Endangered Species


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  • Endangered Species

    1. 1. Endangered Species The last word in ignorance is the person who says of an animal or plant: “What good is it?” If the land mechanism as a whole is good, then every part of it is good, whether we understand it or not. Harmony with the land is like harmony with a friend; you cannot cherish his right hand and chop off his left---from The Sand County Almanac by Aldo LeopoldTuesday, July 26, 2011
    2. 2. Endangered or Threatened... Endangered Species- so few survivors of the species that it could become extinct over all or most of its natural range. Threatened species- still abundant, but because of declining numbers a species is likely to become endangered Experts feel that it is likely that one- third of the 21,000 plant and animal species in the US are threatened.Tuesday, July 26, 2011
    3. 3. Extinction Facts: Extinction History • Extinction has taken place the entire time species have been on the planet • Most extinction occurs over thousands, if not millions of years • Extinction spasms have occurred (mass #’s of species lost in short period—dinosaurs) Measuring Extinction and Extinction Rate • Check fossil history for species that no longer exist Ivory-billed woodpecker • Compare fossils to present species • Compare historical data (Colonial data on islands documenting bird species, for instance) • Establish species inventories and monitor increasing and declining abundance (Audubon) Yangtze River DolphinTuesday, July 26, 2011
    4. 4. Extinction continued... E.O. Wilson (Harvard) fears that the present extinction rate (0.1-1.0% per year) is 1,000-10,000 times greater than before humans (prehistoric humans were a big factor) were on Earth. An extinction rate of 1% would cut the number of species on Earth by 50% by 2100. Projecting extinction rates • Species-area relationship • A 90% loss in habitat equals a 50% extinction of species • Greatest danger in the world’s biological hotspots- concentrations of highest biodiversity • Rain forests, grasslands and savannahs, coral reefs E.O. Wilson Mass extinctions took place long before humans, but there are two major differences • They are taking place over decades rather than thousands or millions of years • We are eliminating many biologically diverse environments (rainforests, reefs, wetlands, estuaries) that in the past served as the evolutionary center for the 5-10 million year recovery.Tuesday, July 26, 2011
    5. 5. Instrumental vs. intrinsic value: Are some species more ‘valuable’ than others? • Instrumental value: major economic and/ or ecological importance to us • Bees/apple trees; bats/banana trees: ecological/economic value • Humpback whales: ecotourism (economic) • Intrinsic value: species has its own right to live and play its own ecological role • We tend to focus more on species of instrumental valueTuesday, July 26, 2011
    6. 6. H.I.P.P.O. = Greatest extinction threats •Habitat destruction and fragmentation i.e. deforestation causes decline in biodiversity • Invasive species: non-natives lack predators/diseases and displace natives • Population growth: human population spreads to wild areas, farm expansion i.e. Rwanda • Pollution: air pollution-forests • Over harvest: marine fisheries, whaling, poaching of terrestrial speciesTuesday, July 26, 2011
    7. 7. Climate change as an extinction threat... • Long-term changes in precipitation and temperature • Dramatically altering habitats in 70% of Polynya alpine and polar regions • Tropical alpine areas (Mt Kilimanjaro) • Arctic (polar bears; Bowhead whales) Bowhead WhaleTuesday, July 26, 2011
    8. 8. Some important legislation protecting wild species Endangered Species Act (ESA) and Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) • USFWS and NMFS identifies lists of threatened and endangered species • Forbid federal agencies from carrying out, authorizing, or funding projects that jeopardize a threatened or endangered species or its habitat • Habitat Conservation Plans (HCP’s) weaken this law somewhat • HCP’s developed in response to situations on private land where endangered species might be found (bald eagles nesting on SAS land) National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1970 • Requires that an environmental impact statement (EIS) be conducted for every major project likely to affect environmental quality • EIS must list pros and cons, species affected, and alternatives to the project • Also a cost-benefit analysis is done Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) of 1975 • International treaty signed by 160 countries • Prohibits trade in live animals or animal products that are endangered • Restricts trade in other species that are threatenedTuesday, July 26, 2011
    9. 9. Your Endangered Species Keynote project... • Choose an endangered • How can these threats species (in your home be minimized? state, perhaps) • What is being done? • What is the population status? • Is there legislation or an environmental group • What is the role of the helping the species? species? • What is the chance for • What are the threats? survival?Tuesday, July 26, 2011