Current State of World Biodiversity: our impoverished future life support system

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Presentation given to Willunga Environment Centre on 09/10/2013 (Note: some of the fonts are wonky from translation)

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  • Since 1970, 600,000 km2 rain forest lost in Amazon (600000/3300000=18%)Russia has the most extensive forest cover, followed by Brazil, Canada and USAEstimated area of gross forest cover loss at the global scale is 1,011,000 km2, or 3.1 % of year 2000 forest area (0.6% per year from 2000 to 2005)Gross forest cover loss was highest in the boreal biome, with fire accounting for 60 % of that lossThe humid tropics had the second-highest gross forest cover loss, due mainly to broad-scale clearing for agriculture in Brazil, Indonesia and MalaysiaWhen expressed as proportion lost from the 2000 extent estimates, the humid tropics is the least disturbedThe Amazon interior is the largest remaining ‘intact’ forest, followed by the Congo basinThe dry tropics has the 3rd-highest gross forest cover loss, with Australia, Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay accounting for most of thisAlthough the temperate biome had the lowest forest cover (due mainly to forest clearances long, long ago), it had the 2nd-highest proportional gross forest cover lossNorth America has the greatest area of gross forest cover loss, followed by Asia and South AmericaNorth America alone accounts for ~ 30 % of global gross forest cover loss, and has the highest proportional gross forest cover loss at 5.1 %Brazil has the highest gross national forest cover loss of any nationIndonesia and the Democratic Republic of Congo are next in line for tropical countriesUSA has the highest proportional global forest cover loss since 2000Despite previous estimates suggesting that Canada has had little forest loss, the new estimates place it second in terms of gross forest cover loss only to Brazil
  • The world’s oceans are under huge threat, with predictions of 70 % loss of coral reefs by 2050, decline in kelp forests, loss of seagrasses, over-fishing, pollution and a rapidly warming and acidifying physical environment. Given all these stressors, it is absolutely imperative we spend a good deal of time thinking about the right way to impose restrictions on damage to marine areas – the simplest way to do this is via marine protected areas (MPA).
  • Now, it’s not bulldozers razing our underwater forests – it’s our own filth. Yes, we do indeed have underwater forests, and they are possibly the most important set of species from a biodiversity perspective in temperate coastal waters around the world. I’m talking about kelp. Climate change poses a threat to these habitat-forming species that support a wealth of invertebrates and fish. In fact, kelp forests are analogous to coral reefs in the tropics for their role in supporting other biodiversity.Connell et al. 2008:The Adelaide coastline has experienced a fairly hefty loss of canopy-forming kelp (mainly species like Eckloniaradiata and Cystophora spp.) since urbanisation (up to 70 % !). Now, this might not seem too surprising – we humans have a horrible track record for damaging, exploiting or maltreating biodiversity – but it’s actually a little unexpected given that Adelaide is one of Australia’s smaller major cities, and certainly a tiny city from a global perspective. There hasn’t been any real kelp harvesting around Adelaide, or coastal overfishing that could lead to trophic cascades causing loss through herbivory. Connell and colleagues pretty much are able to isolate the main culprits: sedimentation and nutrient loading (eutrophication) from urban run-off.Second, one might expect this to be strange because other places around the world don’t have the same kind of response. The paper points out that in the coastal waters of South Australia, the normal situation is characterised by low nutrient concentrations in the water (what we term ‘oligotrophic’) compared to other places like New South Wales. Thus, when you add even a little bit extra to a system not used to it, these losses of canopy-forming kelp ensue. So understanding the underlying context of an ecosystem will tell you how much it can be stressed before all hell breaks loose.
  • Forest = > 30 % foliageWoodland = 10-30 %Open Woodland < 10 %Shrubland
  • 81360 km2 lost in 200 years; size of Austria;45% of Guandong
  • 78 % of Aus forests = Eucalypts; 7 % Acacia, 5 % Melaleuca
  • Imagine a line of trucks from Sydney to Grafton on the New South Wales north coast.  More than five hours driving at the speed limit hurtling past truck after truck lined up bumper to bumper. Now fill the back of every one of those trucks with wildlife. Feathertail gliders, mountain pygmy possums, dunnarts and New Holland mice. Wonga pigeons and little penguins. Green tree frogs and frill-necked lizards. Fill those trucks to the top. (Yes, they'd be rabbits and black rats and a few Indian mynahs too). A line of trucks from Sydney almost to Queensland filled with wildlife.  Unique wildlife.  Wildlife you don't really get anywhere else on earth. That's the diet of Australia's feral cat population. For one year. It's hard to believe but there may be as many as 18 million feral cats in the country, each eating about a hundred and twenty five grams of food each day. 
  • Imagine a line of trucks from Sydney to Grafton on the New South Wales north coast. More than five hours driving at the speed limit hurtling past truck after truck lined up bumper to bumper. Now fill the back of every one of those trucks with wildlife. Feathertail gliders, mountain pygmy possums, dunnarts and New Holland mice. Wonga pigeons and little penguins. Green tree frogs and frill-necked lizards. Fill those trucks to the top. (Yes, they'd be rabbits and black rats and a few Indian mynahs too). A line of trucks from Sydney almost to Queensland filled with wildlife.  Unique wildlife.  Wildlife you don't really get anywhere else on earth. That's the diet of Australia's feral cat population. For one year. It's hard to believe but there may be as many as 18 million feral cats in the country, each eating about a hundred and twenty five grams of food each day. 
  • “Introduced animal emissions avoidance projects; projects that avoid emissions of methane from the digestive tract of an introduced animal or emissions of methane or nitrous oxide from the decomposition of introduced animal urine or dung”
  • It’s amazingly arrogant and anthropocentric to think of anything in ecosystems as ‘providing benefits to humanity’. After all, we’re just another species in a complex array of species within ecosystems – we just happen to be one of the numerically dominant ones, excel at ecosystem ‘engineering’ and as far as we know, are the only (semi-) sentient of the biologicals. Although the concept of ecosystem services is, I think, an essential abstraction to place emphasis on the importance of biodiversity conservation to the biodiversity ignorant, it does rub me a little the wrong way. It’s almost ascribing some sort of illogical religious perspective that the Earth was placed in its current form for our eventual benefit. We might be a fairly new species in geological time scales, but don’t think of ecosystems as mere provisions for our well-being.
  • END
  • Current State of World Biodiversity: our impoverished future life support system

    1. 1. • Anthropocene biodiversity crisis • global environmental degradation drivers • deforested Australia • degraded Australia • feral Australia • ecosystem services – what are we losing?
    2. 2. • > 4 million protists • 16600 protozoa • 75000-300000 helminth parasites • 1.5 million fungi • 320000 plants • 4-6 million arthropods • > 6500 amphibians • ~ 10,000 reptiles • > 30000 fishes • 10000 birds • > 5000 mammals • climate change
    3. 3. Bradshawetal.2009FrontEcolEnviron7:79-87 Bradshawetal.2009TrendsEcolEvol24:541-548 Hansenetal.2010PNAS107:8650-8655 Loarieetal.2009GeophysResLett36:L14810 • 1,011,000 km2 lost 2000-2005 (3.1 %; 0.6 %/year) • highest in boreal biome (60 %) • humid tropics next (Brazil, Indonesia, Malaysia) • dry tropics next highest (Australia, Brazil, Argentina) • N.A. greatest proportional lost by continent • Nationally, Brazil, Canada, Indonesia, DR Congo
    4. 4. u Halpern et al. 2008 Science 319:948-952
    5. 5. Connell et al. (2008) Mar Ecol Prog Ser 360:60-72
    6. 6. Pelagic threshershark Slivertip shark G rey reefsharkTigershark Snaggletooth shark Sicklefin hound shark Taw ny nurse sharkZebra shark Scalloped ham m erhead G reaterham m erhead W hitetip reefshark 0.0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 Fished reefs Unfished reefs Shark species Abundance(sharkshr-1 ) Field et al. 2009 Fish & Fisheries 10:323-328
    7. 7. 99 % of ALL species that have ever existed... EXTINCT species lifespan = 1-10 M years Ordovician (490-443 MYA) Devonian (417-354 MYA) Permian (299-250 MYA) Triassic (251-200 MYA) Cretaceous (146-64 MYA) Anthropocene extinction rate 100-10000 background Crutzen 2002 Nature 415:23; Bradshaw & Brook 2009 J Cosmol 2:221-229 ©TiantianZhang,Good50x70.org
    8. 8. • 21 % of all known mammals • 30 % of all known amphibians • 12 % of all known birds • 35 % of conifers & cycads • 17 % of sharks • 27 % of reef-building corals threatened with extinction IUCN RED LIST OF THREATENED SPECIES www.iucnredlist.org
    9. 9. City Development Index www.unchs.org Ecological Footprint www.footprintnetwork.org Environmental Performance Index epi.yale.edu Environmental Sustainability Index sedac.ciesin.columbia.edu Genuine Savings Index worldbank.org Human Development Index hdr.undp.org Living Planet Index www.panda.org Well-Being Index www.well-beingindex.com Environmental Impact Rank Böhringer & Joachim 2007 Ecol Econ 63:1-8
    10. 10. • natural forest loss 2005-1990 /ha • natural habitat conversion human-modified landcover/total landcover • marine captures 1990-2005 fish, whales, seals/EEZ km • fertiliser use NPK/ha arable land • water pollution biochemical oxygen demand/total renewable water resources • carbon emissions forestry, land-use change, fossil fuels/km2 • biodiversity threat Red List threatened birds, mammals, amphibians/listed species Bradshaw et al. 2010 PLoS One 5:e10440
    11. 11. Bradshaw et al. 2010 PLoS One 5:e10440
    12. 12. Bradshaw et al. 2010 PLoS One 5:e10440
    13. 13. POPULATION WEALTH GOVERNANCE Bradshaw et al. 2010 PLoS One 5:e10440
    14. 14. Bradshaw et al. 2010 PLoS One 5:e10440
    15. 15. per capita prosperity environmentaldamage ENVIRONMENTAL KUZNETS CURVE Bradshaw et al. 2010 PLoS One 5:e10440
    16. 16. 1 10 100 0 50 100 150 linear quadratic intercept per capita PPP-adjusted GNI Proportionalenvironmental impactrank* 1 10 100 0 50 100 150 per capita PPP-adjusted GNI Absoluteenvironmental impactrank* -impact+impact-impact+impact poorer wealthier poorer wealthier A B Bradshaw et al. 2010 PLoS One 5:e10440
    17. 17. 9 21.5 21.5 40 7 1 forest woodland open woodland shrubland grassland unvegetated pre-European (late 18th Century) settlement Barson et al. 2000 Land Cover Changes in Australia
    18. 18. 5 14 26 37 16 2 forest woodland open woodland 1980s… Barson et al. 2000 Land Cover Changes in Australia i.e., ~ 38 % loss in about 200 years
    19. 19. Barson et al. 2000 Land Cover Changes in Australia
    20. 20. Bradshaw 2012 J Plant Ecol 5:109-120
    21. 21. %remaining A cacia C allitrisC asuarina Eucalyptus lowEucalypttall M allee othershrublandsrain forests 0 20 40 60 80 100 78 % Bradshaw 2012 J Plant Ecol 5:109-120
    22. 22. • legacy of deforestation – some of world’s highest • highest modern mammal extinction rate on Earth • continued mammal declines due to altered fire regimes • meso-predator release • Murray-Darling Basin a mess • rates of changing climate in Southern Hemisphere • 2nd-highest GHG emitters per
    23. 23. Bradshaw et al. 2013 Biol Conserv 161:71-90
    24. 24. intact biological communities and functioning species interactions provide humanity with a host of ‘services’ that support
    25. 25. • ~ 90 % of all wild plant species require animal pollinators for fruit & seed set • ~ 35 % of all human crops require pollination by insects (> 50 % by Apis mellifera) • domestic honey bees declined in USA by 59 % since 1947 & in Europe by 25 % since 1985 • bees (& other pollinators) require more than just crops to complete life cycle • decline mostly from habitat loss, Potts et al. 2010 Trends Ecol Evol 25:345-353
    26. 26. Bradshaw et al. 2007 Glob Change Biol 13:2379-2395 1990-2000 • ~100,000 people killed • 320 million people displaced • total reported damages > US$1151 billion
    27. 27. Carbon Farming Initiative (2011) • financial incentive to land managers & farmers to reduce GHG emissions from BAU or sequester (store) C on land (offset scheme) • Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCU) = 1 t CO2-e = AU$23 (as of 01/07/12) • ACCU rise 2.5 % yr-1 until 2014/2015; set by market thereafter • emissions-avoidance: agricultural, introduced animal & legacy landfill emissions • sequestration-offsets: sequestering C in plants as they grow, increasing soil organic matter, avoided vegetation loss, afforestation, reforestation, revegetation, rangeland restoration and native forest protection • must be additional, no leakage, permanent (unholy trinity) van Oosterzee et al. 2012 Conserv Lett 5:266
    28. 28. •largest potential GHG mitigation using ecology: enhancing woody biomass •most landscape changes likely compatible with biodiversity maintenance/enhancement •but potentially many negative biodiversity outcomes if not done based on sound ecological principles •more research on synergies, economics of trade- offs •future conservation planning needs to incorporate GHG abatement values •future C pricing largest driver of optimal trade-offs Bradshaw et al. 2013 Biol Conserv 161:71-90
    29. 29. ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! SaleSale YambaYamba WaggaWagga PerthPerth AliceAlice SydneySydney MoruyaMoruya HobartHobart DarwinDarwin CedunaCeduna CairnsCairns BroomeBroome BouliaBoulia AlbanyAlbany WoomeraWoomera MilduraMildura ForrestForrest CanberraCanberra BathurstBathurst AmberleyAmberley AdelaideAdelaide MelbourneMelbourne GeraldtonGeraldton CarnarvonCarnarvon TownsvilleTownsville TibooburraTibooburra Mt.GambierMt.Gambier LauncestonLaunceston KalgoorlieKalgoorlie RockhamptonRockhampton Halls.CreekHalls.Creek CharlevilleCharleville Port.HedlandPort.Hedland ! ! 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 -1.0-0.50.00.51.0 Year Yearlymeanmaxdailytempanomaly 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 -1.5-1.0-0.50.00.51.01.5 Year Yearlymeanmaxdailytempanomaly 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 -1.0-0.50.00.51.0 Year Yearlymeanmaxdailytempanomaly 1900 1920 1940 1960 1980 2000 -1.0-0.50.00.51.01.52.0 Year Yearlymeanmaxdailytempanomaly 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 -2-1012 Year Yearlymeanmaxdailytempanomaly 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 -1.0-0.50.00.51.01.5 Year Yearlymeanmaxdailytempanomaly 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 -0.50.00.5 Year Yearlymeanmaxdailytempanomaly 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 -1.00.00.51.01.52.0 Year Yearlymeanmaxdailytempanomaly 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 -1.0-0.50.00.51.01.5 Year Yearlymeanmaxdailytempanomaly 1920 1940 1960 1980 2000 -0.50.00.51.01.5 Year Yearlymeanmaxdailytempanomaly ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! Text 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 2425 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33
    30. 30. © Moronail.net
    31. 31. © WWF What now? 1.forests – stop all deforestation now 2.carbon – tax 3.ecosystem services – valuing what we get for free 4.restoration – fix the damage 5.population – no, we’re not
    32. 32. ©TiantianZhang,Good50x70.org corey.bradshaw@adelaide.edu.au www.adelaide.edu.au/directory/corey.bradshaw ConservationBytes.com

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