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The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on Earth and sustainable development.

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An e-book adapted from my book “The Diversity of Life on Earth: from Heritage to Extinction” (ISBN 978-981-07-3457-2). This very simplified version is an online adaptation that features some selected …

An e-book adapted from my book “The Diversity of Life on Earth: from Heritage to Extinction” (ISBN 978-981-07-3457-2). This very simplified version is an online adaptation that features some selected components of the book.

For information about the book itself and its associated international program: “The Biodiversity Portal of Singapore” please refer to www.biodiversity.sg

Book Synopsis:

Author: Sylvain Richer de Forges
Foreword: Prof Peter Ng

While numerous books have been published on the topic of biodiversity, this particular 273 pages long book portrays life on Earth in a very holistic manner and also clearly links the notion of biodiversity with the concept of sustainable development.

Overall, this book aims to address the dramatic issue of the acceleration of extinction of species on Earth as the result of human intrusion. In its unique format, it navigates surrounding concepts of biodiversity: the state of our knowledge; the diversity of life on Earth; where most life forms are found; the human impacts; the current status of extinctions; the potential of preserving biodiversity and its implications for human civilizations and what should be tried to preserve the diversity of life on Earth.

Key concepts of sustainable development are explored through a series of essays. Indeed, human activities are the main threat to biodiversity. As such, implementing more sustainable development models is key in reducing the impacts on biodiversity though modifications, among others, in our use of energy sources, the built environment and water management.

The other particularity of this book is the display of numerous exclusive images of wildlife and ecosystems landscapes. Over 350 pictures taken around the world from the deserts of western Africa, the lagoons of French Polynesia to the dense forests of Asia and the icy waters of Antarctica are displayed in this book showcasing key images of wildlife and ecosystems in a state of change. The art of photography can be a powerful tool to convey key messages.

The book also features a foreword from Professor Peter K. L. Ng, director of The Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research at the National University of Singapore.

Book press coverage:
http://www.green-brunei.com/portrayal-of-a-unique-book-and-web-portal-on-biodiversity-and-sustainable-development/

Please share this slide show to raise awareness on the issue.

Sylvain Richer de Forges


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  • 1. The Diversity of Life on Earth from Heritage to Extinction e-book version by Sylvain Richer de Forges © Sylvain Richer de Forges 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 2. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 2 This book aims to address the dramatic issue of extinction of species on Earth. In its unique format, it navigates through key issues surrounding the concept of biodiversity: -What do we know -The diversity of life forms on Earth -Where most life forms are found -The human impacts -The current status of extinction -The potential of preserving biodiversity and its implication for human civilizations -What should be tried to preserve the diversity of life on Earth This book was written in 2010 to celebrate the international year on biodiversity and with a purpose of raising awareness on the issue. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Prologue Prologue Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg This e-book is a simplified adaptation from the book of the same name which can be purchased through main book sale channels ISBN 978-981-07-3457-2
  • 3. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 3 Introduction of knowledge is contained within species whether it is for engineering applications, agriculture or to develop new medicines. We also know that our lives, as the human species, is highly related to those of other species upon which we depend should it be for maintaining the stability of Earth ecosystems, our food supplies or our health. Every organism has its role to play in the complex Earth ecosystems which have reached equilibrium over millions of years. Many of these ecosystems are on the verge of collapse with often unknown consequences for humans. We however now know what the pressures are and therefore could do something to try to preserve the diversity of life on Earth by limiting or suppressing these pressures. This book intends to provide an overview of the diversity of life, what is at stake, the major pressures on life forms and what could be done to avoid what many experts predict will be the fifth massive extinction. We must keep in mind that : “Extinction is forever” With 2010 being the international year of biodiversity, this book comes at a good time to make an overview of the state of our knowledge on biodiversity and what is at stake. Biodiversity is still, even in the 21st century following the legacy of the work of great scientists and breakthrough discoveries, not well understood by the general public and decision makers. Indeed, we still do not seem to have understood the incredible heritage that we have as a result of more than 3.5 billion years of natural history, neither the very serious threats and devastating changes to biodiversity that are occurring at present as a consequence of human activities. Biodiversity is the most valuable resource of our planet and we are on the verge of losing most of it. During the 21st century as a result of a combine impact of pressures from pollutions, human disturbances and climate change, most experts have warned that we could lose half of all the species inhabiting our planet by the end of this century. Species are disappearing at an alarming rate and much faster than they are studied. We know that a tremendous amount © Sylvain Richer de Forges Introduction Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 4. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 4 Table of Content (1) Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Introduction Chapter II ………………………………………… 34 II.1 Definition of Biodiversity ……………………………… 35 II.2 Levels of Biodiversity …………………………………… 37 II.3 Biodiversity: What Do We Know? ………………… 38 II.4 Taxonomy Vs Molecular phylogeny ……………… 42 II.5 Speciation & Adaptation ……………………………… 44 II.6 The Tree of Life …………………………………………… 47 II.7 Archea …………………………………………………………… 48 II.8 Bacteria ………………………………………………………… 49 II.9 Eucaryotes …………………………………………………… 50 II.10 Plants …………………………………………………………… 52 II.11 Fungus ………………………………………………………… 53 II.12 Animals ………………………………………………………… 55 II.13 Insects ………………………………………………………… 57 II.14 Mammals ……………………………………………………… 61 II.15 Reptiles ……………………………………………………… 63 Conclusion Chapter II ………………………………………… 65 Chapter I: A Brief History of Natural Diversity Introduction Chapter I ………………………………………… 11 I.1 Succession of Life Forms Overtime ……………… 12 I.2 Ancient Life …………………………………………………… 13 I.3 Fossils: an Historical Record ………………………… 14 I.4 Rise of Natural history: Buffon ……………………… 16 I.5 Nomenclature System: Linneaus …………………… 17 I.6 Naming Species ……………………………………………… 18 I.7 Taxonomy Vs Phylogeny ………………………………… 19 I.8 Natural Selection: Darwin & Wallace …………… 21 I.9 The Rise of the Microscope …………………………… 23 I.10 Micro-organisms: Pasteur …………………………… 24 I.11 Commerce and Biodiversity: Spice Trade …… 25 I.12 The Era of Great Explorers ………………………… 26 I.13 Origin of Genetics: Gregor Mendel ……………… 29 I.14 The Discovery of DNA …………………………………… 30 I.15 The Modern Concept of Biodiversity …………… 31 Conclusion Chapter I …………………………………………… 32 © Sylvain Richer de Forges Table of Content Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 5. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 5 Chapter III: Main Biodiversity Rich Ecosystems Introduction Chapter III ……………………………………… 67 III.1 Rainforests ………………………………………………… 68 III.2 Coral Reefs ………………………………………………… 69 III.3 Mangroves …………………………………………………… 71 III.4 Isolated Ecosystems …………………………………… 72 III.5 Abyssal Environments ………………………………… 74 III.6 Sea Grass Beds …………………………………………… 77 Conclusion Chapter III ………………………………………… 78 Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Introduction Chapter IV ……………………………………… 80 IV.1 Deforestation ……………………………………………… 81 IV.2 Mining ………………………………………………………… 84 IV.3 Over Fishing ……………………………………………… 86 IV.4 Illegal Trading of Species …………………………… 92 IV.5 Agriculture ………………………………………………… 93 IV.6 Bio-engineering ………………………………………… 96 IV.7 Industrialization & Associated Wastes ……… 97 IV.8 Pollution & Biodiversity ……………………………… 98 IV.9 Climate Change & Biodiversity ………………… 101 IV.10 Human Disturbances / Overpopulation …… 107 IV.11 Mass Tourism …………………………………………… 110 IV.12 Forest Fires ……………………………………………… 112 IV.13 Fragmentation of Habitats ……………………… 114 IV.14 Genetic Resources …………………………………… 116 IV.15 Introduction of Species …………………………… 118 Conclusion Chapter IV ……………………………………… 120 Table of Content (2) © Sylvain Richer de Forges Table of Content Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 6. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 6 Chapter V: A Few Case Studies of Biodiversity Degradation Introduction Chapter V ……………………………………… 122 V.1 Case Study: Oil Spills ………………………………… 123 V.2 Case Study: Mining ……………………………………… 127 V.3 Case Study: Acid Rains ……………………………… 128 V.4 Case Study: Chernobyl ……………………………… 129 V.5 Introduction of Species ……………………………… 130 V.6 Biodiversity & Climate Change …………………… 132 V.7 Global Biodiversity Loss ……………………………… 133 Conclusion Chapter V ………………………………………… 136 Chapter VI: Global State of Biodiversity Introduction Chapter VI …………………………………… 138 VI.1 The Global Living Planet Index ………………… 139 VI.2 The Terrestrial Living Planet Index …………… 140 VI.3 The Marine Living Planet Index ………………… 141 VI.4 The Freshwater Living Planet Index ………… 142 VI.5 The World Biocapacity ……………………………… 144 VI.6 State of Biodiversity ………………………………… 145 Conclusion Chapter VI ……………………………………… 146 Table of Content (3) © Sylvain Richer de Forges Table of Content Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 7. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 7 Chapter VII: Biodiversity Hotspots and Conservation Priorities Introduction Chapter VII …………………………………… 148 VII.1 What is a Biodiversity Hotspot? ………………… 149 VII.2 Case Study: Madagascar …………………………… 151 VII.3 Case Study: Philippines …………………………… 152 VII.4 Case Study: Borneo ………………………………… 154 VII.5 Case Study: Barrier reefs ………………………… 155 VII.6 Case Study: The Galapagos ……………………… 157 Conclusion Chapter VII ……………………………………… 158 Chapter VIII: Singapore, an Interesting Case Study Introduction Chapter VIII …………………………………… 160 VIII.1 The Singapore Context …………………………… 161 VIII.2 Impacts of Urban Development on Biodiversity ……………………………………………… 163 VIII.3 Vision of a Green City ……………………………… 165 VIII.4 Preserving & Restoring Biodiversity in Singapore ………………………………………………… 168 VIII.5 Singapore Remaining Bio-Diverse Locations ………………………………………………… 169 VIII.6 Biodiversity in the City …………………………… 173 VIII.7 Compromises between Development & Conservation …………………………………………… 177 Conclusion Chapter VIII ……………………………………… 178 Table of Content (4) © Sylvain Richer de Forges Table of Content Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 8. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 8 Chapter IX: The Importance of Biodiversity Preservation for Human Beings Introduction Chapter IX …………………………………… 180 IX.1 Biodiversity and Pharmacology ………………… 181 IX.2 Biodiversity and Agriculture ……………………… 185 IX.3 Biodiversity and the Arts …………………………… 188 IX.4 Socio Biology ……………………………………………… 190 IX.5 Biomimetics ……………………………………………… 191 IX.6 A Guide to Biomimetics …………………………… 194 IX.7 We Have A Lot to Learn by Studying Nature ……………………………………………………… 199 Conclusion Chapter IX ……………………………………… 206 Chapter X: What Can be Done to Preserve Biodiversity? Introduction Chapter X …………………………………… 208 X.1 What Can Individuals Do? …………………………… 209 X.2 What Can Corporates Do? …………………………… 213 X.3 What Can Governments Do? ……………………… 216 X.4 Education and Biodiversity ………………………… 223 X.5 The Concept of Sustainable Development … 226 X.6 The Concept of Dead Zones ……………………… 227 X.7 Vertical Farms …………………………………………… 228 X.8 City Biodiversity Index ………………………………… 229 X.9 Sustainable Urban Design …………………………… 230 X.10 Greening Cities ………………………………………… 232 X.11 Eco Tourism ……………………………………………… 234 Conclusion Chapter X ………………………………………… 237 Table of Content (5) © Sylvain Richer de Forges Table of Content Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 9. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 9 Chapter XI: Common Misunderstandings about Biodiversity XI.1 Questions and Answers ……………………………… 239 XI.2 A Common Interest: Biodiversity and Religions …………………………………………………… 246 General Conclusion ………………………………………… 248 Annex Bibliography ……………………………………………………… 250 Acknowledgments ……………………………………………… 261 About the Author ……………………………………………… 262 Table of Content (6) © Sylvain Richer de Forges Table of Content Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 10. A living fossil: Gymnocrinus richeri Chapter I A Brief History of Natural Diversity How a few key persons and discoveries have changed our vision of life on Earth
  • 11. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 11 Our knowledge of biology and the diversity of life on Earth has significantly improved over the past century. This chapter intends to highlight the key elements in the discovery of species and our understanding of the living world. Some key findings such as the process of natural selection; the discovery of DNA or the Linnaeous nomenclature system have permitted remarkable breakthrough in our understanding of the living world. Today, many key findings have led to entire new disciplines of biology such as evolutionary biology, molecular biology, behavioral biology, ecology or zoology. Introduction Chapter I: A Brief History of Natural Diversity In this chapter you will learn about key historical dates and discoveries which have led to the current understanding of life forms on Earth. Biology in general is a complex field. Many breakthrough discoveries that have occurred in the past where made by accident while investigating other aspects. It is likely that further breakthrough will be made in a similar way. Therefore the importance of persevering in scientific research efforts. The problem with scientific research is that it works on funding basis. However, in any real fundamental research we do not really know what it is that we are searching for, despite that there is certainly something to be found. Because funds are allocated on specific targets basis, fundamental research is disappearing and at the same time the chances of making real breakthrough discoveries. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter I: A Brief History of Natural Diversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 12. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 12 I.1 Succession of Life Forms Over Time Life forms have evolved over time. Numerous factors have played a role in the history of the successions of life forms on Earth. Major geological eras have been identified. Many of them mark a mass species extinction event or the apparition of new life forms. The succession of life forms in the fossil record have in fact served to define geological eras (“zoic”). From fossil observations made in the geological record we know that life on Earth has existed for at least 3.5 billion years and that many successions of life forms have occurred throughout time. Chapter I: A Brief History of Natural Diversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 13. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 13 Life originated on Earth between 3.5 and 4 billion years ago. 4 billion years ago the Earth was very different than it is today. The atmosphere contained no oxygen. It was a mixture of nitrogen and carbon dioxide with traces of other gases such as methane and ammonia. Under such conditions, there were probably no life. The earliest fossils of living organisms are dated (using carbon isotopes) at 3.5 billion years old from Western Australia. They resemble present day cyanobacteria and were probably photosynthetic. Very early on (about 3 billion years ago), life diversified into two major domains, Bacteria and Archea. A third domain, the Eukarya originated 1.3 billion years later. Life has evolved overtime through a series of steps. The steps can be very briefly summarized as follows: - The apparition of simple cells - Cells became more complex - RNA then DNA developed as the support of the genome - Complication and differentiation of species overtime through natural selection This long natural history which started about 3.5 billion years ago has resulted in the incredible diversity of life that we observe today. However, we are only observing today a small fraction of all the life forms that have existed on Earth as most species have become extinct over time through natural events and during critical periods which have led to mass extinctions. Many scientists agree that we are now experiencing a new era of mass species extinction which is for the first time in history almost entirely the result of one single species (humans). I.2 Ancient Life © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter I: A Brief History of Natural Diversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 14. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 14 Fossils are the preserved remains or traces of animals, plants, and other organisms from the remote past. Fossils are formed when animal remains are deposited on sedimentary substrates (e.g. mud). Fossils range in age from the youngest at the start of the Holocene Epoch to the oldest from the Archaean Eon several billion years old. Fossils vary in size from microscopic, such as single bacterial cells only one micrometer in diameter, to gigantic, such as dinosaurs and trees. Most of the knowledge that we have of ancient life that has inhabited the planet results from the study of fossils. I.3 (a) Fossils: an Historical Record of Succession of Life Forms © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter I: A Brief History of Natural Diversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 15. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 15 I.3 (b) The fossil record provides a snapshot of the types and successions of life forms that inhabited the planet millions of years ago throughout the geological eras. The oldest fossils found can be dated at 3.5 billion years old. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter I: A Brief History of Natural Diversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 16. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 16 Buffon is considered to be one of the main precursors in the field of natural history. Georges- Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon (7 September 1707-16 April 1788) was a French naturalist, mathematician, biologist, cosmologist and a writer. His theories have influenced two generations of naturalists among whom Jean-Baptiste de Lamarck and Charles Darwin. Buffon is mostly known for his major work which was published in 36 volumes from 1749 to 1789. He included all the knowledge of the time in the field of natural sciences. In this publication, he revealed a resemblance between man and apes and the possibility of a common genealogy. Buffon is also considered to be one of the precursors of comparative anatomy. I.4 The Field of Natural History: George Louis Leclerc, comte de Buffon Chapter I: A Brief History of Natural Diversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 17. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 17 Carl Linnaeus (23rd May 1707- 10 Jan 1778) was a Swedish naturalist who has set the basis for the modern system of binomial nomenclature. He his referred to as the father of modern Taxonomy Linnaeus has put into place his system of binomial nomenclature which allows referring with precision to all species of animal and vegetal The system is based on a combination of 2 Latin names which comprises of: A name for the Genus A specific character which often relates to a characteristic of the species. This nomenclature system is still widely used and accepted today by Taxonomists. I.5 Linnaeus & the Origin of Species Nomenclature Chapter I: A Brief History of Natural Diversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 18. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 18 I.6 Naming Species Nomenclature is very important. All species need to have a name in order to be referred to. The naming of species has become a very useful and reliable process with the implementation of the Linnaeous nomenclature. Each species name is formed out of Latin and has two parts: the genus name and the species name. For example, Homo sapiens is the name of the human species. Names are often derived from ancient Greek word roots, or words from numerous other languages. Frequently species names are based on the surname of a person, such as a well-regarded scientist, or are a Latinized version of a relevant place name. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter I: A Brief History of Natural Diversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 19. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 19 Taxonomy: Taxonomy is the science of species classification within their evolutionary history. Phylogenetics: Today, the alternative to the traditional rank-based biological classification is phylogenetic systematics, which is postulating phylogenetic trees, rather than focusing on taxa to delimit. Taxonomy is based on the principle that we need to study species in order to understand how they have evolved overtime and how all species are connected to one another. I.7 (a) Taxonomy and Phylogeny © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter I: A Brief History of Natural Diversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 20. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 20 I.7 (b) Studying species requires to keep specimens in alcohol so that their anatomy and key features can be preserved, looked into and serve as reference over time for comparison purposes. Collections of the British Museum preserved rare specimens, some of them from the private Charles Darwin’s collections. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter I: A Brief History of Natural Diversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 21. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 21 Charles Darwin (12 feb 1809-19 april 1882) was an English naturalist who’s work on the evolution of living species. He has revolutionized the field of biology. Darwin was famous by the scientific community of his time for his field work and his researches. He has formulated the hypothesis that all living species have evolved over time from common ancestors through a process referred to as natural selection. His theory on natural selection had to wait until the 1930’s for it to become generally accepted as the driving mechanisms of the evolution process. Darwin’s scientific discovery remains the foundation of modern biology as it explains in a logical and unified way the diversity of life on Earth. I.8 (a) Natural Selection: Charles Darwin Chapter I: A Brief History of Natural Diversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 22. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 22 Alfred Russel Wallace (8 Jan 1823-7 Nov 1913) was a naturalist, geographer, explorer, anthropologist and a British biologist. He is the co-discoverer of the evolution theory by natural selection along with Charles Darwin. Wallace is mostly known to have proposed a theory on natural selection which has pushed Darwin to publish his own theory. Wallace was also one of the main evolutionary thinkers of the 19th century which has contributed to the evolution theory mostly on the basis of colour displays in animals. Wallace was also considered as an expert in the field of geographic repartition of animal species and is referred to as the father of biogeography. I.8 (b) Natural Selection: Alfred Russel Wallace Chapter I: A Brief History of Natural Diversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 23. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 23 The first microscope to be developed was the optical microscope, although the original inventor is not easy to identify. An early microscope was made in 1590 in Middelburg, Netherlands. The greatest contribution which has led to modern day microscopes came from Antoine van Leeuwenhoek. Van Leeuwenhoek is mostly known for the ameliorations he made to the microscope and is one of the precursors of modern cell biology and microbiology. Throughout his life, he made a number of significant observations with his home-made microscopes which he reported to the London Royal Society. One of his earlier observations was on moulds and bee darts. Among others he first observed and discovered Bacteria, Spermatozoids, flow of blood in capillaries and muscle fibres. Many of his observations and deductions at the time where controversial as they went against the general belief of “Spontaneous Generation”. => The use of the microscope has been a revolution in significantly broadening our vision of the natural world and our understanding of the biodiversity of life on Earth. Species of the macro level could now be observed. I.9 The Rise of the Microscope Chapter I: A Brief History of Natural Diversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 24. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 24 I.10 Pasteur and Micro-Organisms Louis Pasteur (27 December 1822-28 September 1895) was a French scientist, chemist and physicist by formation who then became a pioneer of microbiology. He has achieved remarkable breakthroughs in the causes and preventions of diseases such as puerperal fever, and he created the first vaccine for rabies and anthrax. His experiments supported the germ theory of disease. He has investigated a method to stop milk and wine from causing sickness, a process that came to be called pasteurization. Pasteur also made many discoveries in the field of chemistry, most notably the molecular basis for the asymmetry of certain crystals. =>The discoveries of Pasteur further enhanced our understanding and discovery of how bio-diverse the micro world is but also how the observation of nature can lead to remarkable breakthroughs and applications that can benefit humans, a field now referred to as biomimetics. Chapter I: A Brief History of Natural Diversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 25. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 25 The commercial value of biodiversity came apparent during the period of great explorations. The commerce of exotic spices as well as the trade of exotic animals where major commerce trades at the time (and still remain). During that time it became rapidly apparent that trading species would play a major part of the world economy. This is still valid today, the trade of species account for one of the largest economical trades worldwide. => At the time, the amount of trade was manageable. However, as the trade expended (beyond spices) and the world population grew, the trade of species is today a major drive of species extinction as these exploitations go much beyond the populations regeneration rates. I.11 Spice Trade and the Commercial Value of Biodiversity Chapter I: A Brief History of Natural Diversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 26. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 26 During the 19th century, the quest for exploration and knowledge of the natural world through observations and field studies has led to numerous breakthroughs in our understanding of nature. Field studies remain of crucial importance and should not be replaced by other disciplines. I.12 (a) The Era of Great Explorers Chapter I: A Brief History of Natural Diversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 27. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 27 The expedition of the Challenger was the first great oceanographic worldwide mission. It was realized aboard the HMS Challenger between December 1872 and May 1876. The ship travelled more than 120 000 km around the world. The main goal of the mission was to study marine animals and to understand the circulation of currents. The mission resulted in a major report. One of the outcomes was the discovery of 4000 unknown species of animals. The challenger expedition was a remarkable breakthrough in the discovery of species. => Such expedition model demonstrated that a lot of knowledge can be gained at once if the resources and efforts are allocated for this purpose. I.12 (b) The Expedition of the Challenger Chapter I: A Brief History of Natural Diversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 28. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 28 I.12 (c) The great explorations of the 17th and 18th century have brought an incredible amount of knowledge. As a result of these explorations we came to realize how bio-diverse the world is. As a consequence the world also came to realize the commercial benefits of exploiting biodiversity. Chapter I: A Brief History of Natural Diversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 29. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 29 Johann Gregor Mendel (22 July 1822-6 January 1884) was a monk and a Tchek Botanist. He his renown as the father of modern genetics. Today a law has been named after him “the Mendel Law’ that defines the way genes are being transmitted from generation to generation. Most of the discoveries of Mendel where made on observations and logical deductions by studying reproduction patterns in peas. => The discovery of genetic principles have led the path to a greater understanding of evolution and a mechanism conducting to the diversity of life on Earth. However a clearer understanding of genetic principles really came with the discovery of DNA in the 20th century. I.13 Origins of Genetics: Gregor Mendel Chapter I: A Brief History of Natural Diversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 30. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 30 Desoxyribonucleic acid (or DNA) is a molecule present in all living cells that contains all information necessary for the development and function of a given organism. It is also the support for heredity as it is transmitted during reproduction. DNA holds the genetic code and constitute the genome of living organisms. DNA was discovered by James D. Watson and Francis Crick in 1953. By using x-ray diffraction data they were able to propose the double helix or spiral staircase structure of the DNA molecule. => The discovery of DNA led to remarkable breakthrough in our understanding of genetics which also provides a mechanism for the transmission of genes and therefore the diversity of life. I.14 The Discovery of DNA Chapter I: A Brief History of Natural Diversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 31. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 31 The expression “biological diversity” was first introduced by Thomas Lovejoy in 1980 while the word “biodiversity” itself was invented by Walter G.Rosen in 1985 while preparing the National Forum on Biological Diversity organized by the National Research Council in 1986; the word “biodiversity” first appeared in a publication in 1988 when American Entomologist E.O Wilson accounted for this forum. Edward Osborne Wilson is a current entomologist and biologist renown for his work on evolution and socio-biology. Wilson is the world expert on ants and in particular their utilisation of pheromones as a mean for communication. He has also studied the massive extinctions of the 20th century and their relations with modern society. Edward.O.Wilson. Photo from Jim Harrison 2003 I.15 The Modern Concept of Biodiversity Chapter I: A Brief History of Natural Diversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 32. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 32 As highlighted in this first chapter, a few key persons and great explorations have led the way to the modern knowledge and on-going researches to gain a better understanding of the natural world that surrounds us. We have come a long way since these early days key discoveries. Despite that great achievements have been realized, the more we study nature, the more we come to understand that we have only just started to learn and exploit the potential that is within the living environment. Despite that many have the misconception that we have already discovered all there is to know, the amount of useful information still remaining to be explored is unmatched and virtually infinite. Overall, it is very apparent that we still know very little about the living environment… Conclusion Chapter I © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter I: A Brief History of Natural Diversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 33. A living fossil: Gymnocrinus richeri Chapter II The Diversity of Life on Earth How incredibly diverse are life forms on Earth
  • 34. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 34 Introduction Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth This chapter aims to expose how bio-diverse is the world we live in. We, human beings, have inherited a planet which is currently inhabited by an incredible array of life forms resulting from 3.5 billion years of natural history and adaptations. Life forms inhabiting the planet range from large species such as mammals to microscopic organisms such as bacteria. The more we study species the more we discover that we have so far only touched the tip of the iceberg in terms of how complex and bio-diverse is our planet. We are still making remarkable discoveries, for instance finding species in places that we never thought species could survive or discovering links between species which have led to new paths of understanding of the history of life on Earth. The reality is that there is still a lot to be discovered in biology. However, fields of biology such as taxonomy, the science of classifying species within their evolutionary history are disappearing. As species are disappearing at a much greater rate then they are studied, funding for research is now prioritized in conservation. The fact that current species are no longer studied also means that we are losing a tremendous amount of knowledge and potential new ground breaking discoveries, some of which could have direct benefits to humans. An important fact that we have discovered by studying life on Earth is that species are remarkably linked to one another in a complex interaction of food networks and ecosystems. All species play an important role in making the stable yet fragile ecosystems that we observe today. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 35. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 35 Biodiversity is the variation of life forms within a given ecosystem, biome, or for the entire Earth. Biodiversity is often used as a measure of the health of biological systems. The biodiversity found on Earth today consist of many millions of distinct biological species, which are the product of nearly 3.5 billion years of evolution. II.1(a): Definition of Biodiversity © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 36. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 36 II.1 (b) Biodiversity is like a web. Living organisms on the planet are connected and interrelated. Every organism has a role to play in a complex network of ecosystems. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 37. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 37 II.2 Levels of Biodiversity There are different levels at which biodiversity can be found: -At the ecosystem level -At the species level -At the genes level => Species are interconnected in space and time => The vast majority of all species that have inhabited our planet have become extinct overtime © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 38. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 38 II.3 (a) Biodiversity: what do we know? There are relatively only very few people worldwide who are doing scientific studies on species. Taxonomy: The science of species classification requires a high level of expertise which is in decline worldwide (Each group of species requires experts to study and understand them). Species are in fact disappearing at a much faster rate then they are studied. We are losing hundreds if not hundreds of thousands of species each year. Species that we never had the chance to study and understand. Most of these are small or micro organisms. =>The public knowledge of biodiversity loss is not understood as most institutions which classify biodiversity loss tend to focus on the well known mega fauna (tigers, elephants, rhinos…) but barely mention the much smaller organisms which often have a much greater role to play in ecosystems equilibrium. Well known mega fauna Poorly known or unknown small and micro fauna © Sylvain Richer de Forges © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 39. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 39 II.3 (b) Most species on Earth are very small in size for us humans. One has to look and search closely to find them. When comparing ourselves to all living species on Earth, humans are truly “giants”. Despite that most attention is on emblematic species (tigers, elephants…) the hidden macro world of biodiversity has a very important role to play and remains largely unknown. => Biodiversity mostly concerns the macro level in terms of species number. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 40. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 40 II.3 (c) Biodiversity: what do we know? Another trend in the study of nature is that there is an apparent disequilibrium between the knowledge that we have on different groups of species. Some species with a broader interest from the general public have been well studied such as butterflies, shells, fish, birds, large mammals… While others, usually smaller species, such as bacteria remain largely unknown. Some groups such as insects, fungus or bacteria are also much broader than other groups. The more we study species and try to get a broader view of the diversity of life on Earth, the more we realize that we know in fact very little about the variation of life forms on our planet. Some groups are well studied Others are not… © Sylvain Richer de Forges © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 41. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 41 II.3 (d) While most conservationists focus on the preservation of emblematic species, thousands of unknown species are disappearing every year without being noticed. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 42. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 42 The discovery of DNA and the genetic revolution of the 20th century has driven a drastic change in how species are studied. Taxonomy tends to be replaced by so called “bar coding” of particular genes within species. Each species having its own “Bar code” allows the buildup of a global database of species on Earth based on their genetic code. However, there is a downturn to this process. The “species bar code” would work well if species were studied and identified at the same rhythm as they are scanned. However, this is not the case and we are now building-up large databases of species which we do not know about for the simple reason that they have not been scientifically studied to date (the possession of part of a species genome does not replace studying them). Even more of concern, species are becoming extinct at a much greater rate then they are actually studied, which implies that many of the coded species are likely to be extinct before they have been studied. Studying species implies looking into their anatomy, classifying them within their evolutionary history, studying how they interact with the environment…there is a lot to learn in doing such studies and potential applications which could benefit human beings. II.4 (a) Taxonomy Vs Molecular Phylogeny © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 43. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 43 II.4 (b) In fact, one of the few things that we do know about biodiversity on Earth is that we still know very little… © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 44. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 44 II.5 (a) Speciation and Adaptation Species on the planet have evolved over hundreds of millions of years in response to environmental pressures through the process of evolution by natural selection As such, every species on the planet are marvels of adaptation to given conditions and surrounding environments (they have managed to survive over a very long time due to the fact that adaptations that they have developed has giving them survival advantages) Each species is unique with specific adaptation attributes from which a lot of knowledge and applications for human civilizations could be gained As such, any species becoming extinct results in irreplaceable loss in potential solutions/remedies Furthermore, biodiversity is an important aspect of the beauty of this planet. Lets imagine a world with only a few species left including our own. Such scenario would be devastating for future generations © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 45. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 45 II.5 (b) Due to natural pressures species have evolved to be adapted to their surrounding environment. In this picture a small species of crab from Loyalty Islands (New Caledonia) has camouflaged itself to match the species of algae on which it lives on. This common adaptation gives species the advantage of not being easily noticed by predators. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 46. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 46 Sylvain Richer de Forges II.5 (c) Pressures for survival drives long term adaptation in species. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 47. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 47 II.6 The tree of life. All species on Earth are interrelated. Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 48. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 48 II.7 Archaea The Archaea: are a group of single-celled micro-organisms. They have no cell nucleus or any other organelles within their cells. Three main branches of evolutionary descent are the Archaea, Eukarya and Bacteria. Archaea are further divided into four recognized phyla, but many more phyla may exist. Classifying the Archaea is still difficult, since the vast majority have never been studied in the laboratory and have only been detected by analysis of their nucleic acids in samples from the environment. Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 49. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 49 The bacteria are a large group of unicellular microorganisms. Bacteria are found in every habitat on Earth, growing in soil, acidic hot springs, radioactive waste, water, and deep in the Earth's crust, as well as in organic matter and the live bodies of plants and animals. There are typically 40 million bacterial cells in a gram of soil and a million bacterial cells in a millilitre of fresh water; in all, there are approximately five nonillion bacteria on Earth, forming much of the world's biomass. Bacteria are vital in recycling nutrients, with many steps in nutrient cycles depending on these organisms, such as the fixation of nitrogen from the atmosphere and putrefaction. However, most bacteria have not been characterized, and only about half of the phyla of bacteria have species that can be grown in the laboratory. => We still know very little about bacteria. II.8 Bacteria © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 50. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 50 II.9 (a) Eukaryotes (Plants, Fungi, Animals) A eukaryote is an organism whose cells contain complex structures protected by membranes. The defining membrane-bound structure that sets eukaryotic cells apart from prokaryotic cells is the nucleus, or nuclear envelope, within which the genetic material is carried. Most eukaryotic cells also contain other membrane-bound organelles such as mitochondria, chloroplasts and the Golgi apparatus. Almost all species of large organisms are eukaryotes, including animals, plants and fungi, although most species of eukaryotic protists are micro-organisms. Cell division in eukaryotes is different from that in organisms without a nucleus (prokaryotes). It involves separating the duplicated chromosomes. There are two types of division processes. Mitosis, one cell divides to produce two genetically identical cells. And Meiosis, which is required in sexual reproduction. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 51. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 51 II.9 (b) Biodiversity is the most valuable resource on the planet and yet the least understood… As species are highly adapted to their surrounding environments, each species would require an in depth study to understand the processes involved. Even if every person on the planet was to study one species, we would still have far from a complete understanding of how diverse and complex the living world is. Yet, only a handful of people are making such studies => There is so much more to discover and yet so little allocated resources to do so… © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 52. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 52 II.10 Plants Belonging to the kingdom Plantae, they include familiar organisms such as trees, herbs, bushes, grasses, vines, ferns, mosses. The scientific study of plants, known as botany, has identified about 350,000 extant species of plants, defined as seed plants, bryophytes, ferns and fern allies. As of 2004, some 287,655 species had been identified, of which 258,650 are flowering and 18,000 bryophytes. “Green plants” obtain most of their energy from sunlight via a process called photosynthesis Aristotle divided all living things between plants (which generally do not move), and animals (which often are mobile to catch their food). In Linnaeus' system, these became the Kingdoms Vegetabilia (later Metaphyta or Plantae) and Animalia (also called Metazoa). Since then, it has become clear that the Plantae as originally defined included several unrelated groups, and the fungi and several groups of algae were removed to new kingdoms © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 53. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 53 II.11 (a) Fungus A fungus is a member of a large group of eukaryotic organisms that includes microorganisms such as yeasts and molds, as well as the more familiar mushrooms. The Fungi are classified as a kingdom that is separate from plants, animals and bacteria. One major difference is that fungal cells have cell walls that contain chitin, unlike the cell walls of plants, which contain cellulose. Abundant worldwide, most fungi are inconspicuous because of the small size of their structures, and their cryptic lifestyles in soil, on dead matter, and as symbionts of plants, animals, or other fungi. They may become noticeable when fruiting, either as mushrooms or molds. Fungi perform an essential role in the decomposition of organic matter and have fundamental roles in nutrient cycling and exchange. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 54. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 54 Species are closely interrelated. For instance certain species of insects are only found on one species of plant. If this plant disappears, so will the insect species. Such principle applies to all living organism, the more we study species the more we learn that numerous other species live on or in dependence to one single species. => parasitology is a particular case of these interactions. II.11 (b) The disappearance of only one species can result in the disappearance of many others which depend on it to survive… © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 55. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 55 II.12 (a) Animals Animals are a major group of mostly multicellular, eukaryotic organisms of the kingdom Animalia or Metazoa. Their body plan eventually becomes fixed as they develop, although some undergo a process of metamorphosis later in their life. Most animals are motile, meaning they can move spontaneously and independently. All animals are also heterotrophs, meaning they must ingest other organisms for sustenance. Most known animal phyla appeared in the fossil record as marine species during the Cambrian explosion, about 542 million years ago. Animals have several characteristics that set them apart from other living things. Most animals are eukaryotic and are multicellular, which separates them from bacteria and most protists. They are heterotrophic. Generally digesting food in an internal chamber, which separates them from plants and algae. They are also distinguished from plants, algae, and fungi by lacking rigid cell walls. All animals are motile. In most animals, embryos pass through a blastula stage, which is a characteristic exclusive to animals. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 56. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 56 II.12 (b) Isolated ecosystems such as caves hold some of the most remarkably adapted species. There is still a lot to be discovered in remote ecosystems… Remote ecosystems can be defined as places which have become isolated from their surrounding environments and which possesses unique environments. Even in the 21st century, many of such ecosystems on Earth, remain virtually unexplored for their inhabiting biodiversity. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 57. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 57 II.13 (a) Insects Insects are a class within the arthropods that have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body (head, thorax, and abdomen), three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes, and two antennae. They are among the most diverse group of animals on the planet, include more than a million described species and represent more than half of all known living organisms. The number of extant species is estimated at between six and ten million and potentially represent over 90% of the differing life forms on Earth. Insects may be found in nearly all environments, although only a small number of species occur in the oceans, a habitat dominated by another arthropod group, the crustaceans. The life cycles of insects vary but most hatch from eggs. Insect growth is constrained by the inelastic exoskeleton and development involves a series of molts. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 58. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 58 II.13 (b) Many insects are considered pests by humans. However, we must keep in mind that insects are vital to maintaining healthy ecosystems necessary for humans well being. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 59. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 59 II. 13 (c) Insects Insects that undergo incomplete metamorphosis lack a pupal stage and adults develop through a series of nymphal stages. The higher level relationship of the hexapoda is unclear. Fossilized insects of enormous size have been found from the Paleozoic Era, including giant dragonflies with wingspans of 55 to 70 cm. The most diverse insect groups have coevolved with flowering plants. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 60. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 60 I.13 (d) Insects represent the largest and most diverse animal group on the planet. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 61. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 61 Mammals (formally Mammalia) are a class of vertebrate, air- breathing animals whose females are characterized by the possession of mammary glands while both males and females are characterized by sweat glands, hair and/or fur, three middle ear bones used in hearing, and a neocortex region in the brain. Mammals are divided into three main infraclass taxa depending how they are born. These taxa are: monotremes, marsupials and placentals. Except for the five species of monotremes (which lay eggs), all mammal species give birth to live young. Most mammals also possess specialized teeth, and the largest group of mammals, the placentals, use a placenta during gestation. There are approximately 5,400 species of mammals, distributed in about 1,200 genera, 153 families, and 29 orders. Mammals range in size from the 30–40 millimeter (1- to 1.5- inch) Bumblebee Bat to the 33-meter (108-foot) Blue Whale. II.14 (a) Mammals © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 62. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 62 II.14 (b) Mammals have developed some of the most complex behaviors in the animal kingdom. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 63. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 63 II.15 (a) Reptiles Reptiles, or members of the (Linnaean) class Reptilia, are air-breathing, generally "cold-blooded". Their skin is usually covered in scales or scutes. They are tetrapods (either having four limbs or being descended from four-limbed ancestors) and lay amniotic eggs, in which the embryo is surrounded by a membrane called the amnion. Modern reptiles inhabit every continent with the exception of Antarctica. Four living orders are currently recognized: Crocodilia, Sphenodontia, Squamata and Chelonia. The majority of reptile species are oviparous (egg- laying), although certain species of squamates are capable of giving live birth. This is achieved by either ovoviviparity (egg retention) or viviparity (birth of offspring without the development of calcified eggs). Many of the viviparous species feed their fetuses through various forms of placenta analogous to those of mammals, with some providing initial care for their hatchlings. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 64. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 64 II.15 (b) Reptiles have adapted remarkably to the most hostile environments. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 65. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 65 As presented in this chapter, species on Earth are incredibly diverse. However, despite that main types of life forms have been identified and can be recognized, most of the diversity occurs between species. Despite that individual species within a group have common features, they also possess very different traits and adaptations which accounts for the diversity. While we are now starting to get a good understanding of the common traits in groups of species, adaptations at the species level remains virtually unknown. => Every species is unique. Conclusion Chapter II © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 66. A living fossil: Gymnocrinus richeri Chapter III Main Biodiversity Rich Ecosystems How the vast majority of the diversity of life on Earth is found in only a few ecosystems
  • 67. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 67 Introduction Chapter III: Main Biodiversity Rich Ecosystems This chapter aims to highlight the fact that most biodiversity on the planet is present within a few ecosystems. Despite that diverse forms of life can be found in almost any environment on the planet, the vast majority of the species are concentrated within specific ecosystems and also in specific locations of the planet which are known to inhabit more species. Oceans where life originated in the first place remain one of the most bio-diverse environments on the planet. However, surprisingly we still know relatively very little about the life in our oceans, especially at greater depths as these environments remain almost unexplored to date. The second mega bio-diverse environment are tropical rainforests which inhabit a remarkable diversity of species, much of which remains totally un-accounted for. There is however a concerning aspect relative to the fact that most of biodiversity on Earth is concentrated within these two ecosystems: both are in critical state as a result of anthropic pressures from aspects such as deforestation, over-exploitation and climate change. The important point here is that we need to preserve ecosystems in order to preserve species. If forests and marine ecosystems collapse, this will result in enormous losses of biodiversity. At the current rate of deforestation, there will be little left of natural forests by as soon as 2030. We also know that most biodiversity in the oceans is concentrated within shallow waters. However, as global warming is taking its toll, we also know that it is likely that surface temperatures will increase by at least 2 degrees by the end of the century. Under such scenario, most coral reefs will not survive. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter III: Main Biodiversity Rich Ecosystems Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 68. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 68 III.1 Rainforests Rainforests are one of the main biodiversity rich ecosystems of the planet. Rainforests are mostly found in tropical and subtropical regions. The largest rainforests include the Amazon in South America as well as in the island of Borneo in South East Asia. Both of these examples are critically threatened from massive deforestation which has reached alarming rates. At the current rate of deforestation, these rainforests which hold most of the worlds biodiversity could be gone as soon as 2030. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter III: Main Biodiversity Rich Ecosystems Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 69. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 69 III.2 (a) Coral Reefs Reefs are one of the most bio-diverse ecosystems on the planet. They are mostly found in tropical and subtropical regions. Reefs are critical to the equilibrium of oceanic life as they hold many of the food supplies for other marine life. Reefs are facing a rising amount of pressures mostly from anthropic origins as a result of overfishing, global warming, sea and land based pollution as well as development. A collapse of reef ecosystems would have dramatic consequences on the rest of marine ecosystems which rely on coral reefs to survive. Reef remain a primary source of food and an ecosystem upon many human civilizations rely on for their survival. The loss of coral reefs will also result in major social issues. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter III: Main Biodiversity Rich Ecosystems Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 70. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 70 III.2 (b) Under current climate change negotiations, it is very likely that average global temperatures will exceed 2 degrees Celcius by 2100. Accepting a 2 degree warmer world is accepting that we have already scarified most coral reefs around the world which will not be able to cope with such a rapid change © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter III: Main Biodiversity Rich Ecosystems Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 71. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 71 III.3 Mangroves Mangroves are another bio-diverse ecosystem mostly found in tropical and subtropical regions. Mangroves play an important role as a feeding ground for migratory birds. Due to the salty or semi-salty conditions found in mangroves, a very specific flora has adapted to such conditions. To this particular flora and environment, very specific and diverse life forms have also adapted making mangroves an important feeding ground for many species. In addition, mangroves play a critical role in coastal health by providing a filtering and physical barrier to coastal erosion. Mangroves are disappearing around the world as a combination of deforestation, coastal development and global warming. They are also under threat from overfishing. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter III: Main Biodiversity Rich Ecosystems Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 72. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 72 Because they have become isolated at some point in time over the last few million years, many ecosystems on the planet have developed a biodiversity which is unique from its surounding environment. Such examples of biodiverse isolated ecosystems include small island states like the Galapagos or New Caledonia as well as isolated areas within continents such as an isolated mountain top, a lake or any other area which for some reason has become isolated from its surrounding. Such ecosystems can be different from their surrounding for reasons such as a micro-climate, a particular soil/flora or a unique feature. =>The surrounding environment often shapes the diversity of the species inhabiting within. III.4 (a) Isolated Ecosystems © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter III: Main Biodiversity Rich Ecosystems Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 73. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 73 Isolated ecosystems, case study: seamounts Seamounts are mountains found under the sea. The study of these mounts shows that they are very rich in biodiversity especially in tropical and sub-tropical areas. Studies also show that these mounts are often isolated ecosystems as the fauna found on one seamount can be very different than another seamount even when located nearby one another. III.4 (b) Seamounts are isolated ecosystems rich in biodiversity. Chapter III: Main Biodiversity Rich Ecosystems Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 74. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 74 III.5 (a) The Abyss The abyss refers to the deep sea at depth below 2000 m. We know very little about the abyss for the reason that it is very difficult to reach due to physical constraints. However, some remarkable isolated ecosystems have been found at great dephts such as hydrothermal vents around which very biodiverse and unique life forms have adapted. The difficullty to reach these depths is an obstacle to our exploration. The more we will have access to the abyss, the more we will discover. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter III: Main Biodiversity Rich Ecosystems Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 75. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 75 III.5 (b) We know more about our solar system then we do about life in the deep oceans of our own planet! Our knowledge of life in the deeper parts of the oceans remains largely unknown to date. The main reason is the extreme technological difficulties of reaching these depths which is comparable to going into outer space. The other reason is that many deep sea species are likely to be very “shy” and sensitive to light sources. Therefore, most of the life is likely to be scared away by the powerful lights of submersibles. It is likely that we have yet not seen even the tip of the iceberg of the diversity of deep sea life. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter III: Main Biodiversity Rich Ecosystems Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 76. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 76 III.5 (c) Deep Water Thermal Vents For long it was believed that all life forms on Earth derived their energy from photosynthesis by utilizing energy from the Sun. However, the discovery of deep sea vents and the understanding of the life forms living around them shows that organisms in these ecosystems are relying on Sulphur chemistry and thermal energy from the core of the earth rather than direct sun energy. Such discovery also gives hope that life forms on other planets may exist. Such life forms are another example of how life can evolve and adapt to very hostile and particular conditions. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter III: Main Biodiversity Rich Ecosystems Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 77. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 77 III.6 Seagrass Beds Seagrasses form extensive beds or meadows and can be either made up of one species or be multispecific. In temperate areas, usually one or a few species dominate, whereas tropical beds usually are more diverse, with up to thirtheen species recorded in the Philippines. Seagrass beds are highly diverse and productive ecosystems, and can harbor hundreds of associated species from all phyla. Seagrass herbivory is a highly important link in the food chain, with hundreds of species feeding on seagrasses worldwide, including green turtles, dugongs, manatees, fish, geese, swans, sea urchins and crabs. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter III: Main Biodiversity Rich Ecosystems Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 78. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 78 Conclusion Chapter III As presented in this chapter, most of the diversity of life forms on Earth can be found in only a few mega diverse locations. Most of these locations are located in the tropic and sub-tropic regions. Furthermore, among all ecosystems on Earth, rainforests and barrier reefs are by far the most diverse environments in terms of biodiversity. Sadly, both of the latest ecosystems are amongst the most threatened from human activities. While rainforest are disappearing at alarming rates through deforestation and reconversion of lands, climate change is expected to take an heavy toll on reefs around the world throughout the century. However, despite that the vast majority of life on Earth can be found in these few ecosystems, species can surprisingly be found in almost any environments on the planet ranging from hot springs to the coldest places. Micro-organisms are especially incredibly diverse in almost any given environments. Often species which are found in isolated and poor ecosystems in terms of biodiversity have been able to survive through unique adaptations which have provided these species highly competitive advantages over other species which for most have not survived. If the objective is to save as many species as possible, then most of conservation efforts should be focused on tropical and subtropical regions and in particular rainforests. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter III: Main Biodiversity Rich Ecosystems Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 79. A living fossil: Gymnocrinus richeri Chapter IV Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity How humans have drastically changed the balance of life on Earth
  • 80. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 80 Introduction Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity This chapter aims to focus on the pressures exerted on biodiversity as a direct impact of human influences. Humans have a tremendous impact on other species on the planet should it be from direct impacts (e.g. Human food consumption) or indirect impacts as a result of our activities (e.g. mining, industrialization, pollutions…). As the human population rapidly grows, the pressures imposed on natural ecosystems and species are enormous and resulting in numerous species extinctions. It is estimated that species are disappearing at least 1000 times the natural rate. While some of the impacts are only felt locally where the disturbance occurs, a more concerning trend now becoming a reality is that, as a result of intense pollution worldwide, ecosystems are becoming saturated on a global scale which could well lead to massive extinctions in a near future. Pollution of oceans is one example of such large scale disturbance. Plastic residues for instance are now found in almost any location on the planet even in the most remote areas. Such residues are incorporated into food chains and can even be monitored in species themselves. The most significant impact that humans are causing to global biodiversity will be a consequence of global warming as a result of industrialization and the addition of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels. Under current climate negotiations the rise in temperature alone will with certainty cause a wave of massive biodiversity loss onto which pollution issues will add on. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 81. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 81 IV.1 (a) Deforestation Deforestation is one of the major threats to biodiversity. Forests and especially rainforests of equatorial and subtropical regions hold some of the Earth richest ecosystems. Deforestation has however been increasing significantly over the past decades to the point where it has now reached alarming rates and associated species loss. The island of Borneo forests as well as the Amazon are losing tremendous superficies of forest each year due to logging activities mostly for the construction and paper industry. Significant deforestation has also been rising in recent years in relation to agriculture and the plantation of monocultures for biofuels. Deforestation has devastating effects on the rich biodiversity that these ecosystems hold by destroying habitats of numerous species and destabilizing the food chains resulting in the collapse of the ecosystems. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 82. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 82 Forests are vanishing around the world at an alarming rate. Forests provide habitats for numerous species. As forests disappear so is the biodiversity that inhabits within. IV.1 (b) There are very few primary forests left in the world and most of them are critically endangered. Most of these forests are only present in national parks and in areas where human development has not intensified. Once destroyed, a forest is either lost or will take thousands of years to recover. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 83. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 83 Many still have the misconception that because land is covered by “green” vegetation such as common grass species, we are preserving biodiversity. This concept is wrong, if one species disappears so are many other species which depend on it to survive. => Preserving a diversity of plant species is crucial for preserving biodiversity of other life forms. IV.1 (c) Replacing natural forests with planted monocultures is a major threat to biodiversity… © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 84. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 84 IV.2 (a) Mining Mining activities are rapidly expending around the world due to the rising demand in metals and other resources. The sole activity of mining can have devastating effects on biodiversity, especially in isolated ecosystems and bio- diverse areas. Examples of mining activities which are putting severe pressures on the biodiversity and ecosystems can be found in areas such as Indonesia, Madagascar or New Caledonia which are all classified as biodiversity hotspots. Terrestrial biodiversity is most concentrated in the top upper layer of the soil. Mining activities which completely wipe out the top part of the soil destroys whichever life form and habitats are present. The soil once exposed is easily eroded and carried out to sea impacting reef formations and marine life as well. Mining activities have devastating impacts on the environment and biodiversity in particular, especially in bio-diverse locations. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 85. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 85 IV.2 (b) Mining is one of the most environmental destructive and unsustainable practices. Especially in biodiversity rich areas. Many mines are located in biodiversity sensitive areas including biodiversity hotspots like Madagascar. These mines have devastating impacts resulting from the installation of the mine (from large scale deforestation to the operation and after life of the mine). The impacts of these mines often extend much beyond the mining area as they require the cutting of roads, heavy machinery and reject numerous toxic compounds into the environment affecting the surrounding environment on a large scale. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 86. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 86 Many nations depend almost entirely on resources from the oceans as a primary food supply. Most of the oceans resources are however harvested extensively by only a few industrialized nations. Fish stocks and other marine resources are harvested far beyond their regeneration ability. At the current rate of fishing, most fish stocks will be extinct by mid-century. Adoption of sustainable fishing practices respectful of species reproductive rate is crucial in order to avoid the collapse of most marine ecosystems. Fish should be harvested from farming rather than the oceans. However the current aquaculture practices are far from sustainable. IV.3 (a) Over Fishing © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 87. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 87 The replacement of traditional local fishing with international industrial fishing has devastating effects on the worlds marine species. At the current rate It is estimated that most large commercial fish species will be extinct by 2040. IV.3 (b) Traditional fishing methods have been replaced by industrialized and more productive fishing practices. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 88. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 88 IV.3 (C) As industrial fishing deplates the worlds ocean resources and marine biodiversity, it also creates social problems by depleting the stocks which are no longer available for local communities to feed on… © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 89. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 89 As the top predator in the oceans, Sharks play a very important role in maintaining ecosystems stability. Worldwide, populations of sharks are seriously pressured from anthropic activities. Most species of sharks are now at serious risks of extinction as a result of overfishing. The process of shark finning is having devastating impacts on shark populations but also on entire ecosystems. Shark fins are mostly collected to be sold as shark fin soup which is considered a delicacy in Asian countries. Sharks have a very slow reproductive rate and only have a few young's in their life time. At the current rate sharks are collected, numerous species of sharks could become extinct within the next 10-20 years. The disappearance or drastic diminution of sharks in the oceans will have devastating effects on the entire marine ecosystem. IV.3 (d) Case study: Sharks, a Critical Problem © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 90. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 90 All Shark species must become protected or they will face extinction within a few decades only… Shark finning is a threat to shark populations worldwide with serious implications for marine ecosystems stability. Shark finning is a very unsustainable practice which should become banned or at least strictly regulated. IV.3 (e) Shark Finning © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 91. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 91 We do not know the full extent or consequences that a sharp diminution or even disappearance of sharks will have on marine ecosystems. We however know that they play a critical role. IV.3 (f) Sharks have been mediatized as a “human killing machine”. It has now been clearly established that such statement is false. Sharks as a top predator play a critical role in maintaining oceans ecosystem stability. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 92. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 92 IV.4 Illegal Trading of Species Illegal trading of endangered species is a growing problem. As species become more and more under threat and on the verge of extinction, the price of such species on the black market keeps on rising. Illegal killing and selling of endangered species has a serious impact on the stability of these fragile populations which in many instances pushes these species to extinction. Examples of species which are valued include tigers, parrots and fish mostly originating from tropical and subtropical regions. while some endangered species are traded as living organisms others such as elephants are killed for the sole purpose of extracting parts of the animals (e.g. Ivory, tiger powder). © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 93. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 93 IV.5 (a) Agriculture Over the past century agriculture has increased dramatically in response to the exponentially growing human population and the need to feed them. In addition to its fast expansion, agriculture has drifted away from traditional practices to highly industrialized and optimized processes. In order to cope with such demand, agriculture has become increasingly dependent on fertilizers and pesticides. The use of genetically engineered plantations is also a rising threat to biodiversity. Species genetically modified, when introduced into the environment, compete with natural species. Agriculture by its nature is also a major threat to biodiversity by spreading monocultures. In order to find the ever increasing space required for agriculture, tremendous spaces of land initially occupied by primary forests and other ecosystems are destroyed removing in the process the diversity of species which in many instances were only found in these specific locations. A growing problem is also the rise of lands used for monoculture plantations destined for biofuel production. This new usage has for consequence to even put more pressure and increase the need for further agricultural lands. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 94. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 94 In order to preserve biodiversity we must find and shift to new food production methods not requiring such extensive land use (e.g. vertical farms?) IV.5 (b) Agriculture is one of the main threats to biodiversity. Worldwide, entire ecosystems are wiped out (such as forests) and reconverted for agricultural purposes which has major implications for biodiversity and has resulted in the loss of numerous species. Today this trend is even pushed further with the need for biofuel crops. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 95. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 95 IV.5 (c) Pesticides used in agriculture can affect animal reproduction adding further pressures on biodiversity. In addition to monocultures land conversion. A very significant amount of pesticides and fertilizers are added to industrial crops. These two elements kill numerous species resulting in significant biodiversity loss going much beyond the crop areas as the substances are transmitted through food chains © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 96. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 96 IV.6 Bio-Engineering Genetically modified organisms (GMO) are a threat to natural species in the environment. The genes within GMO enter in competition with natural genes occurring in the environment. We are uncertain of the impacts that such GMO will have on other species. However, it has been proven that GMO lead to monocultures and mutations within natural species. By introducing GMO into the environment we are risking the loss of naturally occurring species in favor of genetically modified ones. => GMO are a major threat to global biodiversity. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 97. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 97 IV.7 Industrialisation and Associated Waste Since the industrial revolution, the rise of industries of all forms and sectors have been taking place in most nations. This rapid change of activities has driven the rise of very diverse environmental pressures including the generation of very large amounts of chemical wastes and other disturbances such as noise and atmospheric emissions. Pollution generated by all nations has now far exceeded local impacts and effects on a global scale are starting to arise. For instance trace amounts of certain pollutants such as residues of hydrocarbons (e.g. plastic bags) can now be found in any given place on Earth. Such background pollution is putting further pressure on ecosystems around the world which are struggling to adapt and cope with the change in surrounding environment. Usually under natural conditions such changes in the chemistry of the environment occurs over millions of years which permits adaptive changes, however species are unable to adopt to such a rapid change now occurring over several decades only. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 98. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 98 IV.8 (a) Pollution and Biodiversity Pollution is a human created vision of the state of our environment. Without a human vision of the world in which we live, the concept of pollution would simply not exist. Pollution can be seen as an unusual level of a substance which disturbs the surrounding environment and especially biodiversity. Due to industrialization pollution has become one of the greatest threat to global biodiversity. Many species cannot cope with the rapid changes in physical parameters which are occurring to our environment. High levels of pollution results in toxicity. All substances are toxic it all depends on the level of occurrence and to which capacity organisms can tolerate the substance. => We are releasing substances in the environment to such a level that they are becoming toxic to many organisms. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 99. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 99 IV.8 (b) While some substances require large amounts to be toxic to organisms, numerous human made substances have significant impacts on organisms even in very low concentrations. While some substances only stay in the environment for short periods of times, others stay very long. These are the most concerning pollutants as they do not deteriorate and end up entering food chains. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 100. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 100 Eutrophication (or algal bloom) is an increase in the concentration of nutrient content to an extent that it increases the primary productivity of the water body. In other terms, it is the "bloom“ or great increase of phytoplankton in a water body. Negative environmental effects include particularly anoxia, or loss of oxygen in the water with severe reductions in fish and other animal populations. Other species may experience an increase in population that negatively affects other species in the local ecosystem. As pollution (Nitrates & Phosphates) from sources such as agriculture increases, more and more water bodies are experiencing eutrophication which is putting pressure on the biodiversity of these ecosystems. IV.8 (c) Case Study: Eutrophication © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 101. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 101 IV.9 (a) Climate Change and Biodiversity Since the industrial revolution, human activities have added tremendous amounts of green house gases into the atmosphere. By doing so we are changing the composition of the atmosphere which results into the Earth becoming warmer through the action of the greenhouse effect being amplified in the process. One of the consequences of global warming will be to affect biodiversity. Numerous species of plants and animals are already responding to warmer temperatures by moving to higher altitudes or latitudes. Many species unable to adapt or migrate fast enough will however become at increased risk of extinction. Scientists estimate that we could lose half of all species present on the planet today through the impacts of climate change alone by the end of the century. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 102. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 102 IV.9 (b) Climate Change and Biodiversity loss: It is here important to highlight and emphasize on the link between climate change and biodiversity loss. It has taken millions of years for species to adapt to their given ecosystems. During this time numerous changes in the climate system have occurred. However, climate change that we observe today is occurring very fast (as opposed to most geological climate shifts) and is the result of mainly anthropic activities (and therefore could be slowed down) Most species on Earth happen to have adapted to be very sensitive to even slight variations in outside parameters such as air pressure, or ambient temperature. Most scientists have agreed that numerous species will simply not be able to cope with the rise in atmospheric and oceanic temperatures which are predicted under various scenarios (including the most optimistic ones). To further confirm the above, numerous studies on fossils and geological observations have concluded that rapid climate shifts have always resulted in massive species extinction events. If temperatures were to rise by 2 degrees centigrade by 2100 (as predicted under most scenarios) this alone will without doubt result in the loss of a very significant portion of all species present on the Earth today (most still unknown). It makes little sense to act to preserve biodiversity in given ecosystems today but on the other hand to ignore the much greater threat that climate change will have on biodiversity and these ecosystems in the short to medium term. Thus acting to limit the worse impacts of climate change by reducing GHG emissions will also help in preserving species on Earth.. => Maintaining the Earth Climate and preserving biodiversity cannot go without one another. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 103. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 103 The impact of global warming on the oceans biodiversity will be disastrous. As sea level rises and oceans become more acidic due to the absorption of CO2, biodiversity in shallow marine ecosystems will sharply decrease. IV.9 (c) Most experts agree that coral reefs around the world will not be able to survive a 2 degree Celcius rise in atmospheric temperatures. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 104. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 104 IV.9 (d) Coastal ecosystems and their inhabiting biodiversity will be greatly affected as a result of global sea level rise. As sea level rises, large coastal areas will become permanently flooded. In addition, the salty waters will infiltrate further and further inland. Many species of plants and animals will not be able to cope with this change in soil salinity. Sea level rise alone will result in species extinctions… © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 105. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 105 IV.9 (e) The thought of the scale of species extinctions through climate change alone is disturbing. If predictions by the scientific community are correct, almost half of all species present on Earth today will become extinct by 2100 as a sole consequence of increased global temperatures. We must however keep in mind that in addition, there are many other factors which will drive even further species extinctions such as global pollution, habitat destruction…. We could loose half of the world total biodiversity from the impacts of climate change alone by the end of the century. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 106. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 106 IV.9 (f) Climate Change is the most serious threat to global biodiversity loss. At the current rate of warming, the loss of biodiversity as a result of climate change will be disastrous… Despite that deforestation and other threats have already alone very significant and disastrous consequences on biodiversity, climate change will continue to affect all the planet ecosystems at increasing pressures proportional to the rise in ambient temperatures. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 107. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 107 IV.10 (a) Human Disturbances / Population Growth Human population is a major threat to biodiversity. With a current population of near 7 billion people, humans are the main cause of environmental disturbance on the planet which includes major impacts on biodiversity. A control over the growth of the worlds population is inevitable if we want to preserve the diversity of species present on Earth today. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 108. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 108 IV.10 (b) World Population Predictions World population is expected to exceed 9 billion by 2050. In order to feed a rapidly growing population, agricultural fields are expending exponentially with major impacts on biodiversity. In order to keep up with the demand more land needs to be cultivated, more pollution occurs. This results in more and more pressures put on ecosystems. Humans and human related activities are already the greatest threat to biodiversity. Source: UNEP Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 109. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 109 IV.10 (c) The environment will always be there, preserving our environment is not about preserving the Earth but whether we and future generations want to live in an environment that has suffered the impacts of human activities… © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 110. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 110 Despite that ecotourism can have beneficial impacts on biodiversity conservation, if not well managed the impacts of mass tourisms can be disastrous. Examples of the impacts of the tourisms industry on biodiversity ranges from the impacts of constructing an hotel in a remote location to massive arrival of tourists from a cruise ship on a beach. In a rapidly changing world where population movements are rapidly increasing, bio-diverse areas must increasingly be protected to preserve this biodiversity. The best way to protect biodiversity rich areas is to limit the number of people at one time in these sites with access granted on a permit basis. IV.11 (a) Mass Tourisms © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 111. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 111 IV.11 (b) Mass tourisms can have high impacts on biodiversity. While a small group of people may cause little disturbance, a few hundred or thousands in one biodiverse sensitive place at the same time can be a major disturbance. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 112. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 112 IV.12 (a) Forest Fires Forest fires are a rising threat to biodiversity. Despite being a natural cycle in some ecosystems where wildlife has adapted to cope (e.g. Australian bush), in many areas fires are occurring in places where they are not meant to occur frequently (e.g. Amazon). Every year large superficies of native forests are completely destroyed by fires which are of natural or most often unnatural causes. When forests are burnt, the diversity of species that they hold and cannot manage to escape fast enough also disappears. Many unknown species become extinct in fire events every year. The vast majority are small animals and plants. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 113. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 113 Forest fires are part of natural cycles. They have occurred for a very long time and are actually necessary in many cases to regulate population numbers and even for species to spread in certain cases (e.g. Australian bush). However, the concerning trend is that most fires occurring today are of unnatural sources. These fires are propagated by humans for various reasons (clearing of forest for farm use, pest control….). These fires are destroying forests around the world including biodiversity sensitive areas such as the amazon. IV.12 (b) Each year fires are devastating large forest surfaces. In biodiversity rich areas such as in South America, such fires are responsible for a large number of species becoming extinct. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 114. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 114 IV.13 (a) Fragmentation of Habitats Ecosystems are very fragile in a sense that it does not take much for these systems to collapse. Small variations in environmental parameters or even a fragmentation can trigger such disturbance. Fragmentation of habitats is a threat to biodiversity. Such fragmentation usually occurs when continuous ecosystems are cut into various sections for instance by a road or a track. Plants are especially vulnerable to fragmentation. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 115. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 115 IV.13 (b) Fragmentation of habitats is an important threat to Biodiversity. With the industrial revolution and a growing population also came roads. Road infrastructures around the world have the effect of fragmenting habitats which isolates certain populations and makes them more vulnerable to extinction. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 116. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 116 IV.14 (a) Genetic Resources Access to genetic resources is a rising threat to biodiversity. Many large corporations are in a constant search of rare active compounds within species in order to develop new medicines, perfumes or for other purposes. Often the discovery of such compounds leads to an unsustainable harvesting of the resource. An ongoing debate is with the ownership of genetic resources. Often these compounds are discovered because the plants and animals they are derived from have been used by local communities for centuries. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 117. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 117 IV.14 (b) As numbers of individuals within species decrease.. ..so is the genetic pool. This makes species even more vulnerable to extinction. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 118. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 118 IV.15 (a) Alien Species The transfer of species between countries and regions is a major threat to biodiversity. As the world nations became more and more connected through international and national import/export trades, species are now been transferred between locations at alarming rates. These transfers result in some species ending up in places they are not meant to be (outside of their natural habitats). As a result, more dominant species start competing for resources with endemic species often resulting in alien species taking over. => The spread of alien species results in the extinction of local species. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 119. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 119 Despite measures taken by custom authorities, species are increasingly being transferred as a result of rapidly expending human transportation and goods (shipping and air transport). IV.15 (b) In the 21st Century, transportation has taken such proportion that ecosystems that have long been isolated from one another are now vulnerable to cross contaminations. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 120. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 120 Conclusion Chapter IV As highlighted in this chapter, life on Earth is seriously endangered mostly as a result of the action of mankind. Probably the greatest pressure of all relies in human over-population. As the world population keeps on increasing at exponential rates, the amount of pressures put on the worlds ecosystems are simply much beyond their capacity to recover. Species on Earth are now struggling to survive through an unprecedented accumulation of pressures which most have been enumerated throughout this chapter. While global pollution is becoming a major issue, it usually dilutes overtime into the environment and species may be able to recover, should we limit our emissions of pollutants. However, the main global threat to biodiversity is climate change. The impacts have started to occur and will severely intensify throughout the century leading to the disappearance of an unprecedented amount of species in recent Earth history. Unless significant progress in global negotiations to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions are made, the rise in global temperatures will indeed result by itself in a massive species extinction event. Time for action on climate change to save the diversity of life on Earth is now and time is running out very fast for any measures taken to significantly prevent such species loss. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 121. A living fossil: Gymnocrinus richeri Chapter V A Few Case Studies of Biodiversity Degradation How the situation has dramatically shifted from only isolated events to a global biodiversity loss
  • 122. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 122 Introduction Chapter V: A Few Case Studies of Biodiversity Degradation This chapter presents a few case studies of biodiversity degradation. While it is often said that humans learn from past mistakes, this statement does not seem to apply to the conservation of biodiversity. There are multitude of specific examples of anthropic activities which have resulted in severe impacts on wildlife and biodiversity, yet we have still not understood the lessons especially when it comes to the extinction of species. Despite that a few adjustments and precautions have been taken following punctual events, still major and much more spread devastation is occurring today on a global scale as a result of overexploitation of resources and pollution. Climate change being on the top of the agenda when it comes to massive extinction of species. Despite high level negotiations which have been adopted for more than 3 decades now (e.g. Agenda 21). Biodiversity conservation policies remain global failures. Deforestation is still going on at alarming rates and the rate has actually worsen. Global warming negotiations are struggling to even tackle basic requirements, overexploitation of natural resources is at its worse and the list goes on. Often the concept of sustainable development first introduced during the Brundtland Commission and suggesting that developments must take equally into consideration environmental, social and economical issues is misused and environmental irreversible degradations still result as a consequence of current development models. If we are to preserve biodiversity, such perception and the way we deal with our environment must change. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter V: A Few Case Studies of Biodiversity Degradation Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 123. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 123 V.1 (a) Case Study 1: Oil Spill, Exxon Valdez & Deepwater Horizon The Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred in the Prince William Sound, Alaska, on March 23, 1989. It is considered one of the most devastating human-caused environmental disasters ever to occur at sea. The region was a habitat for salmon, sea otters, seals and seabirds. The vessel spilled about 40 million litres of crude oil into the sea, and the oil eventually covered 3,400 km2 of ocean. Thousands of animals died immediately; the best estimates include 250,000 to as many as 500,000 seabirds, at least 1,000 sea otters, approximately 12 river otters, 300 harbor seals, 250 bald eagles, and 22 orcas, as well as the destruction of billions of salmon and herring eggs. The effects of the spill continue to be felt today. Deepwater horizon: On April 20, 2010, the pressure in a well in the Gulf of Mexico blew its top. The result was an explosion and the collapse of the oil rig into the bottom of the ocean. At least 84,000 barrels equivalent of oil were spewing into the water daily. Despite the previous oil spill of the Exxon Valdez, this event which has been described as one of the worse environmental disasters in US history is a reminder of the threat of the oil industry on biodiversity. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter V: A Few Case Studies of Biodiversity Degradation Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 124. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 124 V.1 (b) With the constantly growing number of large ships and the aging of the worlds shipping fleets, the threat of oil spills is rapidly growing. Despite the strengthening of international shipping regulations requiring oil tankers to have a double layer for their oil containers, many aging ships still to date do not meet this preventive requirement. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter V: A Few Case Studies of Biodiversity Degradation Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 125. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 125 V.1 (c) Oil spills have long term devastating effects on marine life, seabirds and coastal species. Oil drilling in the sea beds is becoming a major threat to sea life. As oil reserves are depleting, oil companies need to search for oil in areas that are difficult to access: the deep sea beds. However, the current technology to do such drilling remains inappropriate and very risky for the surrounding environment. As recent events demonstrate when a problem arises at these depths, there is little control we can have on the proliferation of the oil in the oceans. Even in the 21st century, our knowledge of life in the deep oceans remains virtually unknown. If we destroy this life through such contaminations, we will never know what was lost… © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter V: A Few Case Studies of Biodiversity Degradation Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 126. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 126 V.1 (d) Coastal ecosystems are very vulnerable to oil spills and other contaminants. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter V: A Few Case Studies of Biodiversity Degradation Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 127. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 127 V.2 Case Study: Mining in New Caledonia New Caledonia, a French island located in the Southern Pacific, is classified as one of the worlds 18 biodiversity hotspots. Due to its isolation and uniqueness of its lateritic soil, New Caledonia has developed over millions of years of a very unique fauna and flora which is more than 80% endemic to the island (i.e. these species are found no where else in the world). The destruction: Since the past few decades, large mining companies are exploiting the island for its rich soils in Nickel and other minerals. In addition to the mining process itself that literally clears all the top part of the soil (over hundreds of km2), numerous fires are set on regular basis to prospect for new mining sites. The impacts: The direct impact is the total destruction of habitats and the likely disappearance of thousands of unknown species which have very restricted repartition areas coinciding with the mining sites (these include plants, reptiles and insects, only found in these specific sites). In addition to the terrestrial destruction, tremendous quantities of contaminants and soil are dumped into the world’s largest lagoon impacting coral reef ecosystems over unprecedented surfaces. => Mining in New Caledonia is a good example of un-sustainable development on a large scale. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter V: A Few Case Studies of Biodiversity Degradation Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 128. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 128 V.3 Case Study: Acid Rains Acid rain is rain or any other form of precipitation that is unusually acidic, i.e. elevated levels of hydrogen ions (low pH) It can have harmful effects on plants, aquatic animals, and infrastructure through the process of wet deposition. Acid rain is caused by emissions of compounds of ammonium, carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur which react with the water molecules in the atmosphere to produce acids Governments have made efforts since the 1970s to reduce the production of sulfuric oxides into the Earth's atmosphere with positive results. However, it can also be caused naturally by the splitting of nitrogen compounds by the energy produced by lightning strikes, or the release of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere by volcano eruptions. Acid rains have a negative impact on biodiversity over large surface areas by disturbing the pH of sensitive environments such as forest soil © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter V: A Few Case Studies of Biodiversity Degradation Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 129. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 129 V.4 Case Study: Chernobyl The Chernobyl disaster was a nuclear accident that occurred on 26 April 1986 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. It is considered to be the worst nuclear power plant disaster in history. After the disaster, four square kilometers of pine forest in the immediate vicinity of the reactor turned brown and died, earning the name of the "Red Forest". Some animals in the worst-hit areas also died or stopped reproducing. Most domestic animals were evacuated from the exclusion zone, but horses left on an island in the Pripyat River 6 km from the power plant died when their thyroid glands were destroyed by high radiation doses. Some cattle on the same island died and those that survived were stunted because of thyroid damage. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter V: A Few Case Studies of Biodiversity Degradation Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 130. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 130 Rabbits were first introduced in Australia in 1859. Their effect on Australian ecology has since been devastating. Rabbits are one of the most significant factors in species loss in this country. Rabbit population spread at alarming rates after their introduction and became a serious disturbance to the natural ecology. Rabbits often kill young trees in the wild by eating the roots. As such, they are responsible for the loss of numerous plant species. They are also responsible for serious erosion problems as they eat native plants leaving the soil exposed. Even to date 100 of millions of dollars are spent each year to deal with the rabbit problem. Rabbits around a water hole at Wardang Island Australia in 1938 V.5 (a) Case Study: Introduction of Rabbits in Australia Chapter V: A Few Case Studies of Biodiversity Degradation Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 131. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 131 The red fire ant (Solenopsis Invicta) originates from South America. It can however now be commonly found in places such as the United States, Australia, Taiwan and south of China. These ants were accidentally introduced in these countries by plane or shipping. Red fire ants are excellent natural predators and responsible for serious damage to cultures such as sugar canes, various fruits. They feed on small insects and small mammals, reptiles and birds. They are known to be highly aggressive and competitive with other species. These ants cause million of dollars of damage and are driving many native species to extinction. V.5 (b) Introduction of Invasive Species. Case Study: the Red Fire Ant © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter V: A Few Case Studies of Biodiversity Degradation Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 132. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 132 V.6 Biodiversity and Climate Change There is a close relationship between climate change and biodiversity. Case study: due to the rising temperatures and the prolongation of warmer periods, North American forests are increasingly affected by a species of Beatle that destroys the wood and kills the trees. As the temperatures no longer get cold long enough to kill the Beatles, these have proliferated in recent years resulting in very large amounts of trees to be left to rot. Such losses also directly translate to significant economical loss in several regions such as British Columbia in Canada where the timber industry had been a major source of revenues for decades. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter V: A Few Case Studies of Biodiversity Degradation Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 133. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 133 V.7 (a) Global Biodiversity Loss We are no longer faced with individual or isolated cases of species extinction. What we are facing today is a global biodiversity loss which is occurring at increasing rate. The living environment is now reacting not to one threat but to an accumulation of pressures from anthropic activities. These pressures are driving species extinction many thousand of times the natural rate of extinction. Species are disappearing every day. Most people just do not know about it. The worst part is that we do not even know how many species are disappearing as we still to date only know a small portion of all the species on Earth. Most species have never been studied, described and for this matter given a name or an identity. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter V: A Few Case Studies of Biodiversity Degradation Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 134. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 134 V.7 (b) Despite punctual degradation of the living environment, we must remember that the main threat to biodiversity is resulting globally as a combination of all anthropic pressures that we human beings have been and are continuing to put (at increasing rates) on the world ecosystems. Biodiversity loss has become critical and the situation has shifted form isolated and accidental impacts to a global crisis. Throughout the 21st century every ecosystem in any location on the planet will be impacted by human induced environmental pressures which will inevitably lead to species extinctions. At the top of the list are climate change. global diluted pollution and rainforests deforestation. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter V: A Few Case Studies of Biodiversity Degradation Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 135. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 135 V.7 (c) Today we are no longer faced with isolated extinction events but with a global loss of species on Earth as a result of a combine effect of anthropic pressures… © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter V: A Few Case Studies of Biodiversity Degradation Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 136. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 136 Conclusion Chapter V As highlighted in this chapter, punctual degradations of our environment are taking place around the world at increasing rates and have significant impacts on biodiversity. However, the real concern is that we have now clearly shifted from isolated extinction events to a global loss of species on Earth as a combine effect of all human related influences. The most concerning threats to global diversity are climate change, pollution and deforestation. At the current rate of warming of the climate system and deforestation, we will face very significant species loss throughout the century. By 2100 half of all the species present on Earth today could have become extinct. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter V: A Few Case Studies of Biodiversity Degradation Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 137. A living fossil: Gymnocrinus richeri Chapter VI Global State of Biodiversity How species are rapidly becoming extinct
  • 138. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 138 Assessing the state of biodiversity on the planet is a near impossible task. However, the more we try to assess the diversity of life on Earth and how it evolves over time, the more we clarify the already known fact that species are disappearing from the planet at alarming rates. We cannot assess all the biodiversity on Earth. First, too few people are making studies on biodiversity and secondly the diversity of life on Earth is simply tremendous even without taking into consideration smaller organisms at the bacterial level. However, by making an assessment based on already known species which involves evaluating numbers of individuals within given populations and repeating this exercise overtime, we can get a clearer picture of the health of populations and ecosystems on Earth. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has been publishing a report on the state of the environment and the living world for many years now. The graphics presented in this section originate from the latest 2010 report. Introduction Chapter VI: The State of Biodiversity on the Planet © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter VI: Global State of Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 139. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 139 VI.1 The Global Living Planet Index The Living Planet Index (LPI) reflects changes in the health of the planet’s ecosystems by tracking trends in nearly 8,000 populations of vertebrate species. The latest global LPI shows a decline of about 30 percent between 1970 and 2007. This is based on trends in 7,953 populations of 2,544 mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian and fish species, many more than in previous Living Planet Reports. Source: WWF, Living Planet Report 2010 Chapter VI: Global State of Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 140. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 140 VI.2 The Terrestrial Living Planet index The Terrestrial Living Planet Index includes 3,180 populations from 1,341 species of birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles found in a broad range of temperate and tropical habitats, including forests, grasslands and dry-lands. Overall the terrestrial LPI has declined by 25 per cent. The tropical terrestrial LPI has declined by almost 50 per cent since 1970, while the temperate terrestrial LPI has increased by about 5 per cent. Source: WWF, Living Planet Report 2010 Chapter VI: Global State of Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 141. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 141 VI.3 Marine Living Planet Index The Marine Living Planet Index tracks changes in 2,023 populations of 636 species of fish, seabirds, marine turtles and marine mammals found in temperate and tropical marine ecosystems. Approximately half the species in this index are commercially used. Overall the marine LPI has declined by 24 percent. Marine ecosystems show the largest discrepancy between tropical and temperate species: the tropical marine LPI has declined by around 60 percent while the temperate marine LPI has increased by around 50 per cent. Source: WWF, Living Planet Report 2010 Chapter VI: Global State of Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 142. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 142 VI.4 (a) Freshwater Living Planet Index The Freshwater Living Planet Index tracks changes in 2,750 populations of 714 species of fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals found in temperate and tropical freshwater ecosystems. The global freshwater LPI has declined by 35 per cent between 1970 and 2007, more than either the global marine or terrestrial LPIs. The tropical freshwater LPI has declined by almost 70 per cent, the largest fall of any of the biome-based LPIs, while the temperate freshwater LPI has increased by 36 per cent. Source: WWF, Living Planet Report 2010 Chapter VI: Global State of Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 143. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 143 VI.4 (b) The signs are very clear and it has been so for a long time: Species are becoming extinct (at increasing rates) around the world and across ecosystems © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter VI: Global State of Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 144. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 144 The human demand on the biosphere more than doubled between 1961 and 2007. VI.5 World Biocapacity Source: WWF, Living Planet Report 2010 Chapter VI: Global State of Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 145. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 145 The results provided in the WWF State of the Planet Report are very clear and concerning: Species are globally declining at alarming rates Decline and extinction of species is more marked in the tropic and subtropics areas (where most of the world biodiversity is concentrated). We are exploiting resources at a much greater rate then the capacity of the planet to regenerate them. We must significantly reduce our ecological footprint. Failure to do so will result in catastrophic consequences including massive biodiversity loss throughout the century. VI.6 State of Biodiversity © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter VI: Global State of Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 146. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 146 Conclusion Chapter VI As highlighted in this chapter, a few key indicators have been developed to tract how species populations and ecosystems evolve over time. The results are very concerning and all point to the same conclusion that overall species on Earth are diminishing rapidly. It also appears clearly that most biodiversity losses occur in areas that have the most diversity, in the tropical and sub-tropical areas. The fact that all sensitive ecosystems seem to be affected in a similar way, further confirms the global trend of species loss rather than isolated events. Another concerning fact is that the more species disappear, the more species will disappear. Indeed, as all species on Earth are interconnected, the loss of a single species results in the loss of many others which depend on it to survive. We can therefore expect species loss to increase at an exponential rate as the losses will intensify throughout the century. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter VI: Global State of Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 147. A living fossil: Gymnocrinus richeri Chapter VII Biodiversity Hotspots and Conservation Priorities Why conservation efforts should be prioritized to certain zones
  • 148. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 148 Introduction Chapter VII: Biodiversity Hotspot and Conservation Priorities Despite that biodiversity losses are occurring everywhere on Earth, some areas which are both extraordinarily rich in life forms and particularly threatened from a number of sources have been identified. As a general trend, equatorial and tropical zones have a particularly rich biodiversity when compared to the rest of the word. The colder it gets, the less bio-diverse the ecosystems tend to be. Examples of biodiversity hotspots include the rainforest of Borneo and as a matter of fact most of the forests of Indonesia and Malaysia, Reef environments across tropical zones and many others. 18 principal biodiversity hotspots where conservation should be prioritized have been identified. The principal behind the concept of biodiversity hotspot comes from the fact that despite that all ecosystems on Earth should be preserved, only limited funds are available worldwide to undertake such needed actions. As such, it is necessary, in order to preserve as much biodiversity as possible, to focus on areas which are the most at risk and where the efforts will result in the greatest number of species saved. Often, loss of biodiversity arise from rapid deterioration of the environment in the pursue of the extraction of resources for immediate profit. One must however understand that such models are not sustainable. Once extinct, species have disappeared forever from the planet. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter VII: Biodiversity Hotspots and Conservation Priorities Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 149. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 149 VII.1 (a) What is a Biodiversity Hotspot? A biodiversity hotspot is a biogeographic region with a significant reservoir of biodiversity that is threatened with destruction. The concept of biodiversity hotspots was originated by Dr. Norman Myers. The hotspots idea was also promoted by Russell Mittermeier in the popular book “Hotspots Revisited” (2004). To qualify as a biodiversity hotspot on Myers 2000 edition of the hotspot-map, a region must meet two strict criteria: it must contain at least 0.5% or 1,500 species of vascular plants as endemics, and it has to have lost at least 70% of its primary vegetation. Around the world, at least 25 areas qualify under this definition, with nine others possible candidates. These sites support nearly 60% of the world's plant, bird, mammal, reptile, and amphibian species, with a very high share of endemic species. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter VII: Biodiversity Hotspots and Conservation Priorities Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 150. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 150 VII.1 (b) The above map shows the principal biodiversity hotspots which have been identified around the world. The above map shows that most biodiversity rich regions are in tropical and subtropical areas. South East Asia has numerous hotspots. Source: Conservation International Chapter VII: Biodiversity Hotspots and Conservation Priorities Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 151. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 151 VII.2 Case Study: Madagascar Madagascar, is the fourth-largest island in the world, and is home to 5% of the world's plant and animal species, of which more than 80% are endemic. Emblematic species includes the lemur, the carnivorous fossa, three bird families and six baobab species. Madagascar's long isolation from the neighboring continents has resulted in a unique mix of plants and animals, many found nowhere else in the world. Of the10,000 known plants native to Madagascar, 90% are found nowhere else in the world. Madagascar's varied fauna and flora are endangered by human activity, as a third of its native vegetation has disappeared since the 1970s, and only 18% remains intact. Since the arrival of humans 2000 years ago, Madagascar has lost more than 90% of its original forest. Chapter VII: Biodiversity Hotspots and Conservation Priorities Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 152. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 152 VII.3 (a) Case Study: Philippines The Philippines is one of the ten most biologically mega- diverse countries and is at or near the top in terms of biodiversity per unit area. Around 1,100 land vertebrate species can be found in the Philippines including over 100 mammal species and 170 bird species not thought to exist elsewhere. With an estimated 13,500 plant species in the country, 3,200 of which are unique to the islands, Philippine rainforests boast an array of flora, including many rare types of orchids and Rafflesia. Philippine territorial waters encompass as much as 1.67 million square kilometers producing unique and diverse marine life and is an important part of the Coral Triangle. Deforestation, often the result of illegal logging, is an acute problem in the Philippines. Forest cover declined from 70% of the country's total land area in 1900 to about 18.3% in 1999. Many species are endangered and scientists say that South East Asia, which the Philippines is part of, faces a catastrophic extinction rate. According to Conservation International, the country is one of the few nations that is, in its entirety, both a hotspot and a megadiversity country, placing it among the top priority hotspots for global conservation. Chapter VII: Biodiversity Hotspots and Conservation Priorities Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 153. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 153 VII.3 (b) The Philippines is suffering from severe degradation of its biodiversity. Most of this occurs as a result of deforestation, trading of animal species and overexploitation of resources © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter VII: Biodiversity Hotspots and Conservation Priorities Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 154. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 154 VII.4 Case Study: Borneo Borneo is very rich in biodiversity compared to many other areas. There are about 15,000 species of flowering plants with 3,000 species of trees, 221 species of terrestrial mammals and 420 species of resident birds in Borneo. It is also the centre of evolution and radiation of many endemic species of plants and animals. The remaining Borneo rainforest is the only natural habitat for the endangered Bornean Orang-outang. It is also an important refuge for many endemic forest species, as the Asian Elephant, the Sumatran Rhinoceros, the Bornean Clouded Leopard, and the Dayak Fruit Bat. It is one of the most biodiverse places on earth. The World Wildlife Fund has stated that 361 animal and plant species have been discovered in Borneo since 1996, underscoring its unparalleled biodiversity. Chapter VII: Biodiversity Hotspots and Conservation Priorities Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 155. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 155 VII.5 (a) Case Study: Barrier Reefs The Australian Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef system composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 2,600 kilometres over an area of approximately 344,400 square kilometres. The reef is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland in north-east Australia. The Great Barrier Reef supports a diversity of life, including many vulnerable or endangered species, some of which are endemic to the reef system. The Great Barrier Reef has been classified as one of the great wonders of the world and is therefore a focus of attention. However, most reef ecosystems around the world and especially in the South Pacific are extremely rich in biodiversity. Such ecosystems are at risk from overexploitation, pollution and climate change. The loss of coral reefs would result in enormous biodiversity loss and potential destabilization of entire marine ecosystems. The preservation of coral reefs should be a high priority along with forest ecosystems to preserve the biodiversity of life on Earth. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter VII: Biodiversity Hotspots and Conservation Priorities Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 156. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 156 Barrier reefs around the world contain an incredible amount of biodiversity of which most remains unknown to date. As we know that these ecosystems will be greatly affected by climate change and anthropic disturbances across the century and will suffer from massive biodiversity losses, efforts to study their biodiversity should be intensified while we still can. VII 5 (b) Coral reefs are amongst the most biodiverse ecosystems on Earth, yet some of the most threatened. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter VII: Biodiversity Hotspots and Conservation Priorities Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 157. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 157 The Galapagos islands are an archipelago located on the equator in the eastern Pacific ocean. They are composed of about 40 islands of volcanic origin. On these islands can be found the National Park of the Galapagos and a marine reserve which has been classified as a UNESCO world heritage site. In 1835 Charles Darwin studied its species diversity which inspire his famous study on evolution and natural selection in 1859. The islands are very rich in flora and fauna. The archipelago inhabits 58 species of birds among 28 are endemic and unique reptiles such as the iguana and giant turtles. The marine fauna is also very rich with over 300 species of fish and small mammals. The islands hold a variety of plant species which vary in accordance to different microclimates. Of the 875 known plant species, 228 are endemic. VII.6 Case Study: The Galapagos Chapter VII: Biodiversity Hotspots and Conservation Priorities Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 158. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 158 Conclusion Chapter VII As highlighted in this chapter, because some areas are much richer in biodiversity than others; some are more threatened and resources for conservation efforts are limited, the concept of biodiversity hotspots has been introduced. At least 18 such zones have been classified as biodiversity hotspots of which most of South East Asia and would therefore require much conservation efforts. However, all of these zones, despite their classification are still experiencing serious environmental pressures. If we are to succeed in preserving the biodiversity of life on Earth, our efforts should focus on these hotspots as a start. However, such efforts need to be done in parallel to global negotiation issues such as climate change and trade of illegal timber if significant benefits are to remain in the long term. Conservation is both a local and international issue. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter VII: Biodiversity Hotspots and Conservation Priorities Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 159. A living fossil: Gymnocrinus richeri Chapter VIII Singapore, an Interesting Case Study Singapore, an interesting case study
  • 160. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 160 Introduction Chapter VIII: Biodiversity in the Singapore Context This chapter aims to provide an insight on the state of biodiversity in Singapore. Singapore is an interesting case study of biodiversity. Singapore over the last 30 years has experienced a major transformation from a third world country to a highly developed nation. This development has been at the expense of severe damage to the original biodiversity. Much of the species found in Singapore a century ago are no longer found on the island. Another particularity of Singapore is that it is an Island nation of relatively small size. Most of the islands land has now been sacrified for development purposes should it be industrial or residential. However, in its late history, Singapore is trying to preserve what is left of its original biodiversity by implementing a number of measures. About 5% of the land in Singapore has been dedicated to serve as natural parks. Only a few parks hold original ecosystems. However the city is also making efforts to incorporate the natural environment into the city scape itself. Such initiative will not bring back the original biodiversity but at least brings some degree of biodiversity back to the city. Such concepts could well be inspirational for cities of the future around the world. As 80% of the world population will be living in cities by 2050, it is important to design cities by integrating natural features. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter VIII: Singapore, an Interesting Case Study Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 161. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 161 The environmental issues that Singapore faces today are characteristic of highly- urbanized cities. These issues pertain to preventing pollution from industrialization and urbanization, preventing marine pollution in its highly- traversed waters and the protection of nature areas. VIII.1 (a) The Singapore Context © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter VIII: Singapore, an Interesting Case Study Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 162. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 162 Singapore is a good case study of the fact that maintaining a few localized biodiverse spots within a city is not sufficient to prevent important species loss. VIII.1 (b) At the expense of intense development, Singapore has already lost most of its original biodiversity. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter VIII: Singapore, an Interesting Case Study Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 163. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 163 Singapore holds many bio-diverse ecosystems due to its suitable location near the equator. However, Singapore has already lost most of its natural environment and biodiversity due to rapid development in the last 30 years. A study published in May 2010, “Evaluating the Relative Environmental Impact of Countries”, ranks Singapore as the highest in relative environmental impact. This research was conducted by the University of Adelaide’s Environment Institute, National University of Singapore and Princeton University. This study shows that relative to its land size, development in Singapore has significantly contributed to its forest loss, natural habitat conversion, marine captures, carbon emissions and biodiversity. VIII.2 (a) Impacts of Urban Development on Biodiversity © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter VIII: Singapore, an Interesting Case Study Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 164. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 164 VIII.2 (b) Impacts of Urban Development on Biodiversity Singapore has lost 90 percent of its forest, 67 per cent of its birds, about 40 per cent of its mammals and 5 per cent of its amphibians and reptiles. Of the original mangroves, less than 5% is left. 39% of all native coastal plants are extinct. A large proportion of the remaining species are endangered and their habitats are threatened by urban development and land reclamation. Singapore continues to be challenged with pressures of modernization, limited land availability and a mandate to preserve the well-being of its environment and of its citizens. In order to overcome these challenges, the Singapore government and urban planners have designed and implemented strategies in the last 30 years to make Singapore a city garden. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter VIII: Singapore, an Interesting Case Study Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 165. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 165 VIII.3 (a) Vision for a Green City Today Singapore is one of the few cities in the world which has managed to incorporate green spaces and parks within its urban environment. Over 13% of Singapore’s land area is dedicated to greening the urban landscape and maintaining a healthy ecosystem; this includes parks, park connectors, green spaces and nature reserves. There is a significant percentage of land allocated for non-residential and non- commercial use for a country as small as Singapore. Furthermore, in the next 10-15 years, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) plans to add new parks and park connectors to Singapore’s. In URA's Concept Plan and Master Plan, URA aims to eventually link up the whole island in a 150 km round island route. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter VIII: Singapore, an Interesting Case Study Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 166. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 166 To promote green building technologies and designs, Singapore introduced a Green Mark Scheme for Buildings. A number of buildings have been Green Mark certified under this initiative since it was implemented in 2005. The National Parks Board has created rooftop gardens in commercial and residential buildings which have both aesthetic and environmental benefits including a positive impact on biodiversity should green roofs be implemented on large scale. Green vertical walls have also been built at sites such as Changi Airport. Such initiatives are only starting to appear in the city environment in Singapore and around the world as case studies. Large scale implementation would however be required to make a significant difference on biodiversity in cities. VIII.3 (b) Vision for a Green City © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter VIII: Singapore, an Interesting Case Study Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 167. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 167 A key objective to Singapore’s greening initiatives is to raise awareness and educate its citizens; and to engender in Singaporeans a sense of love and respect for nature. The everyday practices of individuals can pose a threat to Southeast Asia’s ecosystems. Urban lifestyle habits such as excessive consumption and waste, inadequate recycling, and the demand for exotic animal products are just a few of the ways that Singaporeans have a negative impact on the environment. Changing these harmful lifestyles and habits start with changing the mindsets of Singaporeans. VIII.3 (c) Vision for a Green City © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter VIII: Singapore, an Interesting Case Study Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 168. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 168 One of the biggest criticisms to Singapore's city greening effort is that it is superficial, too high-maintenance and, ultimately, not ecologically sustainable. Priority has been given to man-made greening of highways, streets and residential areas and not enough effort has been invested conversing and restoring the little natural areas left in Singapore. In recent years to preserve its heritage, Singapore has retained several restricted nature reserve sites where land development is inhibited and the inherent ecosystems are protected. The reserves are utilized for research in preserving and revitalizing biodiversity in Singapore and educating the public. However, more can still be done to implement legal legislature and define land boundaries to protect Singapore’s nature reserves. VIII.4 Preserving and Restoring Biodiversity in Singapore © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter VIII: Singapore, an Interesting Case Study Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 169. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 169 Pulau Ubin’s vegetation was once cleared for the cultivation of rubber and crops like coffee, pineapple, coconut and jasmine. Today, it is one of the last rural areas in Singapore having been preserved from urban development, concrete buildings and tarmac roads. Pulau Ubin contains an abundance of natural flora and fauna. Chek Jawa is a 5,000 year old coral reef on Pulau Ubin. Relatively well preserved ecosystems such as wetlands can still be found on Chek Jawa. In 2009, the mouse-deer, which has been thought to be extinct for over 80 years, was discovered on Pulau Ubin. Scientists speculate that preservation of nature in Pulau Ubin has allowed for this creature to spread again. Recovering species is a positive sign that over long periods of preservations, wild life and eco-systems can be repopulated to some extent. VIII.5 (a) Singapore Remaining Biodiverse Locations: Case Study Pulau Ubin © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter VIII: Singapore, an Interesting Case Study Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 170. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 170 Pulau Tekong is known for being exclusively used for military training. Less known is that Pulau Tekong has one of the largest remaining mangrove forests in Singapore. Coastal erosion is putting this 92 hectares of mangroves in danger. Erosion is being caused by the movement of ships and strong sea waves. In 2010, the National Parks Board is undertaking a project to restore and stabilize the coast line. 8,000 mangrove saplings will be planted to help deflect sea waves and increase the biodiversity on the island. The work being done by the National Parks Board is a prime example of how Singapore is protecting its remaining biodiverse areas. VIII.5 (b) Case Study: Pulau Tekong © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter VIII: Singapore, an Interesting Case Study Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 171. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 171 Sunggei Buloh holds extensive mangrove environments with their associated rich biodiversity. This site is of global importance as it has a high variety of bird species which include migratory birds that stop over from as far as Siberia on their way to Australia. Other reserves of interest in Singapore include the MacRitchie reservoir, Singapore’s oldest reservoir, as well as Bukit Timah reserve which has a dense tropical rainforest. VIII.5 (c) Singapore’s Remaining Biodiverse Locations: Case study Sunggei Buloh © Sylvain Richer de Forges © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter VIII: Singapore, an Interesting Case Study Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 172. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 172 VIII.5 (d) A lot can still be done in Singapore in the pursue of becoming one of the worlds first “city in a garden”. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter VIII: Singapore, an Interesting Case Study Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 173. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 173 VIII.6 (a) Biodiversity in the City Singapore is one of the few cities in the world which has managed to incorporate green spaces and parks within the urban environment. Examples include the popular Singapore Botanic Gardens, busy East Coast Park and tranquil Mount Fabor. There are more opportunities for Singapore to incorporate natural features within its urban environment. For example, there is potential in the implementation of large scale vertical green walls and to expand the connection of parks and waterways. To this point, in the next 10-15 years, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) plans to add new parks and park connectors to Singapore’s North-East, East and North Regions. In Singapore’s North Region, the URA also plans to enhance nature-oriented leisure attractions at Mandai and Kranji. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter VIII: Singapore, an Interesting Case Study Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 174. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 174 VIII.6 (b) Singapore extensive network of water reservoirs help to maintain some bio-diverse ecosystems. However, the creation of new reservoirs such as the Marina Bay reservoir are also controversial when it comes to biodiversity disturbance. The marina bay reservoir despite having some advantages for flood control and water management will have significant negative impacts on biodiversity. As the water within the bay will slowly change from salty to fresh water, many species which inhabited the bay wont be able to adapt to the salinity sudden change. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter VIII: Singapore, an Interesting Case Study Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 175. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 175 VIII.6 (c) Most of the species found in Singapore are not endemic to the Island but have been introduced from neighboring countries. Due to its proximity to Malaysia, most species found in Singapore are also found in Malaysia. There is therefore only few real endemic species in Singapore itself. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter VIII: Singapore, an Interesting Case Study Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 176. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 176 Invasive species is a big problem in Singapore. VIII.6 (d) As a major transport transit platform for South East Asia, numerous indigenous species are regularly introduced to Singapore. The pet and trade industry is also a big contributor as these species are regularly released into the environment (reservoirs, parks…). © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter VIII: Singapore, an Interesting Case Study Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 177. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 177 Singapore has a few good examples to illustrate that industrial development can be made by not entirely compromising the surrounding ecosystems. In Singapore most of the waste is incinerated and the remains from this process are disposed on an artificial landfill. On the other side of this landfill however lies a nature reserve with extensive sea grass, coral reefs and mangroves. This is a very good (and unique) example of how a bio-diverse environment can co-exist to some extent with industrial installations. © Sylvain Richer de Forges VIII.7 Compromise between Development & Environment Preservation Chapter VIII: Singapore, an Interesting Case Study Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 178. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 178 As highlighted in this chapter, Singapore is a very good case study to illustrate the dilemma faced by urban areas and biodiversity conservation. Singapore has already sacrified most of its biodiversity for development purposes. Only a few isolated parks and natural spaces are left in the island city. However, when compared to other cities around the world, Singapore is actually a good example of how intense development and high population densities can be done in such a way to minimize biodiversity losses and/or bring biodiversity back to city environments to some extent. Conclusion Chapter VIII Singapore has an ambitious plan to become the worlds first true city in a garden. Numerous initiatives such as improving existing parks, interconnecting these parks through green pathways and the development of roof-top gardens and vertical walls are under development. Since most of the world population will be living in cities in a few decades, Singapore is a good case study of how cities around the world should develop by incorporating natural features into their design. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter VIII: Singapore, an Interesting Case Study Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 179. A living fossil: Gymnocrinus richeri Chapter IX The Importance of Biodiversity Preservation for Human Beings How preserving biodiversity is crucially important for the sustainability of human civilizations
  • 180. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 180 Introduction Chapter IX: The Importance of Biodiversity Preservation for Human Beings This chapter aims to highlight the fact that preserving biodiversity is not just about preserving species for the beauty of it but also because by losing species we are also in the process losing invaluable knowledge and putting the very survival of our own species at risk. When we start to analyze how much our civilization relies on other species for our very basic needs, it becomes apparent that the disappearance of biodiversity is a major concern. Indeed, all our agriculture relies on the interaction of a multitude of species to be sustained (e.g. bees for pollination of crops, micro organisms to sustain the growth and health of crops…). Furthermore, all our medicines are extracted From natural compounds found in species. All the new discoveries in medicine are directly derived from either the study of species or the study of substances within species. We must understand that we will never be able to discover such properties in the laboratory alone. Considering the economy and wealth derived from the health/medicine industry, biodiversity is truly the greatest resource on Earth, yet we are destroying it! As life forms on Earth are all remarkably adapted to almost perfection to their surrounding environment as a result of millions of years of adaptation and selection it is only starting to surface that the solution to our greatest challenges are right before our eyes. All we need is to study from species surrounding us. However, we cannot study if species no longer exist! © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IX: The Importance of Biodiversity Preservation for Human Beings Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 181. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 181 Biodiversity has a great value for humans for a range of reasons. All species on the planet are interrelated and humans are no exception. We need other species in order to survive should it be for the stability of our food supplies or for our own health. We also derive all of our medicines from plants or animals. Losing biodiversity will therefore also mean that we will lose potential remedies to cure diseases. Due to the complexity of the compounds used in medicines, it is highly unlikely that we will ever be able to make such medicines ourselves without having initial studies and samples from rare plants and animals. Plants and animals which have evolved over millions of years are marvels of adaptation to specific environments and hold the key to many cures. Last but not least biodiversity has a lot of value in terms of trading and play an important role in the world economy. IX. 1 (a) Biodiversity and Pharmacology © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IX: The Importance of Biodiversity Preservation for Human Beings Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 182. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 182 IX.1 (b) All of our medicines are derived from molecules originally found in plants and animals. Losing biodiversity also means losing these potential molecules forever… © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IX: The Importance of Biodiversity Preservation for Human Beings Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 183. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 183 Ironically, the pharmaceutical industry is entirely dependent on biodiversity, yet this industry has significant impacts on species loss. Molecules to make new medicines are often found in rare plants and animals. When found, these species are often overexploited from the wild in order to provide sufficient stocks to make the medicines. It usually takes many years for natural compounds to be synthetized in the laboratory. Often, the molecules are simply too complex to be reproduced artificially and need to be extracted from nature. IX.1 (c) Biodiversity and Pharmacology © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IX: The Importance of Biodiversity Preservation for Human Beings Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 184. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 184 IX.1 (d) The amount of active compounds contained in plant and animal species is to date virtually un- exploited. However, as these species disappear, so will these potential substances from which powerful medicines could have been derived. We must understand that species have taken millions of years to adapt to their current environments and that as a result, they have developed mechanisms including complex chemical processes to deal with their external conditions. These adaptations and derived chemical compounds are invaluable and irreplaceable. => Once a species disappears so is our chance to get to study and potentially use this knowledge for our own human benefits. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IX: The Importance of Biodiversity Preservation for Human Beings Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 185. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 185 IX.2 (a) Biodiversity and Agriculture Agriculture is one of the main threats to biodiversity by replacing biodiverse areas (such as forests) with monocultures. Yet ironically, agriculture needs diverse species to work. For instance the quality of soils which affects diseases control and productivity is dependent on micro- organisms. Furthermore, all the crops are still today highly dependent on natural pollination which is done by insects. => As insects and micro-organisms come to decline, agriculture will be severely affected. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IX: The Importance of Biodiversity Preservation for Human Beings Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 186. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 186 IX.2 (b) Biodiversity is crucial for a sustainable agriculture. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IX: The Importance of Biodiversity Preservation for Human Beings Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 187. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 187 IX.2 (C) Insects play a critical role in maintaining a sustainable agriculture as they are the mean of pollination. As insects population decrease, so is the efficiency of crop pollination. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IX: The Importance of Biodiversity Preservation for Human Beings Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 188. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 188 The diversity of life forms and structures within life forms has always been a great source of inspiration for many artists. Many great artists have derived their inspiration from nature, rare species of plant and animals. => Losing biodiversity will also result in losing this source of inspiration. IX.3 (a) The Use of Biodiversity as an Inspiration for Arts Chapter IX: The Importance of Biodiversity Preservation for Human Beings Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 189. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 189 IX.3 (b) Biodiversity is a source of inspiration for the arts. Chapter IX: The Importance of Biodiversity Preservation for Human Beings Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 190. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 190 IX.4 Socio-Biology A lot can also be learnt about our own human societies by studying animal behaviors. For instance many social insects such as certain species of ants have very complex social structures. Despite that often such social structure may not be suitable for human civilizations, ideas can be analyzed. Most interesting is how species have adapted to their surrounding environment by developing remarkable behavioral adaptations. While some behaviors are imprinted within the genetic code, other behaviors are transmitted from generation to generation (just like knowledge in humans). We still have a lot to learn by studying species behavior. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IX: The Importance of Biodiversity Preservation for Human Beings Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 191. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 191 IX.5 (a) Biomimetics Instead of destroying biodiversity through the development and industrial activities, we should take a different approach by taking advantage of nature in order to learn from it. Biomimetics is the field of studying life forms and nature to learn from it in order to optimize designs and processes. The fact that life forms have evolved over millions of years to specific conditions, makes them marvels of adaptations. As such the optimization process to given conditions can already be found in nature. Such examples of biomimicry include side wings on planes to optimize fuel efficiency mimicking similar features in birds such as the eagle. © Sylvain Richer de Forges © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IX: The Importance of Biodiversity Preservation for Human Beings Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 192. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 192 IX.5 (b) Examples of Nature Optimal Design There is a multitude of specific examples of leading technologies which were inspired from nature. The more we study natural design, the more we find that there is an unlimited supply of solutions to technological optimisation which is at our finger tips. However, species are disappearing fast. If we do not act to preserve them, we will not only lose the species but also the incredible amount of knowledge and solutions which lies within them. Only a few companies worldwide have yet understood the potential of design inspired by nature. As this awareness spreads, so will the awareness on the need to preserve biodiversity. Chapter IX: The Importance of Biodiversity Preservation for Human Beings Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 193. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 193 IX.5 (c) Remarkable solutions and inspiration can be derived from the study of species adaptations to specific environmental pressures/conditions. Case Study: Lotus leaves have developed adaptations which prevents the accumulation of water on their surface. => Species adaptations can inspire applications that can benefit humans. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IX: The Importance of Biodiversity Preservation for Human Beings Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 194. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 194 IX.6 A Mini-Guide to Biomimetics © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IX: The Importance of Biodiversity Preservation for Human Beings Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 195. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 195 IX.6 (a) A Guide to Biomimetics: Every engineering problem/challenge that we face can find its solution through the study of nature. Such statement relies on simple facts and logical deductions: There are millions of species on the planet. Species are found in almost any given type of environments. Each environment requires very specific adaptations for species to have survived over time. Each species is a marvel of adaptation (“optimal design”) as a result of millions of years of adaptation to such environments. => Wherever we want to find optimal adaptation, optimal efficiency in the design, we should search for it in nature. The odds are that somewhere a/some species already provide the ultimate solution/adaptation. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IX: The Importance of Biodiversity Preservation for Human Beings Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 196. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 196 IX.6 (b) A Guide to Biomimetics: Whenever looking into applying biomimetic principles to a problematic, the following simple methodology could be applied: 1) What is the problematic? (i.e. what problem do we intend to solve? E.g. maximize the efficiency of flight/ find the best shape to maximize energy and strength output… 2) Which species in nature have to deal with an environment which might require similar problem resolution through adaptation? 3) Study of the selected species and identification of the traits which provide a solution to the problematic. 4) Selection of the species which provide the most interesting adaptation/trait that allows to resolve the problematic practically. 5) Apply the natural trait by artificially mimicking it (e.g. engineering/pharmacology). © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IX: The Importance of Biodiversity Preservation for Human Beings Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 197. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 197 IX.6 (c) A Guide to Biomimetics: Biomimetic studies in order to work, require multidisciplinary teams: Field Biologists (to identify and study species traits and adaptations). Engineers (to take the idea inspired from nature natural design to engineering/chemical applications). Chemists/pharmacologists…(to analyze and replicate biological processes). Planners/managers: to manage communications between different fields of expertise and coordinate the work. To date biomimetic does not work well for the simple reason that biologists are rarely included and this type of work is mostly conducted by engineers. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IX: The Importance of Biodiversity Preservation for Human Beings Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 198. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 198 IX.6 (d) A Guide to Biomimetics: Like nanotechnology, biomimetics could lead to the next industrial revolution. We are however destroying the “knowledge bank” necessary for this revolution to happen at alarming rates. If only governments and corporations around the world could realize the potential there is to gain in preserving biodiversity for biomimetics, they would certainly act to preserve the diversity of life on Earth and treat biodiversity as an asset, an investment or perhaps a global data bank! There is still hope that such realization could happen, time is however running out fast! © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IX: The Importance of Biodiversity Preservation for Human Beings Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 199. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 199 Case Study: Submersibles Many of the principals of modern submersibles are derived from the species of nautilus pressure compartments systems. Nautilus have developed a system of pressure compartments which allows them to move between great depths and shallow waters. IX.7 (a) We Have A Lot to Learn by Studying Nature © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IX: The Importance of Biodiversity Preservation for Human Beings Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 200. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 200 IX.7 (b) Case Study: Robotics and Biodiversity Many fundamental break through In modern robotics have been inspired from studying simple life forms such as insects. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IX: The Importance of Biodiversity Preservation for Human Beings Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 201. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 201 IX.7 (c) Case Study: Biomimetics and Construction The study of termite has led to remarkable discoveries on how buildings can be designed to optimize cooling and energy efficiency. For instance, the Eastgate center in Zimbabwe was conceived with the design of a termite mound. Termite mounds were found to have a remarkably efficient cooling potential. The design structured around a central chimney and vents allows for a constant flow of air naturally cooling the structure. This basic concept was applied to the construction of the Eastgate center. As a result, the building which uses natural cooling is one of the most energy efficient buildings in the world! © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IX: The Importance of Biodiversity Preservation for Human Beings Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 202. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 202 The company Festo is experimenting on a number of biomimetics projects. One of these initiatives involved the creation of the first ever flying machine using a type of motion inspired by a jellyfish. IX.7 (d) Case Study: Biomimetics and Engineering © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IX: The Importance of Biodiversity Preservation for Human Beings Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 203. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 203 IX.7 (e) Case Study: Biomimetics and Sports In Olympic swimming competitions, 1/100th of a second can make the difference between winning and losing. Because the resistive drag opposing the motion of swimmers’ bodies is of great importance, many swimmers choose newly-designed swimsuits that reduce the drag. The suits are designed to mimic the shark, one of the fastest aquatic creature even more closely. Scanning electron microscope studies have revealed that tiny “teeth” cover the surface of a sharks’ skin that produce vertical vortices or spirals of water, keeping the water closer to the shark’s body and thus reducing friction. This phenomenon is known as the Riblet Effect, and research into shark skin is ongoing at NASA Langley Research Center. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IX: The Importance of Biodiversity Preservation for Human Beings Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 204. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 204 Other Examples of Biomimetism Inspired Species Derived Application Seeds of Arctium lapa Velcro attachment system Hydro dynamism of fish and dolphins Submarine torpedoes Mucus of fish or penguin fur Amelioration of sliding effect Cephalopods (e.g. squids) propulsion principle Early submersibles propulsion Shapes of mussels and clams Improvement of roof tiles resistance Structure of palm trees Improve roofs structures Silice based micro-organisms Dome structures in architecture Hexagonal structure of wasp nest … Used in aeronautics to maximise weight/strength ratio …. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IX: The Importance of Biodiversity Preservation for Human Beings Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 205. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 205 IX.7 (f) We have only started to touch the tip of the iceberg in what can be achieved in innovative design through studying nature… As biodiversity disappears, so is the potential for innovation… © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IX: The Importance of Biodiversity Preservation for Human Beings Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 206. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 206 Conclusion Chapter IX As highlighted in this chapter, preserving biodiversity is crucial to maintain our current way of life and insure a sustainable and secure future for generations to come. As all our medicines are derived from compounds found in species, preserving these species is a priority. Furthermore, the study of species holds an unlimited pool of solutions to problematic that we face in our continuous development of human civilizations. Losing species relates to losing an incredible amount of knowledge. As an analogy we are simple burning away the worlds greatest library while most of it hasn’t even been read yet… © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IX: The Importance of Biodiversity Preservation for Human Beings Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 207. A living fossil: Gymnocrinus richeri Chapter X What Can Be Done to Preserve Biodiversity? How individuals, corporations and governments can act together to preserve the diversity of life on Earth
  • 208. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 208 Introduction Chapter X: What Can Be Done to Preserve Biodiversity While biodiversity resources are rapidly deteriorating, little time is left for any measures to have a significant impact in slowing down the trend. If we are to succeed in slowing down the loss of species, actions must start to occur at three levels: government, corporate and individual. There are many meaningful yet small actions that can be applied by all parties that would result in significant changes and positive impacts on biodiversity. This chapter intends to provide solutions that could help for conservation purposes and significantly reduce the loss of species on Earth. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter X: What Can Be Done to Preserve Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 209. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 209 X.1 (a) What Can Individuals Do? Make donations to programmes and organisations which are acting in biodiversity conservation (e.g. WWF, Conservation International…). Respect the environment by not litering whenever doing outdoor activities. Learn about biodiversity issues and spread the message of the importance of conservation to other individuals and groups of people. The more people are getting concerned and aware, the more conservation initiatives will start to happen… Vote for political leaders who care for environmental issues especially biodiversity conservation. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter X: What Can Be Done to Preserve Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 210. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 210 Purchase products which have lesser impacts on biodiversity resources (e.g. wood products which originate from sustainable or recycled source/ low toxicity products…). There are now a number of reliable eco-labels on the market which help consumers identify such products. Consumers have a lot of influence on the market trends. If consumers ask for products which have limited impacts on biodiversity resources, manufacturers will have to change their practices to meet the consumers demand. Choose to go to places (restaurants, hotels…) which respect the environment. Eco hotels are a rapidly growing trend worldwide. If more and more people are asking for these types of services, the hotel industry in general will develop with a more sustainable approach in mind. => Such principles also apply for all other sectors. Consumers have an important role to play in driving a change to minimize impacts on the natural environment. X.1 (b) What Can Individuals Do? © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter X: What Can Be Done to Preserve Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 211. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 211 Planting own gardens: Agriculture worldwide has a major impact on the environment and particularly on biodiversity. As the world population grows, so will the demand for food production. Such demand will require to destroy more natural land for agricultural purposes. Such a global impact could be significantly reduced if individuals where producing their own fruits and vegetables from their own backyards. Small crops are known to be a lot more productive then industrial scale ones. Such crops would be organic and not require the high amounts of pesticides and fertilizers used broadly in modern agriculture. The proliferation of individual gardens on a large scale will also result in biodiversity going back to the city areas. X.1 (c) What Can Individuals Do? © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter X: What Can Be Done to Preserve Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 212. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 212 X.1 (d) If gardens and a variety of plants are brought back to the cities, animal species will also come back. The combined large scale implementation of roof top gardens, vertical green walls on buildings as well as individual house gardens would certainly have significant benefits in bringing biodiversity back to city areas. Such initiatives could work well should governments and town councils support such vision. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter X: What Can Be Done to Preserve Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 213. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 213 X.2 (a) What Can Corporates Do? Corporations have an important role in preserving the worlds biodiversity. Corporations can support and invest in projects which aim to preserve biodiversity. Many of these projects are lead by NGO’s such as Conservation International or WWF. Corporations can limit as much as possible their impacts by looking in their supply chain and choosing products which are from sustainable sources (e.g. Paper made from recycled content or sustainable forest rather than from sources which contribute in deforestation). Corporations can spread the word and educate their staff as well as reaching to the community on the importance of biodiversity conservation. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter X: What Can Be Done to Preserve Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 214. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 214 Corporations can choose to only do business with organizations which have policies on limitations of their environmental impacts including biodiversity. The more corporations adopt this type of policies, the more rapid changes in corporate practices will start to occur. => Large corporations with extended supply chains must take the lead as they are in a position to drive significant changes. X.2 (b) What Can Corporates Do? © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter X: What Can Be Done to Preserve Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 215. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 215 Case study: The Census of Marine life The Census of Marine Life is a global network of 2700 researchers in more than 80 nations engaged in a 10-year scientific initiative to assess and explain the diversity, distribution, and abundance of life in the oceans. The largest component of the Census involves investigating what now lives in the world's oceans through 14 field projects. Each is sampling important kinds of biota in one of six realms of the global oceans using a range of technologies. This international programme was privately founded. It is a good case study of how corporations can significantly contribute to biodiversity research and conservation. X.2 (c) Financing Biodiversity Research/Expeditions © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter X: What Can Be Done to Preserve Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 216. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 216 X.3 (a) What Can Governments Do? Governments have a crucial role to play in the preservation of biodiversity through: Making development plans which take into account the preservation of biodiversity. Developing and supporting conservation efforts. Implementing laws and regulations to preserve biodiversity. Support corporate and community projects aiming to preserve biodiversity. Influencing other nations through political negociations on biodiversity conservation. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter X: What Can Be Done to Preserve Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 217. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 217 X.3 (b) Governments have a critical role to play in preserving biodiversity. However, they must make the right move as species extinctions will not wait. To date very few governments have understood what is at stake… Governments must take the lead in preserving biodiversity. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter X: What Can Be Done to Preserve Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 218. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 218 Contrary to the fight against climate change which would require all nations to come to an agreement, fighting biodiversity loss can be done effectively at the national level. One nation can decide to take significant actions to preserve or not its biodiversity regardless of whether its neighboring nations are already taking such measures. Governments should put funds available to assess the biodiversity of their country as It is not possible to preserve what is not known. Gaining a greater knowledge of the locations biodiversity will help in planning conservation efforts. A lot still remains to be discovered when it comes to species. X.3 (c) What Can Governments Do? © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter X: What Can Be Done to Preserve Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 219. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 219 Case Study: the Genetic Arc Project (Antarctic) In order to preserve flora biodiversity, governments around the world have started a major seed storage programme. This programme also aims to act as a food security storage in the event of an extreme event X.3 (d) What Can Governments Do? © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter X: What Can Be Done to Preserve Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 220. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 220 X.3 (e) Governments: Preserving Forests and Bio-Diverse Sensitive Areas Governments have a very important role to play in preserving biodiversity. It is the responsibility of governments around the world to protect their countries natural resources and biodiverse locations. Without governmental support there is little hope that these areas will be preserved. In order to identify these locations, government should undertake biodiversity site assessments by experts. Governments should then classify these zones as national parks in order to preserve the biodiversity of these sensitive areas. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter X: What Can Be Done to Preserve Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 221. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 221 X.3 (f) There is still a tremendous amount of species and ecosystems to assess and study. => Therefore the primordial importance of governments to invest in a wide spread biodiversity assessment exercise. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter X: What Can Be Done to Preserve Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 222. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 222 X.3 (g) We cannot protect what we do not know.  Biodiversity assessment and study remains a required exercise. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter X: What Can Be Done to Preserve Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 223. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 223 X.4 (a) Education and Biodiversity There is a lot of efforts to be put in educating the young's and the society on biodiversity issues. Such initiatives should be led by governments with support from the private sector. A recent study in Europe reveals the shocking result that about 70 % of the European population either has never heard of the concept of biodiversity or have heard about it but do not know its meaning. In a location where education is well supported and compulsory, this clearly highlights that educating the large public on the biodiversity crisis is primordial and that a lot remains to be done. Biodiversity, along side environmental studies should become part of the mainstream education of nations. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter X: What Can Be Done to Preserve Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 224. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 224 X.4 (b) What Can Governments Do? Education: Detachment from Nature As societies evolve, so is our connection to nature. In a society which is becoming increasingly dominated by technology, people (especially children) are becoming detached from the environment, which is a concerning trend. According to recent statistics conducted in Europe, the majority of children aged 6 to 12 would rather play a video game then go to an outdoor natural environment. Governments should be very concerned about this. If societies become detached from nature, they will no longer see and understand the need to preserve it. The consequence will be the destruction of natural habitats and the extinction of species in total indifference. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter X: What Can Be Done to Preserve Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 225. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 225 Biodiversity must become part of mainstream education. X.4 (c) If significant changes are to be made in the way that people view and interact with the natural environment, it is crucial that governments impose awareness programmes on the environment and biodiversity in particular as part of the mainstream education process. If a significant portion of the population were to know about the issues facing biodiversity losses, changes would start to happen in limiting the impacts… © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter X: What Can Be Done to Preserve Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 226. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 226 X.5 The Concept of Sustainable Development The concept of sustainable development was first suggested during the Brundtland Commission. This concept is largely misunderstood and wrongly used around the world. What it states is that any development activity should take equally into consideration environmental, social and economic attributes. It states that present developments should not deprive future generations from benefiting from the same type of environment that we observe today. However, most of the time the environmental aspects of such development model is neglected. => The concept of sustainable development remains today largely misused and misunderstood. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter X: What Can Be Done to Preserve Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 227. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 227 As many projects (e.g. mining, farming) fail to protect biodiversity by poorly adopting the concept of sustainable development it appears more logical to adopt a new approach that would be to sacrifice restricted zones in order to better preserve much larger ones. Such principle would work on the basis of impact zones. An important aspect would be to surround the “Dead Zone” by a bumper zone in order to strictly protect the protected zone. Of course such model would only work if protected zones are much larger than impacted zones and if well controlled. The protected zone must also coincide with ecosystems most at risk. X.6 Alternative Solution? The Concept of “Dead Zone” Chapter X: What Can Be Done to Preserve Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 228. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 228 X.7 Alternative Solution? Vertical Farms Agriculture has destructive impacts on biodiversity by converting natural lands (forests) to monocultures. A solution to limit this conversion of land would be to start producing food in vertical farms in city environments. As most of the world population will be living in cities in the decades to come and the world population is increasing fast, such model for development would be a good way to prevent existing forests from being transformed to agricultural fields and therefore preserving the biodiversity contained in these habitats. If we take into account predictions of population growth and the current agricultural practices, most forests will need to be converted to agricultural fields to feed the growing population. => Maintaining current land use practices for agriculture would be disastrous. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter X: What Can Be Done to Preserve Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 229. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 229 X.8 Case Study: Singapore City Biodiversity Index The purpose of the "The Singapore Index on Citie’s Biodiversity” (CBI) is to assist in the benchmarking of cities' biodiversity conservation efforts over time. The three components of CBI are a) Biodiversity in the City; b) Ecosystem Services Provided by the Native Biodiversity in the City; and c) Governance and Management of Biodiversity in the City. In May 2008, Singapore made a commitment to develop the CBI. To date, Curitiba, Montreal, Nagoya, Singapore, Edmonton, Joondalup, Brussels, Paris, have agreed to test-bed the CBI. At the Nagoya Biodiversity Summit to be held in October 2010, the global community will discuss the international adoption of the CBI. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter X: What Can Be Done to Preserve Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 230. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 230 X.9 (a) Sustainable Urban Design It is estimated that 80% of the world population will be living in cities by 2050. Most cities have been unsuccessful at incorporating natural habitats and preserving vegetative coverage within the architecture and design. Maintaining a vegetative coverage is important for various reasons. First it reduces the urban heat island effect which increases ambient temperatures. But it also provides shelter and habitat for various species. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter X: What Can Be Done to Preserve Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 231. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 231 X.9 (b) Cities must start to incorporate natural features into their design. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter X: What Can Be Done to Preserve Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 232. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 232 X.10 (a) Greening Cities As cities are rapidly expending, the built environment is taking over natural features. A way to improve current cities design and to bring back some of the biodiversity to cities would be to start implementing on a large scale roof top gardens and vertical green walls. There is a lot of research in these fields however to date only a few landmarks have implemented these practices. If implemented on a large scale, bringing greenery back to the cities along with other features such as water points and parks would certainly improve cities biodiversity index. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter X: What Can Be Done to Preserve Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 233. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 233 X.10 (b) Development and biodiversity are not necessarily incompatible. If natural features are well incorporated within buildings and infrastructures, they will in term attract species by providing habitats. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter X: What Can Be Done to Preserve Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 234. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 234 X.11 (a) Eco Tourism 'Ecotourism' is responsible travel to fragile, pristine, and usually protected areas that strives to be low impact and (often) small scale. It purports to educate the traveler; provide funds for conservation; directly benefit the economic development and political empowerment of local communities; and foster respect for different cultures and for human rights. There are obvious economic benefits from preserving healthy environments by developing ecotourism. In some countries (e.g. Australia, New Zealand) ecotourism accounts for a very significant part of national income. People from all over the world are willing to travel for the sole purpose of experiencing healthy and well preserved environments. As the world population is moving to cities, people will be more and more searching to escape to well preserved natural environments. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter X: What Can Be Done to Preserve Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 235. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 235 X.11 (b) Eco tourism is a highly profitable business and a reason for governments and the private sector to preserve natural ecosystems. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter X: What Can Be Done to Preserve Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 236. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 236 In order to preserve biodiversity, initiatives must not only come from one source but governments, the private sector and the community must act together… © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter X: What Can Be Done to Preserve Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 237. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 237 Conclusion Chapter X As highlighted in this chapter, in order for significant results to take place in biodiversity conservation, the governments, private sector and individuals must act together in a common goal of preserving biodiversity on Earth. Much of the lack of current actions comes from a broad misunderstanding and non sufficient education on the issues surrounding biodiversity loss. If people, governments and individuals become more aware of what it really means to preserve biodiversity and what is at stake, changes to preserve this precious resource will become more significant. As with the issue of climate change, significant awareness only started to take place following the creation of an international panel on the issue (IPCC). Perhaps a similar approach on the issue of biodiversity should be adopted. The creation of an international panel composed of experts from various countries will significantly impact and pressure decision makers and raise global awareness on biodiversity losses. The creation of such a panel is currently under negotiations. However, when talking about biodiversity issues, time is running out fast and such measures would need to be put into place quickly for significant actions to have time to be effective. => We are running out of time if we are to preserve a significant portion of the species present on Earth today… © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter X: What Can Be Done to Preserve Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 238. A living fossil: Gymnocrinus richeri Chapter XI Common Misunderstandings about Biodiversity Why it is so crucial to preserve biodiversity
  • 239. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 239 This statement is wrong. Biodiversity could indeed be a renewable resource should it be exploited with respect of the renewal rate of species populations and without destroying the surrounding environments in the process. However, this is not the practices observed today. Expert have warned that at the current rate at which we are exploiting natural resources, most commercial species populations will collapse within 30 years. Through all the pressures that human beings are putting on the environment, experts estimate that we are losing biodiversity at a rate of a least a thousand time greater than the natural rate of extinction. One must understand that when species become extinct they forever disappear from the surface of the Earth. The disappearance of species is definitely not sustainable. “Biodiversity is a renewable resource therefore we can afford to exploit it at the current rate as it will come back” © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter XI: Common Misunderstandings about Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 240. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 240 The concept of simply preserving very isolated places on Earth will not work. Such principles have been well explained in scientific work done in the area of biogeography. Small island- like ecosystems are much more vulnerable to threats and are doomed to extinction in relatively short timeframes. Furthermore, many species require a sufficient gene pool to survive. That is the more individuals in a population, the more the species will be able to survive. Restricted ecosystems have a too small gene pooI. In order to succeed in preserving biodiversity we must not only put restricted areas under reserve but also reduce our overall pressures on the surrounding environment. “To save biodiversity we can simply create reserves while continuing business as usual everywhere else” © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter XI: Common Misunderstandings about Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 241. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 241 Preserving biodiversity in very restricted ecosystems such as inside a glasshouse or isolated parks will not be sufficient to save species from extinction. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter XI: Common Misunderstandings about Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 242. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 242 Many do not understand that every species on the planet has a role to play in maintaining stable ecosystems upon which the human species rely on. If species continue to disappear at the current rate, many of these ecosystems will collapse with severe consequences for human beings. Our food supplies and health is directly related to diverse life forms. “It does not matter to lose biodiversity, we will be able to see animals in museums” This is a wrong approach. Such remote ecosystems hold very specialised species which hold great potential in terms of new discoveries, potential remedies…. We should preserve existing remote ecosystems at all cost as their value is un- priceable. “Most of the very diverse ecosystems are in very remote areas that most people would never go to. So if it gets destroyed it does not matter because we don’t see it anyway” © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter XI: Common Misunderstandings about Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 243. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 243 Such strategy will not work. First it is very difficult to assess when a species is becoming extinct. We know that many species are becoming extinct because we see a sharp drop in their population numbers. However, there are also many species we don’t even know exist for the reason that they have never been studied to date. “We can continue business as usual until species are on the verge of extinction. When this comes we can simply stop what we are doing for species to recover” “We can simply collect DNA samples of existing species. In the future we will be able to revive the species through new DNA technology” Such statements seem to come out of fiction novels. Most scientist would agree that it is unlikely that we will one day be able to re-generate species from their DNA ones these species are extinct. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter XI: Common Misunderstandings about Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 244. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 244 Many have tried to put a value on species. Such concept does not work for the reason that one given species is invaluable. “In order to preserve species, we should put a price on them” Putting a price on species is a risk. If ecosystems are valued according to a price fixed on species, large corporations are in a position to buy the resource in order to destroy it. The only corporations in a position to do this are also the most destructive: Mining and oil companies. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter XI: Common Misunderstandings about Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 245. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 245 We are still living in a relatively bio- diverse world and there is still time to go in either directions: continuing on the path of current destruction or going towards a more sustainable alternative focusing on conservation. However, time is running out, fast… © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter XI: Common Misunderstandings about Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 246. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 246 General Conclusion This book on biodiversity has provided an insight of the incredible diversity of life on Earth which is concentrated in a few ecosystems and locations. It has also highlighted that despite the fact that we are still enjoying today a relatively bio-diverse world, the situation is becoming more and more critical: Species are becoming extinct at alarming rates. By the year 2100, at the current rate, we are most likely to lose more than half of all the species which inhabit the planet today as a result of the combination of anthropic pressures of which climate change, overexploitation, deforestation and pollution are the most of concern. This book has also highlighted the fact that preserving biodiversity is a priority. Indeed, our quality of life and human populations stability is depending on a natural balance of species within ecosystems. If biodiversity continues to decline at the current rate, this will result in serious perturbations of ecosystems which will impact our agricultural and health systems. Furthermore, all our medicines rely on compounds extracted from species. The discovery of new remedies relies on the survival of species from which we have so much more to discover and learn from. Talking about learning, new fields such as biomimetics are only starting to surface revealing how much we can still achieve by simply gaining inspiration from nature and the study of species. However, the key message here is that despite the tremendous amount of destruction and species extinctions which is occurring since the industrial revolution. we are still living in a bio- diverse environment today. As such, we can still do something to preserve the diversity of life on Earth and reverse the current trend, or to the least limit or slow down the damages. As highlighted in this book, meaningful and realistic actions can be taken at the individual, corporate and government level to preserve biodiversity for current and future generations. Extinction is forever © Sylvain Richer de Forges General Conclusion Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 247. A living fossil: Gymnocrinus richeri Annex
  • 248. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 248 Bibliography (1) "Biodiversity: Questions and Answers"; Council of Europe Publishing, December 1999 Primack R.B. 1998. Essentials of Conservation Biology. Sinauer Associates, Sunderland MA: 260 Bonsdorff, E., E. M. Blomqvist, J. Mattila & A. Norkko, 1997: Long-term changes and coastal eutrophication. Examples from the land Islands and the Archipelago Sea, northern Baltic Sea. - Oceanol. Acta 20: 319-329. Norkko A. & E, Bonsdorff, 1996. Population responses of coastal zoobenthos to stress induced by drifting algal mats. - Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 140: 141-151. Biodiversity, Ecosystem Functioning, and Human Wellbeing, An Ecological and Economic Perspective, edited by Shahid Naeem, Daniel E. Bunker, Andy Hector, Michel Loreau and Charles Perrings. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2009, pp.230-247, 2009. Lewis, David J.; Plantinga, Andrew J.; Nelson, Erik; Polasky, Stephen. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, 2009. Biodiversity, Ecosystem Functioning, and Human Wellbeing, An Ecological and Economic Perspective, edited by Shahid Naeem, Daniel E. Bunker, Andy Hector, Michel Loreau and Charles Perrings. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2009, pp.248-262, 2009. Annex Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 249. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 249 Large-Scale Ecosystem Restoration: Five Case Studies from the United States, edited by Mary Doyle and Cynthia A. Drew. Washington, DC: Island Press, 2008, pp.279-289. (The science and practice of ecological restoration) 2008. Cater, E. and Lowman, G. Ecotourism: A Sustainable Option? West Sussex, England: John Wiley and Sons; 1994 Filion, F.; Foley, J. P., and Jacquemot, A. The economics of global ecotourism. Munasinghe, M. and McNeely, J. Protected Area Economics and Policy-Linking Conservation and Sustainable Development. Washington,DC: The World Bank; 1994. Goodwin, H. In pursuit of ecotourism. Biodiversity and Conservation. 1996; 5(3):277-292. Krutilla, J. V. and Fisher, A. C. The Economics of Natural Environments: Studies in Valuation of Commodity and Amenity Resources. Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press for Resources for the Future; 1975. Mendelsohn, R. The role of ecotourism in sustainable development. Meffe, G. and Caroll, C. Principles of Conservation Biology. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates; 1994. Aitken, S. R. and Leigh, C. H. Vanishing Rain Forests: The Ecological Transition. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 1992. Allen, J. C. and Barnes, D. F. The causes of deforestation in developing countries. Annals of the Association of American Geographers. 1985; 75163-184. Anderson, A. B. Alternatives to Deforestation. New York: Columbia University Press; 1990. Bibliography (2) Annex Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 250. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 250 Barbier, E. B. The economics of forestry and conservation: Economic values and policies. Commonwealth Forestry Review. 1995; 74(1). Barbier, E. B. and Rauscher, M. Trade, tropical deforestation, and policy interventions. Environmental and Resource Economics. 1994; 4(1):75-94. Aarts, BGW Nienhuis PH. Ecological sustainability and biodiversity. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND WORLD ECOLOGY. 1999; 6(2):89-102 / 14; ISSN: ISI:000081301200003. Borrvall, C Ebenman B Jonsson T. Biodiversity lessens the risk of cascading extinction in model food webs. ECOLOGY LETTERS. 2000; 3(2):131-136 / 6; ISSN: ISI:000086021100011. Chapin, F. III; Schultze, E., and Mooney, H. Biodiversity and ecosystem processes. Trends in Ecology & Evolution. 1992; 7(4):107-108. Cronk, Q. C. B. Islands: Stability, diversity, and conservation. Biodiversity and Conservation. 1997; 6(3):477-493. Ehrlich, P. R. and Mooney, H. A. Extinction, substitution, and ecosystem services. BioScience. 1983; 33248-254. Grime, J. P. Biodiversity and ecosystem function: The debate deepens. Science. 1997; 277(5330):1260-1261. Grumbine, R. E. Protecting biological diversity through the greater ecosystem concept. Natural Areas Journal. 1990; 10114-120. Bibliography (3) Annex Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 251. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 251 Aback, P. B. Biodiversity patterns in relation to climate: The coastal temperate rainforests of North America. Lawford, R. G.; Alaback, P. B., and Fuentes, E. High-latitude Rainforests and Associated Ecosystems of the West Coast of the Americas. New York: Springer; 1994; pp. 105-133. Bazzaz, F. A. Tropical forests in a future climate: Changes in biological diversity and impact on the global carbon cycle. Climatic Change. 1998; 39(2-3):317-336. Costanza, Robert. The Ecological, Economic, and Social Importance of the Oceans. Ecological Economics. 1999; 31(2):199-213. Alpin, P. N. Global climate change and natural-area protection: Management responses and research directions. Ecological Applications. 1997; 7(3):828-843. Kappelle, M. Van Vuuren MMIBaas P. Effects of climate change on biodiversity: a review and identification of key research issues. BIODIVERSITY AND CONSERVATION. 1999; 8(10):1383-1397 / 15; ISSN:ISI:000083412800005. Maciver, D. C. Atmospheric change and biodiversity. ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING & ASSESSMENT.1998; 49(2-3):177-189 / 13; ISSN: ISI:000072000900006. Myers, N. Synergisms: Joint effects of climate change and other forms of habitat destruction. Peters, R. L. and Lovejoy, T. E. Consequences of the Greenhouse Warming to Biodiversity. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press; 1992; pp. 344-354. Bibliography (4) Annex Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 252. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 252 Barbier, E. E. and Burgess, J. C. The economics of tropical forest land use options. Land Economics. 1997;73174-195. Bilsbarrow, R. and Okoth-Ogendo, H. W. O. Population-driven changes in land use in developing countries.Ambio. 1992; 21(1)37-45. Cameron, J. and Elix, J. Measures for achieving land management and conservation objectives. Cameron, J. and Elix, J. Recovering Ground: A Case Study Approach to Ecologically Sustainable Rural Land Management. Melbourne: Australian Conservation Foundation; 1991. Darwin, R.; Tsigas, M.; Lewandrowski, J., and Raneses, A. Land use and cover in ecological economics. Ecological Economics. 1996; 17(3):157-182. Day-Rubenstein, K Stuart M. Agricultural land use in tropical countries: Patterns, determinants, and implications for biodiversity loss. AMERICAN JOURNAL OF AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS. 1999; 81(5):1327-1327 / 1; ISSN: ISI:000085409000511. Rier, D. Conserving biodiversity on private land. Harvard Environmental Law Review. 1995; 19(2):304-305. Houghton, R. A. The worldwide extent of land-use change. BioScience. 1994; 44(5):305-313. Bibliography (5) Annex Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 253. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 253 Larson, B. A. The causes of land degradation along 'spontaneously' expanding agricultural frontiers in the third world:comment. Land Economics. 1991; 67260-266. Meyer, W. B. and Turner II, B. L. Human population growth and global land use/cover change. Annual Review of Ecological Systematics. 1992; 2339-61. Smith, Nigel J. H. Affiliation U Fl and Douglas A. Effects of Land-Use Systems on the Use and Conservation of Biodiversity in Biodiversity and agricultural intensification: Partners for development and conservation. 1996. Walker, Brian. Maximising Net Benefits Through Biodiversity as a Primary Land Use. Environment and Development Economics. 1999; 4(2):204-14. Walker, R. T. Land use transition and deforestation in developing countries. Geographical Analysis. 1987; 198-30. White, D. W.; Minotti, P. G.; Barczak, M. J.; Sifneos, J. C.; Freemark, K. E.; Santelmann, M. V.; Steinitz, C. F.; Kiester, A. R., and Preston, E. M. Assessing risks to biodiversity from future landscape change. Conservation Biology. 1997; 11(2):349-360. Abramovitz, JN. The living planet in crisis: biodiversity science and policy. INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS. 2000; 76(2):376-376 / 1; ISSN: ISI:000086531900050. Allen, J. M. The Nature of Biological Diversity. New York: McGraw Hill; 1963. Allen, TM. Biodiversity: Exploring values and priorities in conservation. HARVARD ENVIRONMENTAL LAW REVIEW. 2000; 24(2):593-601 / 9; ISSN: ISI:000088085000009. Bibliography (6) Annex Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 254. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 254 Barbier, Edward B.; Rauscher, Michael Affiliation U, and York U Kiel and Cepr. Policies to Control Tropical Deforestation: Trade Intervention Versus Transfers. Biodiversity Loss: Economic and Ecological Issues. 1995. Barrett, S. On biodiversity conservation. Perrings, C.; Folke, C.; Holling, C. S.; Jansson, B. O., and Maler, K. G. Biodiversity Loss: Theoretical and Ecological Issues. New York: Cambridge University Press; 1995; pp. 283-297. Al, Ahmed Esmat and Springuel Irina. Economic value of plant diversity in arid environments. Nature & Resources. 1996; 32(1):33-39. Blockstein, D. E. A strategic approach for biodiversity conservation. Wildlife Society Bulletin. 1995; 23(3):365-369. Broberg, L. E. Will management of vulnerable species protect biodiversity! JOURNAL OF FORESTRY. 1999; 97(7):12-18 / 7; ISSN: ISI:000081256700004. Burbidge, A. A. and Wallace, K. J. Practical methods for conserving biodiversity. Bradstock, R. A.; Auld, T. D.; Keith, D. A.; Kingsford, R. T.; Lunney, D., and Sivertsen, D. P. Conserving Biodiversity: Threats and Solutions. Chipping Norton: Surrey Beatty and Sons; 1995. Chadwick, D. The biodiversity challenge. Defenders. 1990; 65(3):19-30. Christen, K Wilson EO. Biodiversity at the crossroads. ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY. 2000; 34(5):122A-128A / 7; ISSN: ISI:000085612900018. Bibliography (7) Annex Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 255. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 255 Christensen, E. Genetic ark: a proposal to preserve genetic diversity for future generations. Stanford Law Review. 1987; 40279-321. Blockstein, D. E. A strategic approach for biodiversity conservation. Wildlife Society Bulletin. 1995; 23(3):365-369. Connell, J. H. Diversity in tropical rain forests and coral reefs. Science. 1978; 1991302-1310. Cooperrider, A. Y. Saving nature's legacy. Defenders. 1994; 69(3):17-24. Daily, G. C. Social constraints on restoration ecology. Saunders, D. A.; Hobbs, R. J., and Ehrlich, P. R. Nature Conservation III: Reconstruction of Fragmented Ecosystems. Perth: Surrey Beatty and Sons; 1993; pp.9-16. Daily, G. C. and Ehrlich, P. R. Population extinction and the biodiversity crisis. Perrings, C.; Mäler, K. M.; Felke, C.; Holling, C. F., and Jansson, B. O. Biodiversity Conservation: Problems and Policies. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Press; 1994. Dasmann, R. F. Environmental Conservation. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons; 1959. Davey, S. M.; Stockwell, D. R. B., and Peters, D. G. Managing biological diversity with intelligent systems. AI Applications. 1995; 9(2):69-89. Bibliography (8) Annex Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 256. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 256 Debuhr, L. E. Public understanding of biodiversity. BioScience. 1995; s43-s44. Decker, D. J.; Krasny, M. E.; Goff, G. R.; Smith, C. R., and Gross, D. W. Challenges in the Conservation of Biological Resources: A Practitioner's Guide. Boulder, CO: Westview Press; 1991. Desaigues, B Ami D. An estimation of the social benefits of preserving biodiversity. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENT AND POLLUTION. 1999; 12(4):400-413 / 14; ISSN: ISI:000085403100003. Edwards, S. R. Conserving biodiversity: Resources for our future. Bailey, R. The True State of the Planet. New York: The Free Press; 1995; pp. 211-265. Ehrlich, P. R. and Wilson, E. O. Biodiversity studies: Science and policy. Science. 1991; 254758- 762. Eldredge, N. The two faces of biodiversity. NATURAL HISTORY. 1998; 107(5):54-55 / 2; ISSN: ISI:000073672000011. Everett, R. L. and Lehmkuhl, J. F. An emphasis approach to conserving biodiversity. Wildlife Society Bulletin.1996; 24(2):192-199. Frankel, O. H. Genetic conservation: Our evolutionary responsibility. Genetics. 1974; 78(1):53-65. Gaynor, M. M. The role of scientists and scientific organizations in the conservation of biodiversity and the natural environment: An Australian perspective. Saunders, D. A.; Craig, J. L., and Mattiske, E. M.Nature Conservation 4: The Role of Networks. Chipping Norton: Surrey Beatty and Sons; 1996; pp 594-600. Bibliography (9) Annex Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 257. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 257 Goklany, I. M. Saving habitat and conserving biodiversity on a crowded planet. BioScience. 1998; 48941-953. Groves, C. R.; Klein, M. L., and Breden, T. F. Natural heritage programs: Public-private partnerships for biodiversity conservation. Wildlife Society Bulletin. 1995; 23(4):784-790. Guruswamy, L. D. and McNeely, J. A. Protection of Global Biodiversity:Converging Strategies. Durham: Duke University Press; 1998. Hambler, C. Future biodiversity. Nature. 1995; 6525758. Harkness, James. Recent Trends in Forestry and Conservation of Biodiversity in China. China Quarterly. 1998; 0(156):911-34. Heywood, V. H. and Watson, R. T. Global Biodiversity Assessment. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press; 1995. Hochberg, M. E.; Clobert, J., and Barbault, R. The Genesis and Maintenance of Biodiversity. Oxford: Oxford University Press; unknown. Koshland, D. E. Preserving biodiversity. Science. 1989; 253(5021):717. Levine, N. D. Preservation versus elimination. BioScience. 1986; 36308-309. Montgomery, C. A. and Pollack R. A. Economics and biodiversity: Weighing benefits and costs of conservation. Journal of Forestry. 1996; 94(2):34-38. Bibliography (10) Annex Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 258. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 258 Moore, N. The Bird of Time: Science and the Politics of Nature Conservation. New York: Cambridge University Press; 1987. Myers, N. Biodiversity and the precautionary principle. Ambio. 1993; 22(2-3):74-79. Myers, Norman Affiliation Oxford Uk. Tropical Deforestation: Population, Poverty and Biodiversity in The economics and ecology of biodiversity decline: The forces driving global change. 1995. Naeem, S. and Li, S. B. Biodiversity enhances ecosystem reliability. Nature. 1997; 390(6659):507- 509. Norse, E. A. International lending and the loss of biological diversity. Conservation Biology. 1987; 1259-260. Oksanen, M. The moral value of biodiversity. Ambio. 1997; 26(8):541-545. Oldfield, M. L. and Alcorn, J. B. Biodiversity: Culture, Conservation and Ecodevelopment. Boulder, CO: Westview Press; 1991. Peters, R. L. and Lovejoy, T. E. Global Warming and Biological Diversity. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press; 1992. Pimm, S. L. and Sugden, A. M. Tropical diversity and global change. Science. 1994; 263933-934. Pimm, SL Raven P. Biodiversity - Extinction by numbers. NATURE. 2000; 403(6772):843-845 / 3; ISSN:ISI:000085559200035. Bibliography (11) Annex Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 259. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 259 Author: Mr. Sylvain Richer de Forges Photographs All Photographs contained in this book are taken by the author in various locations around the world. All pictures @ Sylvain Richer de Forges all rights reserved This e-book is a simplified adaptation from the book of the same name which can be purchased through main book sales channels ISBN 978-981-07-3457-2 Acknowledgements Annex Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  • 260. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 260 About the Author: Sylvain Richer de Forges is a business strategist and a corporate sustainability specialist. Over the last years he has been mostly working in Asia with public and private sectors. He is the writer of numerous articles and the author of two published books on issues surrounding sustainable development and corporate change strategies. Sylvain holds a diploma in physics from France, a bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences from La Trobe University (Australia) and a master’s in management from the university of Sherbrooke in Canada. Additionally he is a photographer. Annex Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg