850 experts and governments
what is the objective of the MEA?
"To assess the consequences of ecosystem change for human well-being and the scientific basis for actions needed to enhance the conservation and sustainable use of those systems and their contribution to human well-being."
What types of ecosystem services are there?
What are the indirect drivers (reasons) of change (MEA)?
o Cultural & religious
What are the direct drivers (reasons) of change (MEA)?
o Changes in local land use and cover
o Species introduction and removal
o Technology adaptation and use
o External inputs
o Harvest and resource consumption
o Climate change
o Natural, physical and biological drivers
What is Natural Capital?
Natural capital can be defined as the world's stocks of natural assets which include geology, soil, air, water and all living things. It is from this natural capital that humans derive a wide range of services, often called ecosystem services, which make human life possible.
o Nursery and adult fishery habitat
o Fuelwood & timber
o Carbon sequestration
o Traps sediment
o Detoxifies pollutants
o protection from erosion & disaster
What are the threats to biodiversity?
o Habitat destruction& fragmentation
o Invasive alien species
o Climate change
o Fire & Pollution
o Land use change (Agriculture) is still a threat but climate change is becoming more of an issue.
What are some causes of climate changes?
Fossil fuel burning, deforestation, Raising livestock + fertilising crops.
Why does agriculture contribute to climate change?
Clearing land for Agriculture (soya, grazing livestock - bad for methane emissions; manure turnover, fermentation in cows; fertiliser production accounts for 1.2% of global greenhouse gas emissions. (not inc. the transport, spraying + machinery). If you spray an excess of N2, it is converted by microbes into Nitric oxide.
Agriculture accounts for:
o 50% of the anthropogenic CH4 (methane) emissions
o 80% of anthropogenic N2O (nitrous oxide) emissions
How does melting permafrost affect the environment?
Permafrost = permanently frozen ground in high latitudes (warming atmosphere íthawing í release of Co2 + methane trapped in ice.
How does ocean acidification lead to reduced calcification?
Co2 absorbed by oceans which means H+ ions are released. These combine with Calcium carbonate, reducing the calcium carbonate available for calcification
What is calcification?
the deposition of calcium carbonate into skeletons and shells of lots of marine organisms.
What is permafrost and how does it contribute to global wawarming?
permanently frozen ground in high latitudes (warming atmosphere íthawing í release of Co2 + methane trapped in ice.
What is the Paris climate accord 2015?
International pledge to limit global warming to below 2 deg C (above pre-industrial levels). Pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 deg C.
Require best efforts through "intended nationally determined contributions" (INDCs) and for all Parties to report emissions on a regular basis.
What effects does climate change have on biodiversity?
Migration in birds
phenology changes (flowering date + leaf flush earlier)
What is the positive feedback loop of rising sea levels?
melting of snow rises sea levels but snow and ice are reflective so reflect heat so when melted they don't, further warming the atmosphere.
why do changes in precipitation negatively effect the environment?
knock on effects: need the land for growing crops + livestock, aldo cause more + stronger cyclones + cause changes in distribution of land mammals depending on species and where they live.
What is 'Landscape change'?
o a reduction in total amount of original vegetation
o subdivision of remaining vegetation into fragments (
o introduction of new land-use to replace lost vegetation
What are the different stages of landscape change? (Framework for Conceptualising Human Effects on Landscapes)
Main changes to the landscape?
o Reduced area/size
o increased isolation of fragments (which increase the edge effect)
o edge effects (increase of straight edges: borders around the edge, which is influenced by the climatic conditions on the edge)
MacArthur and Wilson (1967) onIsland biogeography
Number of species that an exist on an island is decided by size and isolation/remoteness of the island.
Isolation effects species
1. Regular movements
2. Seasonal/migratory movements
3. Dispersal movements between fragments (gene flow, recolonisation of populations, etc.)
What is a metapopulation?
A metapopulation is a group of populations that are separated by space but consist of the same species. These spatially separated populations interact as individual members move from one population to another.
What are wildlife corridors + example of animals that use it
- link of wildlife habitat (in-between non-habitat), generally native vegetation, which joins two or more larger areas of similar wildlife habitat.
- critical for the maintenance of ecological processes including allowing for the movement of animals and the continuation of viable populations
- e.g. Christmas Island red crab migration.
What is the matrix and why important?
Land between habitat fragments and changes in the matrix may be important to conservation (most the benefits were witnessed in the first 10% of the pine tree cover in the matrix).
7 drivers of habitat loss
(the biggest cause)
5. (beam) Trawling
6. Urban Sprawl
7. Light pollution
tree cover loss vs deforestation
Deforestation = wipe out all trees in one area
Tree cover loss = measurement of tree cover from sky (tree might have lost leaves but is not necessarily dead)
--> Big spike in tree cover loss (2016) might be due to big forest fires.
What is beam trawling?
Beam trawling is one of the most destructive form of bottom trawling, in which a large net attached to a heavy metal beam is dragged across the sea bed behind a boat, digging into and ploughing up the ground.
What is phototaxis?
Phototaxis is a kind of taxis, or locomotory movement, that occurs when a whole organism moves towards or away from stimulus of light.
Many animals attracted to light (e.g. moths) --> positively phototactic.
Many nocturnal animals are light-shy/intolerant --> negatively phototactic.
Why do small populations face different risks in terms of conservation?
o Conservationists concerned about what happens to small populations
o Small populations = higher (but variable) risk of extinction
o Small population size in itself does not necessarily mean that extinction will occur
o E.g. Himalayan tahr and Passenger pigeon
What is population viability analysis? (PVA)
" General rule: isolated pops with little or no immigration have reduced viability if small
" Minimum viable population size = min. no of individuals needed for a pop to be viable (diff for diff species)
problems with PVA
what is a solution?
o Social factors
o calculating size doesn't take into account Basic population processes
o If you have Species below MVP level people tend to give up on sp - "no hope" so it can be dangerous.
o PVA ignores whether habitat also viable - for a sp to be viable, the habitat needs to be viable.
So now focus on PHVA - population and habitat viability analysis
What is a solution to conserve populations vulnerable to Environmental stochasticity and natural catastrophes
have a back up population on other islands / in. other forests
what are components of Demographic stochasticity
a. Carrying capacity
b. Maximum sustainable yields
c. Threshold responses
What is carrying capacity?
the natural limit set on populations by availability of resources = K.
Fluctuates arooung the limits: pops aren't stable.
There is some kind of limiting resource at K (normally food but also:Availability of nest sites is the limiting resource for wood peckers
What effects carrying capacity?
o Interspecific competition - one species affects resources available to another (Carrying capacity depends on how many sp in your pop you compete with)
o Different habitats (CC will be different in different habitats)
Competition can cause niche specialisation.
What are the two ways in which populations may grow?
Irruptive growth - explosions and crashes
o Regulated by resource availability
o Wide variation around carrying capacity
o Typical r-strategists
o Few species
o E.g. algae + algal blooms
Logistic growth - Sigmoidal curve
o Growth rate regulated by intrinsic factors (density-dependent mortality, birth rates)
o Typical K-strategists
o Most species
Why are small populations more at risk of pop crashes?
- likely to be at the slow growth rate + if mortality rate ↑ / birth rate not as high, it can cause a crash + extinction.
In small populations - individuals reproductive rate high but numbers low
What is Maximum sustainable yield and what are the risks?
Populations best sustain losses at inflection point K/2
Risk: Population declines to extinction even if mortality rate only slightly higher (i.e. if you miscalculate K can cause crashes).
What are the problems with applying MSY?
1. Very difficult to get accurate estimates of population size: pops aren't stable + fluctuate (so hard to get K/2)
2. Carrying capacity changes; impossible to estimate
3. Basic demographic data rare - can be diff to establish + vary between populations
4. Difficult to get measures of other forms of mortality (natural death rates)
5. Social systems, mating strategies, often unknown
6. Pays to over-harvest long-lived species, drive extinct - e.g. fur and elephant tusks: only allowed 1.5% a year but if becoming extinct then the limited tusks become more vulnerable so for an individual trader it is beneficial.
What are the three main types of responses of British mammals to habitat fragmentation?
which animals do these tend to affect?
1. Type 1 response: population declines to threshold then crashes to extinction (semi-natural species - otter + pigeon)
2. Type 2 response: initial small ↑ then increasing decline to extinction (Edge species - door mice + bats: like bit of habitat frag (like the difference between the two))
3. Type 3 response: marked rapid increases, peak, then slow decline to extinction (Mosaic species - deer + badges - do well with some frag but with too much they ↓)
What are the components of genetic stochasticity
A What is the species pool of genetic diversity?
B Is heterozygosity important?
C How is genetic diversity lost?
D How do we help maintain genetic diversity?
E What is effective population size?
what are the three levels of genetic diversity of the species pool?
1. Variation within individuals
2. Variation within populations
3. Variation between populations
What are the problems with assuming that heterozygosity is important?
o Correlations between fitness and heterozygosity are weak (evidence HZ good for repro success weak)
o Heterozygosity in natural populations ranges between 0-30%
o Don't know mechanisms of how heterozygosity is translated into
How is genetic diversity lost?
1. Founder effects
2. Demographic bottleneck
3. Genetic drift.
What is heterosis
o Hybrid vigour / outbreeding enhancement
when Offspring are as fit as they're going to be
What is effective population size?
number of individuals in population who contribute offspring to next generation
How can you calculate effective population size?
what are the problems with it?
With the 50/500 rule: attempts to quantify minimum viable population sizes
- min effective pop of 50 will limit deleterious effects of inbreeding; longer term min effective pop = 500 will maintain genetic variation for adaptive evolution.
probs: o 50/500 rule from population genetics: to allow for non-breeders, need 100/200 and 1000/2000 respectively for birds and mammals
o Gives enetics undue importance; ignores environmental and demographic extinction factors
o Figure of 500 from lab studies maize, Drosophila, yeast - not good models for large species of endangered birds and mammals
What problems do small pops face?
what are some of the claims that zoos make?
1. "zoos are an ark"
2. Zoo stock can be used to boost wild populations
3. Zoo stock is from captive breeding rather than wild caught
How many species in uk zoos have been reintroduced to the wild?
<1% endangered species in UK zoos have been reintroduced to the wild
is the 50/500 paradigm met in zoos?
o Zoos in the world have the capacity to hold 200,000 individual mammals
o 507 threatened species of mammal (at time of study)
o There was space to keep 500 of each threatened mammal
o Only had half the threatened mammals and of these they had < 50 individuals
o Only 6.5% exceeded 500 individuals
what are some features of successful reintroductions?
1) Successful release projects carried out twice as long (12 years) as unsuccessful projects (5 years) - if we want a successful reintro: run for long time
2) Used over twice as many animals (726 versus 336)
o Need hundreds of animals for successful reintroduction
o Zoos generally far fewer animals than needed for reintroductions
should reintroduction of animals be ex-situ or in-situ?
o Translocating wild animals at least twice as successful as using captive-bred animals
o To reintro into an area: translocate already wild animals from one area to another than to have bred in a zoo.
o Captive-bred animals maintain both beneficial and deleterious traits. - can be a lot of inbreeding + not a lot of NS so hold onto deleterious traits.
o What do animals do in cages? Environmental enrichment does not prepare them for life in the wild
o Many animals in zoos and aquaria trained for entertainment
which kind of animals do we need for reintroduction programmes? how does this differ from which type are used?
o Best sexual condition
o Most likely to breed
o Least selective of their partners
but we breed ones best for keeping: least disturbed by human proximity, least disturbed by separation; least exacting in their environmental requirements; least picky in mate choice.
how was the release of Tamarins
o Put the tamarins insitu: cages in the forest they were going to put them into:
o Learnt to navigate habitat
o Learnt what was edible
o Protected from predators
o By 2000, total free living population 1000 tamarins
o 424 from captive stock
How did carl Jones save the Mauritius kestrel?
1) First helped the kestrels breed safely (had high predation of nests from rats + monkeys so created nests so they couldn't get).
2) First clutch of eggs removed and captive reared. Kestrels laid again (2 broods a year)
3) Wild birds supplementary fed so all chicks survived (captive ones fine, wild fed to ensure survival)
4) Captive Chicks only reared until old enough to tear food (25-34 days).
5) Put captive chicks in nest boxes in release sites, fed in situ whilst learnt to hunt
6) Extensive predator control at release sites. - so could all survive to adulthood.
7) Some chicks fostered into wild nests
what are the key reasons for success in the reintroduction of the Mauritius kestrel?
Key reasons for success
o Only short captive period
o Released birds supported
o Close monitoring of successes and failures
o Studied the birds so knew the problem
o Now there are 800-1000 kestrels in three populations
o 1994 down listed to vulnerable
o No more need for direct conservation action - very successful
what is cheaper - in situ or ex situ conservation?
o 4300 protected areas developing world
o Management budget for protected areas was £325 million
o 1980s world's zoos/aquaria cost £2 billion per annum
o Reserves outnumber zoos 4:1
o So allocation of resources is 25:1 zoos:reserves
o Costs 50 times more keep African elephants and black rhinos in zoos as in wild
So should use in situ + reserves not zoos.
Describe the four approaches of conservation (nature reserve lecture) --> framing of conservation
1) Nature for itself
2) Nature despite People
3) Nature for People
4) People and Nature
How has 'The Nature Conservancy' changed its focus and where else is that the case?
The Nature Conservancy changed focus from preservation, toward exploiting opportunities for conservation outcomes that businesses will invest in for their own benefit.
Ditto in New Zealand - conservation led by local community groups.
What are the 'well-established metrics' used to measure conservation success?
1) Changes in the number of species (red data book lists)
2) Number of nature reserves
But the "nature for people" and "people and nature" approaches need metrics that link nature to human well-being --> much harder to do.
What is the The SLOSS debate (1970's)?
The SLOSS debate - one of the most contentious debates in conservation
SLOSS= "Single Large Or Several Small" and concerns to two different approaches to land conservation.
"Bigger is better" vs all "all eggs in one basket"
Name 2 important scientists involved in the SLOSS debate.
1) Jared Diamond
1975: One big area is better - based on island biography theory
1) Dan Simberloff
Smaller areas can have more species
Why is the SLOSS debate moot/arbitrary?
Working with conservation practitioners - it's actually an arbitrary debate as you don't actually get to choose which nature reserves to buy in this way.
How has the abundance of species and the occupancy of nature reserves fallen according to the State of Nature Report 2016?
Since 1970 abundance has fallen by 67% and occupancy by 35%.
According to data from Germany on insects, 2017, what is the warning given by the Krefeld Entomological Society and why?
"Warning of ecological Armageddon after dramatic plunge in insect numbers"
> 75% loss of insects
What area of land is protected in conservation-active countries?
Protected areas are one of the most important tools in modern conservation, with over 100,000 sites covering about 12% of the area of countries and their territorial waters worldwide"
What are some of the drawbacks of nature reserves?
o Many species and habitats are not properly protected
o 0.01% of the global extent of coral reefs occurs within effective protected areas.
o 20% of the world's threatened bird species do not overlap at all with protected areas
o 83% of threatened plants in New Caledonia are found only outside protected areas.
Fuller et al. (2010)
What is the Lawton Report and what does it say?
It's a natural environment (government) white paper. The report was chaired by Professor Sir John Lawton CBE FRS and looked to investigate ways of better connecting England’s wildlife to strengthen ecological networks and encourage nature to thrive against the pressures of climate change and increased rural development.
1) Establishing a coherent and resilient ecological network
2) Improving the ability of the natural environment to provide for people's needs.
3)Call for more ecological networks and for them to become "bigger, better and more joined up".
What is the 'Great Fen' project?
The Great Fen is a 50-year project to create a huge wetland area. One of the largest restoration projects of its type in Europe, the landscape of the fens between Peterborough and Huntingdon is being transformed for the benefit both of wildlife and of people.
To date, some 55.5% of the required land has been aquired by the project, although some of this may remain in arable production for some years to come.
Explain Land sharing vs Land sparing and which one is more beneficial to conservation?
Land sharing-involves integrating biodiversity conservation and food production on the same land, using wildlife-friendly farming methods.
Land sparing- separating land for conservation from land for crops, with high-yield farming facilitating the protection of remaining natural habitats from agricultural expansion.
Most species would have higher populations under land sparing than under land sharing or intermediate yield farming. This result is consistent across taxa and countries.
What is one idea that could potentially benefit conservation but is difficult to apply?
Replace the least cost-effective 1% of Australia's (sell them etc - not without its challenges) with the most cost effective (i.e. the most biodiversity).
--> very rapid increase in system performance
Cost neutral - cost of selling land (nature reserves!) used to buy new reserves. Very contentious (popular opinion on selling nature reserves?) but could be highly effective.
What is a threat to habitats?
What is ecological memory?
allows communities to reorganise following disturbance
Is organic or non-organic farming best for farms? why?
Organic farming: restores species richness
more species on organic farms vs conventional farms
increased parasitoid richness provides a significantly more reliable pest control service on the organic farms
what is the Making Space for Nature on the Marlborough Downs approach?
41 farmers and many other collaborators
oNature Improvement Area (NIA)
o3 year pilot, with 12 separate schemes, to test landscape restoration (testing Lawton)
What is the big three of the Avalon marshes?
- Bittern, marsh harrier and Great White Erget
What does restoration of ecological processes involve?
plants, pollinators & parasites
How did the reintroduction of wolves in to Yellowstone national park change it?
killed some deer so vegetation + trees grew back, song birds + migratory birds moved in
o Beavers increased because they like the trees + these are ecosystem engineers like wolves:
" Dams they bult in the rivers provided habitats for otters, muskrats, ducks, fish, reptiles + amphibians
- Wolves killed coyotes í more rabbits + mice í ↑ hawks, weasels, foxes + badges. Ravens + bald fed on carrion wolves left + bears also fed on this + increased to, also because more berries on the trees
What is habitat creation?
Creating a dynamic community of interacting plants and animals that should increase in diversity over time
What is habitat restoration?
Attempts to restore existing degraded semi-natural vegetation.
What is habitat transplantation?
Removal of habitat from a donor to a receptor site
Name the 4 types of habitat creation
Natural colonisation, Political habitats, Framework habitats, Designer habitats
What is Natural colonisation?
Allowing natural processes to determine the habitats developing on an unmodified site
what are Political habitats?
Attractive and interesting habitats for people in urban areas. Educational and propaganda role and do not attempt to reproduce a particular target habitat
What are Framework habitats?
Engineering restoration undertaken on the topography (soil, drainage) to provide a framework where natural colonisation can take place
what are Designer habitats?
Complete landscaping to a pre-determined design. Managed to ensure conformity to original plan
Is habitat creation a substitute for the genuine article and why?
o Habitat creation is never a substitute for the genuine article
o Fails to deliver naturalness continuity and complexity
o Preserving habitats should always be the ecologically preferred option
What is habitat banking?
Provision of compensatory habitat where developments damage or destroy primary nature of conservation interest and compensatory measures are undertaken to offset that impact of habitat loss in order to achieve sustainable development
What us the the role of habitat creation in conservation?
1. In areas where the natural environment has already been damaged
2. Provides a philosophy and means to reverse long-term trend of habitat loss
3. Increasing important due to huge habitat losses experienced in recent decade
4. As a means to extend nature conservation
How can we use habitat creation?
1. Provide new habitats for wildlife to colonise
2. Form a buffer to semi-natural habitats and protect vulnerable boundaries
3. Can link fragmented habitat patches of high value
4. Educational function
5. Can replace habitats of low economic value
What are the limitations of habitat creation?
1) Problem: Some habitats are not re-creatable in realistic timescales
2) Problem: Lack of surrounding wildlife
3)Problem: Timescale needed to create habitat of comparable quality
4)Problem: Knowledge of abiotic requirements for some habitats are poor
5)Problem: Suitable conditions are rare
Why do projects for habitat creation fail?
1) Not fully thought out at the planning stage
2) Too ambitious should have been scaled down to match resources available
3) Too little attention paid to soils of proposed habitat creation site.
4) Aftercare (long term financial commitment) not sufficiently addressed
5) Site monitoring was inadequate to determine if project was achieving objectives.
We should consider for habitat creation projects?
1) Deciding the choice of species:
2) Project planning, including monitoring and aftercare
3) Set clear objectives
4) Choosing the right site and appropriate habitat:
5) Land ownership and access to land questions
6) Targeting the required vegetation
What are the issues with wetland creation?
1) Flood risk to people living on peninsula
2) Area of compensatory habitat needed to be found
What are the solutions for the issues with wetland creation?
1) Flood defence for homes
3) Current farm land will become part of intertidal habitat, develop own habitat and become agricultural again
What are the Considerations for wetland creation?
Protected species badgers (sets created), Water voles and Great crested news displaced
What are artificial reefs and what role do they play?
o Human-made underwater structure that mimic natural reef habitats.
o Typically built to promote marine life in areas with a generally featureless bottom
o To control erosion, block ship passage, or improve surfing.
o Oil platform that has be recommissioned
What is the Opposition that some people have against artificial reefs?
o Inconsistent with artificial reef guidelines (sites should be selected on the ecosystem needs not on where the oil platforms are)
o Pollution (oil platforms contain toxic materials)
o Invasive species
o Safety Hazards (debris in the ocean)
o Liability (who's liable?)
. What is rewilding and what does it do?
o Rewilding ensures that natural processes and wild species lay a prominent role in the land and sea scapes.
o After initial support, nature is allowed to take care of itself
o Rewilding helps landscapes become wilder
o Provides opportunities for modern societies to reconnect with such wilder places
Schepers and Jepson (2016). Rewilding in a European context.
What does rewilding involve?
- Supporting nature-based economies
Increasing species abundance
Restoring living systems
How are beaves ecosystem engineers?
Damn rivers and create ponds
Affect water flow, sediment depositions. Impacts the water shed. Floods surrounding area creating marshland
Ponds for birds to feed in, fish to spawn in, amphibians to live in
What is a trophic cascade?
When a top predator drives ecological processes from the top of the food chain to the bottom
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE TROPHIC CASCADE if a dominant predator is removed?
prey-pop explodes --> decreases in overall diversity
Why are people against reintroducing the lynx to the UK?
- May pose a threat to humans - solitary + nocturnal so not really a threat: don't like to be around humans
- May pose a threat to livestock (sheep) - they will predate sheep: most attacks in Europe are where the sheep graze on woodland so there would be loss, but in the UK the reintro would be far from where the sheep are so wouldn't overlap + should be ok.
Why does restoring the grasslands in tundra habitats help us to battle global warming?
WITHOUT: Air temperature falls to -40°C in winter, Ground level comparatively warm -5 °C under intact snow cover, As soil above warms, permafrost melts - Vegetation accumulated here decomposes and releases methane and carbon dioxide
WITH: Big herds of grazers trample the snow and break up snow cover
Ground level becomes -30°C ; Keeps the permafrost permenantly frozen; Overall restores grasslands and helps battle against climate change
Arguments for rewilding
Help nature recover
Look after ourselves
Return missing species
Keep us healthy
Arguments against rewilding?
Carnivores may pose a threat to humans
Increased livestock predation
Increased spread of diseases
Invasive species risk
Wildways need to be large enough so species can persist
Maehr et al. (2001)
How are ecosystem services valued?
Ask the UK public about their willingness to pay to conserve insect pollinators for:
1) Maintaining food supplies
2) The aesthetic benefits of diverse wildflower assemblages.
What did Breeze et al. (2015) estimate the value of ecosystem services to be + how?
o Willingness to pay was high
o No difference between the two types of service (food & aesthetics)
o Estimated value: £379M - £695M, equivalent to £13.4 - £24.6 payment per UK taxpayer.
o Provided for free by pollinators!
o Know it's value - so can include this when making decisions
Why may flies be more valuable than honey bees?
o Wild insects pollinated crops more effectively than honeybees; an increase in wild insect visitation enhanced fruit set by twice as much as an equivalent increase in honey bee visitation.
o Pollination by managed honey bees supplements, rather than substitutes pollination by wild insects.
o Honeybees can be locally important, e.g. almonds in USA
o Need to conserve, restore and manage wild pollinators more effectively.
Why are salt marshes important?
marsh provides an ecosystem service of flood protection
o If no salt marsh: sea wall costs c. £5 million per km
o Salt marsh: 10% of this cost
o Act as a giant sponge and absorb large amounts of water
o But many salt marshes have been drained for agriculture or housing
o "Coastal squeeze" - fixed sea wall and rising sea levels
How will climate change make flooding worse?
o One hundred year forecasting carried out for Network Rail predicts that the 2014 type of storm could become a yearly occurrence
o Within 50 years the main rail line could be hit by severe weather once in every four years instead of the present one in every 25.
o Climate change increases the occurrence of extreme events - rain, wind, temperature etc.
How do beavers prevent flooding?
o Dig channels into the land: up to 100m: diverts water away from the main water course + the network of channels deflects water from the main channel + thus ↓ chance of flash flooding events
o 400ya extinct in the wild but now reintroduced
o In 1939: skills recognised in USA: collect wood + dams í prevent rivers from silting up
o Evidence to show that beavers will put 40x more water behind their tructures (channels + damns, but create soils in their habitat that acts as sponges + help soak water into the land + stop it going down stream and flooding towns + cities.
what is a salt marsh?
a coastal ecosystem in the upper coastal intertidal zone between land and open saltwater or brackish water that is regularly flooded by the tides. It is dominated by dense stands of salt-tolerant plants such as herbs, grasses, or low shrubs. These plants are terrestrial in origin and are essential to the stability of the salt marsh in trapping and binding sediments. Salt marshes play a large role in the aquatic food web and the delivery of nutrients to coastal waters. They also support terrestrial animals and provide coastal protection.
What is Transdiciplinary approach?
"Transdisciplinary approaches go beyond interdisciplinary consultation and require a team of researchers and other interested parties, such as practitioners and managers, to address a problem collaboratively from the start of a project".
Virapongse et al (2016) Journal of Environmental Management 178 (2016) 83e91
what was the approach for The Interagency Bison Management Plan (management of bison in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem)
Interagency Bison Management Plan (2010) - a cooperative effort led by state, federal, and tribal entities.
This group aimed to collectively develop a systemic worldview of the problem and to find new strategies for bison and Brucellosis management.
o Better data
o Better communication
o Better outputs for all
What is A systemic worldview ?
A systemic worldview - how components may interact with various external systems to better predict both intended and unintended consequences". (having the right information, to predict what will happen)
Looking forward - what conservation needs?
Facilitation, leadership, and community building skills are needed to maintain collaborative relationships (in addition to subject specific knowledge: e.g. biodiversity, alien species, fragmentation, nature reserves, environmental policy etc).
Lots and lots of conservation projects in the UK and worldwide, but what is yet to be improved?
o Lack of knowledge exchange
o Good practice is sometimes not shared
o Mistakes can be replicated
Challenges/questions to consider to improve conservation?
o Can an understanding of social networks of conservation practitioners improve conservation outcomes?
o Never going to be lots more money for conservation, so can we be smarter about how conservation is done?
o Better result for the same amount of money?
--> can we be smarter about how conservation is done?
Multiplex networks vs traditional networks?
o Traditional network approaches assume that nodes are connected to each other by a single type of link that encapsulates all connections between them.
o Assumption is almost always a huge oversimplification.
o Multiplex networks explicitly incorporate multiple types of links in a system
Wellbeing and the Natural Environment - positively correlated?
o Increased access to natural spaces and gardens is associated with improved mental health, positive well-being, social inclusion, enhanced cognitive development; plus increased time outdoors with associated physical activity.
o The UK's National Ecosystem Assessment suggests access to nature increases reduces the risk of becoming overweight or obese by 40%; claiming that
o "if just 1% of the sedentary population adopted a more active lifestyle, 1,063 lives and £1.44 billion could be saved each year"
o High quality greenspace is also very good for biodiversity