Ecological problems and solutions

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This presentation opens with global warnings, gives you a survey of earth's main biodiversity hotspots and offers some solutions to the ecological multitask challenge - Download as PDF to use the links in the table of contents, share if you like or just enjoy

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Ecological problems and solutions

  1. 1. ECOLOGICAL PROBLEMS & SOLUTIONS Updated in 2005, 2008, 2012 , 2014 and 2015
  2. 2. 5 Impact of overpopulation  6 2020: for each inhabitant in the industrialized countries, there will be five in the developing countries  7 Global poverty  8 - 9 Nuclear risks  10 26/04/86: reason for a separate case study  11 Nuclear heritage  12 Natural and anthropogenic greenhouse effect  13 Greenhouse gases  14 Origin greenhouse gases and their impact  15 Global desertification happens mainly at the peripheries  16 Calamity of heating out of control  17 Feedback in the carbon cycle  18 Siberian roulette  19 The arctic region contains 500 billion tons of carbon  20 Methane bubbles faster up out of the tundra as expected  21 Future choices?  22 Anomaly surface temperature  23 Oil pollution  24 Deepwater Horizon, Gulf of Mexico, April 2010  25 Nature reserves in Louisiana mutilated  26 Bon Secour Refuge, Alabama threatened (3,5 103 ha)  27 Lepidochelys kempii, ‘arribada’  28 Human and ecological risks – pesticides  29 Reduction PCBs (35% since ’85) ensured seals of reproductive successes  30 Bhopal shows extra risks pesticides  31 01/11/’86 the Rhine (almost) died  32 - 33 Acid rain  34 Consequences of acid rain  35 SO2 -pollution and bio-indicators  36 Eutrophication and consequences  37 Terrestrial eutrophication  38 Eutrophication and solutions  39 The O3 layer: a protective shield for all life on earth  40 Destruction of the ozone layer  41 First observation in 1970 …  42 First observation in 1970 … images 1995 – 2004  43 Ozone depletion over the Arctic in 2011  44 ‘World avoided’ without ban CFCs  45 Pollution of oceans by plastic and trash  Global warningsGlobal warnings
  3. 3. 46 Harmful invasive species  47 Black lists  48 Examples of harmful exotic species A1- Ludwigia grandiflora  49 Original distribution of Ludwigia grandiflora  50 Situation in France in 2009  51 Examples of harmful introduced species A1 – Rana catesbeiana  52 A2 - Introduced species: e.g. black cherry (Prunus serotina)  53 A2 - Introduced species: e.g. giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum)  54 A2 - Introduced species: e.g. Egyptian goose (Alopochen aegyptiacus)  55 A2 –Introduced species: e.g. harlequin ladybird (Harmonia axyridis)  56 – 59 Introduced species and evolution  60 Zebra spider (Salticus scenicus)  61 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2003  62 – 67 Threatened taxa: breeding birds in Belgium and the Netherlands  68 – 76 Other threatened taxa in Belgium and the Netherlands  77 Bee population density levels are dangerously low  78 Severe infection can cause the death of the entire hive between August and October  79 Will global warming bring about a “beepocalypse”?  80 Global threats to taxa  81 Corals, a specialized form of mutualism between algae en corallites  82 Florida Keys reefs: a degraded biodiversity hotspot  83 Reasons for the endangerment of taxa  84 - 85 Example of endangerment through deforestation  86 Loss of habitat and populations  87 Genetic erosion  88 – 92 Removal of keystone species drastically alters communities  93 Eschrichtius robostus  94 – 99 When a species becomes extinct, it’s gone for good  98 Brown-headed cowbirds following grazing bisons  100, 102 Predicted to become extinct?...  101 Hibiscadelphus woodii in bloom  103 Lost?....  104 – 108 Biodiversity in danger during the past  109 Narrow habitats, extensive specialization and limited dispersal may put species at risk  110 The critical predicament of biodiversity is epitomized by Banara vanderbiltii  111 Fungi in the midst of a mass extinction  Trojan horses Local flora & fauna under assault Biodiversity threatened Trojan horses Local flora & fauna under assault Biodiversity threatened
  4. 4. 112 - 113 Rifle shots and holocausts  114 – 115 Ecosystems deserving immediate attention  116 San Bruno Mountain, California  117 – 118 Oases of the Dead Sea Depression, Israel and Jordan  119 California floristic province  120 – 122 Slash & burn in Madagascar  123 Grandidier's Baobab (Adansonia grandidieri)  124 The fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox) is the island's largest surviving endemic terrestrial mammal  125 – 126 Lower slopes of the Himalayas  127 – 129 Western Ghats, India  130 – 132 Central Chile  133 – 135 The Colombian Chocó  136 – 138 Western Ecuador  139 – 144 Uplands of western Amazonia  145 – 147 Atlantic coast of Brazil  148 – 149 Southwestern Ivory Coast  150 – 152 Fynbos, South Africa  153 – 155 Sri Lanka  156 – 159 Peninsular Malaysia  160 – 162 Borneo  163 – 166 The Philippines  167 – 171 New Caledonia  172 – 174 Southwestern Australia  175 – 177 The Mediterranean Basin  178 Survey of the most important biodiversity hotspots  179 - 182 The list is not closed…  183 – 185 Lake Baikal  186 – 187 Regeneration of tropical rain forest may take centuries  188 – 189 Queimadas or burnings in the Amazon  190 Deforestation and ecological holocaust by genetic engineering  191 Eco-battalions and eco-soldiers  192 – 205 Unmined riches of biodiversity  206 Sustainable use of rain forests as extractive reserves  207 - 208 Reforestation projects  209 – 230 Resolution  231 – 253 Credits, aknowledgments  Main biodiversity hotspots Aware of our riches Resolution Main biodiversity hotspots Aware of our riches Comprehensive solution to the ecological multitask challenge
  5. 5. Impact of overpopulation 5Global warnings
  6. 6. For each inhabitant in the industrialized countries, there will be five in the developing countries by 2020 Previous: banana plantations in Nicaragua Primary production rain forest is consumed by ‘slash & burn’ plantations The human population puts a huge tax on earth’s resources One on five lives in extreme poverty Species are at an accelerating pace threatened with extinction Since 1950 1/5 of the top layer of the earth's surface has been lost 6Global warnings
  7. 7. Global poverty Deforestation, erosion and spoiling of cyanide and mercury in the Napo river in Ecuador as consequences of gold mining Cities in developing countries particularly face an enormous growth of massive country flight Water, food, smog problems, ... are inevitable Overexploitation of rain forests threaten all species, a lot of which are never investigated and live in undisturbed forests Problems of endangered species are inherent to poverty and malnutrition 7Global warnings
  8. 8. Nuclear risks The Chernobyl motor, with graphite moderator and water cooling, exploded after a test The test investigated if there could be enough energy for water cooling after a complete stop until diesel production gets going Emergency cooling was stopped so the test wouldn’t be interrupted Power reduction to 30 MW instead of 1 000 MW as a consequence of unforeseen development of steam in the cooling For this reason workers removed control rods, deadly in combination with shortage of cooling water 8Global warnings
  9. 9. Nuclear risks The cooling lessened and lessened, by delay of pump operation, powered by the turbines The problem with this kind of reactor is the tremendous power it develops at low capacity Uncontrollable generation of steam was the consequence Fuel elements got broken and came in contact with water A steam explosion attacked the heart of the engine The shutter of the engine let air in: ½ C + O2 → CO: highly combustible Eight tons of Pu-fuel, Cs & I set fire and ascended in the atmosphere 9Global warnings
  10. 10. 26/04/86: reason for a separate case study Four km2 pine forest adjacent to the engine coloured ginger brown and died ‘Red Forest’ Slow recovery with distorted and delayed trees Human death toll through influence of radiation valued at 100 000 Research of the ecological impact: genetic damage for more than 20 sp. E.g. horses on the island six km further died of a desintegration of the thyroid gland Research is more difficult because mutant animal is eaten quickly or dies 2 500 km2 exclusion zone show numerous rare species e.g. eagle-owls (Bubo bubo), great egrets (Egretta alba), white-tailed eagles (Haliaeetus albicilla), black storks (Ciconia nigra), river otters (Lutra canadensis), populations of wolves,… Positive ecological impact of evacuation exceeds radiation costs 10Global warnings
  11. 11. Nuclear heritage Research on swallows (Hirundo sp.) shows that migratory birds are very radiation-sensitive Migration trenches on reserves of antioxidants Depression of antioxidants is linked to mutations: partial albinism and sperm mutations Homeless and migrating species accumulate less radiation than these with fixed habitat Mutations as a result of radiation have not been bound to one place Migrating species are susceptible to generative heritage or to spread the mutations on to adjacent unpolluted populations Nests, eggs found in sarcophagus Heavily contaminated rodents show few deviations Cleaning up by burning with electricity generation from the nucleotides is not an option Mobilization of nucleotides is extremely harmful Vibrating ecosystem has been destroyed 11Global warnings
  12. 12. Natural and anthropogenic greenhouse effect 30% of the solar radiation is reflected by earth (atmosphere, clouds and surface) 70% is absorbed: 16% (e.g. UV) by atmosphere, 3% by clouds, 51% by earth Stefan-Boltzmann: longwave IR radiation is transmitted by earth (10 µm) Atmosphere, transparent to visible light, behaves like a black body for IR Only albedo- and black-body- properties took in consideration, earth’s surface temperature would be 33º lower Without convection temperature on earth would be 72 12Global warnings
  13. 13. Greenhouse gases By car emissions, burning of fossil raw materials, deforestation: CO2-record of 387 ppm Greenhouse gases absorb IR-radiation: tri- (or more) atomic molecules Natural greenhouse effect: 60% H2O, 26% CO2, CH4, N2O, O3, CFCs (life span up to 50 000 years) H2O in large quantity, but is passive with regard to climate by short yielding life span in the atmosphere As positive feedback with regard to other gases, as clouds or rain CO2, CH4 have a life span of hundreds of years in atmosphere [CFC], [CO2] previous century 13Global warnings
  14. 14. Origin greenhouse gases and their impact Desertification: interaction of climate, overexploitation of lands, erosion, industry, deforestation, poverty, mine construction,… For fragile ecosystems degradation of flora, fauna, soil and water sources is irreversible CH4- increase is similar to that of CO2 Livestock, enlarging populations of termites, deforestation, rice plantations and fossil fuels are main emitting factors of methane N2O coming from chemical industry and artificial manure CFCs as refrigerants Global warming: Longer growing season plants: earlier in spring, later in autumn Increase [CO2]: C3-plants Warming: thermophilic C4-plants Glaciers melting and higher chances of mud flows Melting of all the ice would cause sea level to rise 150 m Currently with a rate of 1,8 mm/year during the last 100 years 14Global warnings
  15. 15. Global desertification happens mainly at the peripheries Between 1882 and 1952, the proportion of the earth’s land surface classified as desert rose from 9,4 to 23,3% 15Global warnings
  16. 16. Calamity of heating out of control El Nino ensures periodically dryness in Indonesia, Australia and the Amazon In ’97 and ’98 el Nino was enormously strong Model studies predict that El Niño events will become more frequent and severe as earth’s climate warms Research has recently found that over half the Amazon rainforest is at risk of burning during extreme droughts, like the one that struck from July—November in 2005 In Indonesia and Malaysia rain forest is growing on wet peat layers 2 billion barrel CO2 disappeared from smouldering peat during the ‘90’s Nino’s Some fires were switched on by owners of palm oil companies which set up plantations for extraction of bio-ethanol 16Global warnings
  17. 17. Feedback in the carbon cycle Few ° of temperature rise: 30% less rainfall, arrival of a dry season instead of daily rain Massive wildfires lead to desertification 90% of the Amazon rain forest could possibly disappear with a rise of 2° in the 21st century Warming causes soil bacteria to work and propagate faster Warmer seas absorb less CO2 By means of loss of foliage plants and trees grow less Also if deforestation stops, bunches of the Amazon disappear as heating reaches more than 2° Forest ecosystems of the Amazon have no defense against fire 17Global warnings
  18. 18. Siberian roulette 18Global warnings
  19. 19. The arctic region contains 500 billion tons of carbon Cities such as Yakutsk, Vorkuta and Noril'sk will realize they are built on quicksand At dry conditions bacteria will oxidize it to CO2 If the soil is wet, anaerobic bacteria will converse it into CH4, 20 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas compared to CO2 The permafrost under the East Siberian Arctic Shelf—long thought to be an impermeable barrier sealing in methane—is instead perforated and leaking large amounts of CH4 into the atmosphere The amount of CH4 currently coming out of the swallow East Siberian Arctic Shelf is comparable to the amount coming out of the entire world’s oceans19Global warnings
  20. 20. Methane bubbles faster up out of the tundra as expected 20Global warnings
  21. 21. Future choices? Trade in emission rights Withdraw the status symbol from cars Apply efficient energy use in construction Minimum 2 million windmills of 1 MW (= 50x the amount in the year ’09) Solar panels on roofs, solar mirrors in deserts Pay to stop deforestation Certainly no bio-ethanol 400 ppm CO2-equivalent = 2° warming Flemish metropolitan dream: 21Global warnings
  22. 22. Anomaly surface temperature 22Global warnings
  23. 23. Oil pollution Oil is bottled up in a barrier of rubbers Boats ' skim ' oil of the sea Bioremediation: use of manure to promote oil-degrading bacteria Soapy oil-solvents, burnings Absorption by e.g. straw, talc Many times in history crude oil came into the sea or rivers e.g. Amodo Cadiz (1978) – Brittany: 230 000 tons, thousands of seabirds † Exxon-Valdez (1989) hits a reef in Alaska: 45 000 tons, many seabirds, otters, seals † Captain J. Hazelwood was drunk Sea-Empress (1996) – Wales: 147 000 tons, 25 000 seabirds † Since accident Erika at the Breton coast (1999): EU applies stricter conditions on oil transport Prestige (2002), Galician coast 170 000 tons of heavy oil from Tricolor (2002) pollutes the Zwin Each year up to 500 000 tons of oil are leaked into the Russian Ob and Yenisei river basins with TNK-BP being the biggest offender 23Global warnings
  24. 24. Deepwater Horizon, Gulf of Mexico, April 2010 Oil spill 24/05/2010, view by Nasa’s Terra Total crude oil pollution was almost 0,95 109 l. Exceeding Exxon-Valdez with a factor 20 In 1979, platform Ixtoc I caused a spill of 1,1 107 litres in the Gulf of Mexico The 2nd of May 2010 the government closed the fishery between the estuary and the Pensacola Bay or 225 103 km2, 36% of the federal Waters of the Gulf 24Global warnings
  25. 25. Nature reserves in Louisiana mutilated The Breton and Chandeleur Islands host habitats of dozens of bird species e.g. the brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) The quantity of oil drained is enough to destroy the complete marine life in the Gulf and the coasts Moreover, methane chokes and benzene poisons The heavier oil components disturb life on the sea floor Cloggy messes reached the National Wildlife Refuge and the Breton National Wildlife Refuge, Louisiana 25Global warnings
  26. 26. Bon Secour Refuge, Alabama threatened (3,5 103 ha) The Refuge is home to the Alabama beach mouse (Peromyscus polionotus ammobates), which is associated with the sand dunes and sea oats – IUCN 2006: Endangered Crucial for the health of the entire Refuge ecosystem The Refuge beaches serve as nesting sites for Kemp’s ridley sea turtles (Lepidochelys kempii), smallest but most threatened marine turtle Grasses of the marsh areas in Louisiana die of oil The vegetation of grasses is exactly what keeps the small islands together The loss of these ‘wetlands’ may enormously reinforce the impact of hurricanes such as Katrina (2005) 26Global warnings
  27. 27. Lepidochelys kempii, ‘arribada’ Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, measuring 65 cm, is strongly migratory and travels hundreds of km to the nesting site where once it saw its life light IUCN 2011: Critically Endangered 27Global warnings
  28. 28. Human and ecological risks - pesticides Dichlorodifenyltrichloroethane or DDT, fast killer of aphids, mosquitoes, Colorado potato beetles,… was used massively in 1943-1972, [DDT] in the soil: ½-time of 15 years 1967 was a year of success: many countries were freed of malaria, relieving the poverty Abuse led to resistance Facts that caused the ban: Carsons ‘Silent spring’ (1962) Organochlorines (DDT, PCB, dioxins,…) accumulated in fatty tissues lift the risk on breast cancer and endocrine diseases Eggshell thinning as a reason of the decline of birds of prey, pelicans,... DDT is toxic for aquatic life and neurologically toxic in general 28Global warnings
  29. 29. Reduction PCBs (35% since ’85) ensured seals of reproductive successes PCBs are used as coolants, insulating fluids and in pesticides In 1968 in Japan, 400 000 birds died after eating poultry feed that was contaminated with PCBs In 1999, the dioxin affair caused serious trouble for the Belgian government, when PCBs were found in chickens and eggs PCBs are neurologically toxic pesticides with biomagnification Immune system is affected, teratogenic effects are multiple Remote dispersal of PCBs by air and ocean currents The problem is international Whales and polar bears found with high [PCBs] Spitsbergen: polar bears with male and female properties Eskimos subsisting primarily on ocean resources are faced with alarming concentrations29Global warnings
  30. 30. Bhopal shows extra risks pesticides HCl bottles in the former lab of the abandoned factory show the toxicity of the surrounding Kali grounds The local population has put up a fight of many years against Dow and Union Carbide Because of receding profits, security costs at Union Carbide India Limited were scaled back Bhopal (800 000 inhabitants) was buried with 27 tons toxic methyl isocyanate gases, 03/12/1984 Escaping people lost their intestines, women aborted on the spot, many suffered enormous asthma attacks 22 149 directly related deadly victims More than 1 000 people a year died prematurely of chronic exposure to the poison One mass grave for 1000s of animals – vegetation was evenly damaged Families continued drinking polluted water 30Global warnings
  31. 31. 01/11/’86 the Rhine (almost) died A catastrophic fire at a chemicals factory near Basel sends tons of toxic chemicals, pesticides and Hg into the river The neighbourhood smelled the fetidness of rotten eggs and burned rubber For hundreds of km dead fish surfaced 500 000 fish died, some species were completely lost Plants died as well An investigation six months later revealed that aquatic invertebrates and plants survived the disaster Setback of 10 years of rehabilitating the ecosystem of the Rhine, severely polluted by the industrial expansion in Germany, France and Switzerland 31Global warnings
  32. 32. Acid rain Precipitation is slightly acid: pH = 5,6 H2O + CO2 → H2CO3 NOx > traffic, nitrifying bacteria SO2 > burning of coal, melting of metal sulfides and volcano eruptions NH3 > manure, reacts with H+ to NH4 +, oxidized by nitrifying bacteria to NO3 - pH < 5: acid rain East US with a record pH of 2,6 Direct dry deposition of gases have a negative influence on water retention of plants facing stress (E.g. Pinus sp. at cold conditions) NOx and SO2 reacting with H2O produce acid compounds Naturpark Erzgebirge (Germany), close to the Czech border32Global warnings
  33. 33. Acid rain Acid deposition of NOx and SO2 also occurs via dry deposition in the absence of precipitation This dry deposition dissolving in water leads to sulfuric and nitric acid Wet deposition of acids occurs when any form of precipitation removes acids from the atmosphere and delivers it to the earth's surface Leaching away of metal ions out of rocks, e.g. Al3+, Hg2+, Cd2+ (toxic)… …leads to a lessened uptake of N, P, K, Mg by the vegetation 33Global warnings
  34. 34. Consequences of acid rain Areas affected (bottom), are not areas that produce (SO2) Both the lower pH and higher Al3+- concentrations in surface water cause damage to fish and other aquatic animals The lakes in Scandinavia and North-America suffered a big loss of fish since the 1920s pH precipitation Hawaii 5,3; peak of 3,8 Since natural gas is desulfurized SO2- emissions dropped Young fish (trout, salmon) and diatoms die at pH < 5 HNO3-precipitation > N-saturation of soils Mycorrhiza are very sensitive to dissolved heavy metals Growth is delayed, mycorrhiza species die Buffer capacity calcareous soil is affected Acidic soil (peat, taiga) is more sensitive SO2, NOx can lead to respiratory problems 34Global warnings
  35. 35. SO2 -pollution and bio-indicators SO2 is harmful for the respiratory organs of animals and humans SO2 penetrates plants via stomata, chlorophyll is degraded, leading to chlorosis under influence of a low pH Fir, Scots pine, spinach, cucumber, oats,... are sensitive Corn, celery, citrus,… are more resistent More SO2 in winter: be cautious with evergreen species ‘Jardins du Luxembourg’ – Nylander (1886): changing lichen vegetation Biomonitors: lichens and Usnea sp. are very sensitive to SO2 Beard lichen (Usnea sp.) in an unpolluted environment, growing on a Siberian larch (Larix sibirica) 35Global warnings
  36. 36. Eutrophication and consequences Algal blooms (Australia) of a.o. aggregates of cyanobacterial Microcystis aeruginosa Toxic for man and animal in hot summers N-fixation benefits green algae with N-limitation in eutrophic conditions Eutrophication: excess of nutrients in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems [N], [P] too high Causes are point and diffuse (industry and household) sources of pollution P is a limiting factor for algal growth In very polluted waters dominance of cyanobacteria with reduction of [light, O2] can prevail Stench, fish mortality, deterioration of aquatic plants, increase of plankton- eaters as common bream,… Too many fish without predators reduce zooplankton and enhance algal growth Charales (Chara sp.), spiny naiads (Najas major),… disappear in favour of waterweeds (Elodea sp.) 36Global warnings
  37. 37. Terrestrial eutrophication Eutrophication will favour sand sedge (Carex arenaria), a colonizer of dunes Open pastures, heathland, dunes, oligotroph pine forests and deciduous forests, thickets,… run wild with a decrease of diversity Wet pastures may dry up by acid deposition or by decrease of alkali ground water Sodding is a solution Deciduous forests may encounter a shortage of Mg Forests will know an accelerated succession and an increase of nitrophilous plants Some species will dominate, while others will vanish by competition 37Global warnings
  38. 38. Eutrophication and solutions Surface-flow wetlands, Friesland Mozaic of aerobic and anaerobic patches Extensive root systems and air filled nerves conduct O2 … …as a crucial property on anaerobic soils Surface-flow wetlands supported by a wide variety of soil types, can be used for N- and P-removal Reedbeds can be a palette of reeds (Phragmites sp.), sedges e.g. tule (Schoenoplectus acutus), cattails (Typha ssp.),… Ammonification in the aerobic and anaerobic layers converses organic N to NH4 +… …which oxidizing bacteria transform to NO3 - Denitrification in anaerobic layers produces N2O and N2 from NO3 - PO4 3- collides with clay particles or metals (Al3+, Fe3+,…) Sedimentation and removal of biomass reduces N and P in the environment 38Global warnings
  39. 39. The O3 layer: a protective shield for all life on earth Reduction O3 to O2 is a chain reaction of Cl Optimal at -80 , in the polar stratosphere during Antarctic winter UV mainly damages amino acids 3% less O3 > 20% more chance of skin cancer Sources of depletion: CFCs (life span of more than 100 y), since 1930 frequently used in air conditioning, refrigerators CCl4, CH3CCl3, halocarbons, NOx High concentrations of H2S, CH4 Montreal (1987): 85% reduction CFCs by 2007 Lowest amounts of ozone found over the Antarctic during southern spring in October Marine life, birds, algae and plankton show a decline of growth in the Antarctic zone Some alarming holes in the Arctic layer were observed 39Global warnings
  40. 40. Destruction of the ozone layer 40Global warnings
  41. 41. First observation in 1970 … 41Global warnings
  42. 42. First observation in 1970 … images 1995 - 2004 42Global warnings
  43. 43. Ozone depletion over the Arctic in 2011 The ‘Dobson unit’ is a convenient measure of the columnar density of ozone overhead One Dobson unit refers to a layer of ozone that would be 10 µm thick under standard temperature and pressure 300 DU of ozone brought down to the surface of the earth would occupy a layer only 3 mm thick The extent of ozone depletion in the early spring 2011 was comparable to that in the Antarctic ozone hole Ozone depleted skies covered Scandinavia and the northern Russia, resulting in increased levels of ultraviolet radiation 43Global warnings
  44. 44. ‘World avoided’ without ban CFCs Left: ozone layer in 2009 Right: the ozone layer without ban Note: red indicates high concentration O3, blue indicates low concentrations 44Global warnings
  45. 45. Pollution of oceans by plastic and trash Fish, turtles, marine mammals and about 44% of all seabirds e.g. royal terns (Sterna maxima), northern fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis),… mistake plastic for food or get entangled in it Plastic-derived chemicals can cause cancer in humans and simpler life-forms may be more susceptible than we are Plastic debris - most of it smaller five mm - are dispersed over millions of square miles of ocean and miles deep in the water column Solutions include improving the public’s awareness, reducing the use of plastics and enforcing laws to punish habitual litterers The graph shows the average number of trash items counted for several years along a popular 7-mile stretch of Mustang Island Gulf Beach, Texas 45Global warnings
  46. 46. Harmful invasive species If funds are limited, control of A1 species is the main priority Eradication is only possible in starting populations with habitats not fully colonized Management A2 species: prevention of further distribution, particularly in nature reserves Invasive species have a negative impact on biodiversity, economy or health Damage is correlated to the integration and ecological impact Distribution and invasion of black list species must be checked at an early stage If a species is too harmful, eradication is appropriate E.g. brown rats (Rattus norvegicus) and common carps (Cyprinus carpio) 46Trojan horses
  47. 47. Black lists A1-species: e.g. the red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans), is omnivorous and an ardent predator Considered less harmful as originally thought Reproduction is not possible in Western Europe, because the embryo doesn’t survive cold winters Reproducing populations in southern Europe Prohibition of 1997 was evaded by import of the cumberland slider (Trachemys scripta troosti) 47Trojan horses
  48. 48. Examples of harmful exotic species A1- Ludwigia grandiflora Water primrose (Ludwigia grandiflora) Invasive neophyte Kleine Nete Retie, Kasterlee, Herentals, Grobbendonk (Belgium) Escaped from garden ponds The water primrose is being controlled, but mechanical removal is an awkward manoeuvre Vegetative reproduction from parts of a plant makes eradication a titanic job 48Trojan horses
  49. 49. Original distribution of the water primrose This species has a disjunct distribution with a 1st area ranging from Pennsylvania to Texas, a 2nd in California and Oregon and a 3rd in Brazil, Argentina, Chili, Uruguay and Paraguay 49Trojan horses
  50. 50. Situation in France in 2009 50Trojan horses
  51. 51. Examples of harmful introduced species A1 – Rana catesbeiana The bullfrog is native to North-America Introduced for the rear legs or as inhabitant of garden ponds The bullfrog, able to catch birds and mammals as prey, is enormously harmful to the native fauna Ecosystems near the German Rhine has to cope with reproductive populations In spite of a prohibition on import, trade lingers on 51Trojan horses
  52. 52. A2 - Introduced species: e.g. black cherry (Prunus serotina) Alder buckthorn (Frangula alnus) host to the caterpillar of the brimstone (Gonopteryx rhamni), the holly blue (Celastrina argiolus) and the brown hairstreak (Thecla betulae) Asian knotweed (Fallopia japonica), another example of an A2-species, is one of earth’s most invasive plants Introduced from America in Europe in the 19th century for timber In the 20th century applied as a soil improver under pine trees Invasive in forests, especially on acid and sandy soils Pollination by different species of Diptera, Hymenoptera, Coleoptera Strongly competitive through tolerance of shade and maintenance of saplings Colonizing by fast fruiting and crowding out of Frangula alnus, Prunus padus, Quercus robur,… Leaves are toxic to cattle Control by pathogenic fungus Chondrostereum purpureum 52Trojan horses
  53. 53. A2 - Introduced species: e.g. giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) Mass vegetation of giant hogweed, Boxmeer, Netherlands By forming dense stands they can displace native plants and reduce wildlife interests Giant hogweed, native to Central Asia and much appreciated by beekeepers, was introduced into Europe and North-America Being a threat to natural ecosystems, this plant is also dangerous to human health Contact with the toxic giant hogweed sap leads to severe burns Each plant produces between 30 000 and 50 000 winged seeds Its regenerative capability means that even an isolated plant is capable of founding a new colony, especially in presence of waterways, wind or human activity 53Trojan horses
  54. 54. A2 - Introduced species: e.g. Egyptian goose (Alopochen aegyptiacus) Egyptian goose (Alopochen aegyptiacus) in a typical menacing flight Shelduck (Tadorninae), related to the common shelduck They are found mostly in the Nile Valley and south of the Sahara In 1967 some individuals escaped in the Netherlands and Belgium and the species is nowadays commonly observed Stabilization, within the recent years there has been a further growth of the population Not harmed by cold winters ‘Trade mark’: aggression Squatting the nest of other waterfowls, hawks and buzzards 54Trojan horses
  55. 55. A2 –Introduced species: e.g. harlequin ladybird (Harmonia axyridis) Harlequin ladybirds, easily recognizable by the white markings on their pronotum ("M"- or "W"-shaped black area) Harlequin ladybird (Harmonia axyridis) Introduced as herbivore of mildew and as predator of aphids in greenhouses Reproduces freely in the ecosystems of Western Europe Ecological consequences are considerable: as generalist species and super predator it chases away and predates on indigenous species Wintering behaviour inside buildings 55Trojan horses
  56. 56. Introduced species and evolution In the African Great Lakes, the tribe of Haplochromini (Cichlidae) have radiated to fill almost all major niches, mostly because of different food habits and courtship More than 300 adaptive types in Lake Victoria alone Paralabidochromis chilotes: with thickened lips, preys on insects Haplochromis obliquidens: grazes on algae They are being extinguished by the giant Nile perch (Lates niloticus) Introduced as a game fish by Ugandan officials in the 1920s Being a fat fish, a lot of wood is required to get it done, promoting deforestation and erosion Local fishermen were being deprived of their income 56Trojan horses
  57. 57. Introduced species and evolution R. pomonella on hawthorn Both races of the maggots are still resigned to the same taxon 4 – 6% hybridisation between the races The apple maggot (Rhagoletis pomonella) infects apple trees, introduced into North America from Europe around 1800 Before the arrival of apples from Europe, it was mainly found in hawthorns (Crataegus sp.) The apple feeding race does not feed on hawthorns and vice versa This is an example of an early step in the evolution of new species by means of an extra choice of a new foodplant, a case of sympatric evolution The possible emergence of a new species of Rhagoletis also appears to drive the speciation among its parasites 57Trojan horses
  58. 58. Introduced species and evolution The graph shows the temporal gap between the two races of Rhagoletis pomonella (Bush 1969) The imago appears before the trees set fruit Parasitoid ichneumon wasps can be launched in case of a plague The ‘apple race’, with 70% less parasitoid infection, is better protected against the wasps, seen that the larvae live deeper inside the fruit as the female wasps can drill their ovipositors 58Trojan horses
  59. 59. Introduced species and evolution Rhagoletis pomonella with Batesian mimicry: the markings on the wings closely resemble the forelegs and pedipalps of jumping spiders (Salticidae), this way avoiding predation by them 59Trojan horses
  60. 60. Zebra spider (Salticus scenicus) 60Trojan horses
  61. 61. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008 61Local flora & fauna under assault
  62. 62. Threatened taxa: breeding birds in Belgium and the Netherlands Common cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) Declining populations in all countries of Western and Central Europe More than 20 000 (1987), less than 10 000 (2009) breeding pairs in the Netherlands Use of insecticides affects the cuckoos, who are dependent on insect eating hosts Climate change causes some hosts to breed earlier (e.g. the robin), in disfavour of the young cuckoo who hatches best first… … to eject the other eggs Mimic cuckoo eggs in a nest of a great reed warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus) 62Local flora & fauna under assault
  63. 63. Threatened taxa: breeding birds in Belgium and the Netherlands Barn swallow (Hirundo rustica) The most widespread species of swallow in the world is not endangered, but local populations decline due to specific threats such as the destruction of a reed bed with three million birds for the construction of an airport in Durban In the 70s more than 200 000 breeding pairs shift to less than 30 000 in 2009 in Belgium Habitat reduction by replacement of old barns by more modern ones … ...of which owners keep out nests for (supposed) hygienic reasons High pressure cleaning and whitewashing chase the birds away For humans they are attractive birds feeding on insects and therefore they have been tolerated 63Local flora & fauna under assault
  64. 64. Threatened taxa: breeding birds in Belgium and the Netherlands House sparrow (Passer domesticus) Cities and villages nowadays have a shortage of available nesting sites In Western Europe and in the Netherlands pre-eminantly, where it is considered an endangered species, numbers have dropped Replacement of horses by combustion engines, air pollution, use of toxics against insects and plants are contributing factors The house sparrow is a seed eater The hatchlings need insects for fledging Invasive in North America and Australia since the 19th century 64Local flora & fauna under assault
  65. 65. Threatened taxa: breeding birds in Belgium and the Netherlands Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos) Dutch and Flemish red lists label the nightingale as vulnerable: 7 500 breeding pairs Reason of decline: biotope of marsh forests and pastures disappear more and more by depletion of groundwater Drought during roosting in the south of the African continent provides fewer insects Loud songs with an impressive variation of whistles, are particularly noticeable at night because few other birds are singing Nightingales sing even louder in urban environments, in order to overcome the background noise 65Local flora & fauna under assault
  66. 66. Threatened taxa: breeding birds in Belgium and the Netherlands Ficedula hypoleuca nests in holes and can be helped by supplying nesting-boxes It has a preference for oak trees The pied flycatcher is a victim of global warming Being migratory over long distances, this bird is being confronted with an earlier spring in the temperate zones A prerequisite to breed is an abundance of insects The pied flycatcher hastened its breeding season by 10 days, by which less recuperation is granted The UK population has declined by 43% in the past decade, decreasing breeding performance being a major factor As breeding performance is declining, breeding-based strategies such as habitat management remain useful conservation tools 66Local flora & fauna under assault
  67. 67. Threatened taxa: breeding birds in Belgium and the Netherlands A corn bunting (Miliaria calandra) and a European bee-eater (Merops apiaster) sharing private business Former has declined in northwest Europe due to intensive agricultural practices depriving it of its food supply of weed seeds and insects The corn bunting has recently become extinct in Ireland where it was once common The Flemish population declines by 5% every year, in 2005 it fell to 150 breeding pairs Referring to Flanders, the fieldfare (Turdus pilaris), the Montagu’s harrier (Circus pygargus), the wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe), the golden oriole (Oriolus oriolus), the bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula), the great grey shrike (Lanius excubitor) a.o. illustrate this negative trend 67Local flora & fauna under assault
  68. 68. Other threatened taxa in Belgium and the Netherlands The brown long-eared bat (Plecotus auritus), endangered in Belgium and the Netherlands Roost sites in tree holes or buildings are often thought of as ‘untidy’ Pesticide use has devastating effects, causing severe decline in insect prey abundance, and contaminating food with potentially fatal toxins Insecticides applied to timber inside buildings where roosts occur are a particular danger An agreement on the Conservation of Bats in Europe under the auspices of the Bonn Convention, also known as the Convention on Migratory species (CMS) is in force, and all European bats are listed under Appendix II of the CMS 68Local flora & fauna under assault
  69. 69. Other threatened taxa in Belgium and the Netherlands Common midwife toad (Alytes obstetricans) Males carrying with them the eggs from March until August The common midwife toad is a pioneer species, preferring a habitat with pools, hiding places and lots of sunlight Overgrowth of its habitat by succession makes populations decline The tadpoles can linger in chalk quarries and holloways with waters considered ecologically ‘bad’ 69Local flora & fauna under assault
  70. 70. Other threatened taxa in Belgium and the Netherlands Yellow-bellied toad (Bombina variegata) Critically endangered in Belgium Biotope: small-scale and extensively managed hills and loamy soils e.g. marl quarries Habitat: marshes, rivers with natural inundations and continuous displacing waters Undeep waters with a minimum of vegetation and lots of sunlight, where high temperatures may be achieved without competition of other amphibians Tractor tracks as temporarily reproduction pools are ideal 70Local flora & fauna under assault
  71. 71. Other threatened taxa in Belgium and the Netherlands European tree frog (Hyla arborea) Main threats include draining & pollution of wetlands, acidification and habitat fragmentation Beside these, use of fertilizers and pesticides, and introduction of trout in ponds account for the decline Habitat: sunlit vegetations, wooded banks, cattle ponds and forest edges, preferring the transition between water and shrubs They tend to avoid dark or thick forests, eggs need a minimum of 15° to hatch As opposed to other frogs, they don’t jump away in case of mowing: they confide on their camouflage 71Local flora & fauna under assault
  72. 72. Other threatened taxa in Belgium and the Netherlands Pine martens (Martes martes) can reduce the population of grey squirrels… …stimulating the population of native red squirrels who are better camouflaged and move less on the ground Pine martens have a broad diet consisting of small rodents, birds, beetles, carrion, eggs and berries They prefer well-wooded areas In the Netherlands they were heavily persecuted in the past Current threats include human disturbance, illegal poisoning intended to kill foxes and crows and fur trade Wildlife corridors and eco- engineering made numbers in Flevoland increase The Netherlands have a population of 350 adult animals After an absence of decades in Flanders, an injured animal was spotted in the center of Kalmthout in ’07, in September ‘11 a pine marten was seen in De Panne72Local flora & fauna under assault
  73. 73. Other threatened taxa in Belgium and the Netherlands The hazel dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius), a member of the Gliridae family, is a rare sight in Belgium On loess covered hillsides, on riverbanks, in oak forests rich in food providing trees (nuts, berries, bark, ...) Tree or shrub dweller, rarely seen on ground level, nocturnal It has low mobility, but can colonize new territory via hedgerows Hibernates, torpor during the summer months in case of food shortage The hazel dormouse has limited distribution and is endangered, has disappeared from the wild in the Netherlands 73Local flora & fauna under assault
  74. 74. Other threatened taxa in Belgium and the Netherlands The burbot (Lota lota) is the only cod-like fresh water fish Top predator preferring clear streaming water or clean, deep lakes The burbot spawns early, larvae die in temperatures over 6°C Dependant on flooding of river valleys Considered extinct in Belgium since 1970 In 1999, the Flemish government developed a reintroduction program Primary threats are declining quality of water and destruction of spawning beds Endangered but not legally protected in the Netherlands, legal protection does exist in Belgium 74Local flora & fauna under assault
  75. 75. Other threatened taxa in Belgium and the Netherlands The last known European crayfish (Astacus astacus) in Flanders was caught in Lanaken in 1945 In the Netherlands the species has been introduced in some small lakes of the Veluwe Once abundant throughout Europe, it is listed as Vulnerable (IUCN ‘11) due to the crayfish plague carried by the invasive American species signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus) 75Local flora & fauna under assault
  76. 76. Other threatened taxa in Belgium and the Netherlands The large blue (Maculinea arion) caterpillar transforms into the butterfly adult inside Myrmica sabuleti ants’ nest The large blue became extinct in the United Kingdom in 1979 due to the loss of the short turf habitat when rabbits died out during the myxomatosis crisis One out of ten species of butterflies in Europe are threatened with extinction In Flanders, the situation is even more severe: out of 64 native species 18 are lost and 2/3 is threatened or on the verge of extinction Intensive farming, global warming and tourism led to this disastrous result 76Local flora & fauna under assault
  77. 77. Bee population density levels are dangerously low Removing the sealed off drone breeding cells from the hive 2 to 3 times in May and June can reduce the infection by half The Varroa mite is a parasite that targets honey bees exclusively, first found in the Netherlands in 1983 A fertilized Varroa jacobsoni female is brought into the nest by a bee The female infects the breeding cells before they are sealed off with wax Bee larvae deform because of the presence of the mite, the drones are mainly affected The adult mite feeds on the bee’s hemolymph Creates deformities, affects vitality, introduces infectious pathogens Import of bees is prohibited, transportation can be limited77Local flora & fauna under assault
  78. 78. Severe infection can cause the death of the entire hive between August and October Graph: Dietzen Hermann (1988) Without prevention, the beekeeper will be confronted with wax moths attacking the hive, surrounded by dead bees 78Local flora & fauna under assault
  79. 79. Will global warming bring about a “beepocalypse”? Nosema ceranae and N. apis affect the bees intestinal tract While cleaning the cells, the bee picks up a spore N. apis shows accelerated germination in CO2-heavy conditions Bt-pesticides, used for maize monocultures, act synergistically with the fungal parasite Fumagilline may be effective, but the development of resistance cannot be ruled out Hive hygiene is of primary importance Use of Imidacloprid, a highly toxic insecticide to bees enhancing colony collapse disorder, should be forbidden 79Local flora & fauna under assault
  80. 80. Global threats to taxa Wellington’s solitary coral (Rhizopsammia wellingtoni ) 1 of the 3 endangered Galapagos corals Corals appear on the IUCN list for the first time (2007) Charles Darwin Research Station (Galapagos): 3 types of coral Critically Endangered 74 Galapagos sea weeds appear on IUCN Overfishing increases barnacle population, which grazes on sea weeds Marine ecosystems are under global threat because of rising temperatures Regional decline because of warmer sea water, brought about by El Niño (mass destruction in Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador and Colombia in 1982-1983) Localized decline caused by overfishing 80Biodiversity threatened
  81. 81. 81 Corals, a specialized form of mutualism between algae en corallites Porites sp., skeleton producing coral, can live for up to a 1 000 years Scleractinia (Anthozoa) are polyp-like corallites with a hardened skeleton, which creates the reef Algae (Zooxanthellae) convert sunlight to sugars, corals produce nitrogen compounds This symbiosis –and therefore reefs - can only exist in shallow, clear water Rising sea levels is a threat to coral reefs Increasing levels of CO2 acidifies oceans, reducing the coral’s ability to take up calcium and slowing their growth Eutrophication (induced by fertilizers) reduces O2 levels and suffocates algae Biodiversity threatened
  82. 82. Florida Keys reefs: a degraded biodiversity hotspot Elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata), 2006 status: Critically Endangered Molasses reef reduced by 96% between 1981 and 1986, in part caused by a 1986 Panama oil spill A survey of 105 reefs shows a decline by 44% between 1996 and 2005 The archipelago –the only tropical reef belt off the North American coast- is the 3rd largest with a diversity of 6 000 species 520 species of fish, 128 species of starfish, 63 species of stony coral Reefs become engorged with oil, lose mucus and become more susceptible to infections Solvents used by BP were more toxic than the oil itself 82Biodiversity threatened
  83. 83. Reasons for the endangerment of taxa Primary cause: loss of habitat Deforestation for the benefit of the wood industry or cattle WWF focuses on ‘flagship species’ or ‘keystone species’: used as ‘umbrella species’; what is beneficial to them, is beneficial to the entire habitat Lemurs on Madagascar Mountain gorillas in East Africa Jaguars in Neotropis Orang-utans on Borneo,... Other causes: poaching, introduction of new species, climate change Coquerel’s sifaka (Propithecus verreauxi coquereli) Below: destruction of rainforest on Madagascar for wood and livestock 83Biodiversity threatened
  84. 84. Example of endangerment through deforestation The aye-aye (Daubentonia madagscariensis) lives in the rainforests of Madagascar, but also in the drier northwest and on the islands Aye-aye, Nosy and Mangabe Occupies the same niche as the woodpecker Taps the bark of trees with its elongated middle finger and listens for edible larvae Large, overlapping territories of up to 1 km2 Male ranges overlap between 40 and 75%, and these shared spaces may be occupied by numerous individuals simultaneously The rapid loss of their natural habitat due to encroachment by humans is the main threat to this species Hunted because of their habit of eating in coconut or lychee plantations or out of superstition 84Biodiversity threatened
  85. 85. Example of endangerment through deforestation Daubentonia robusta, which was three to five times the aye-aye’s weight, once lived in the dry southwest, but has become extinct less than 1 000 years ago Identical adaptation to a diet of insects; remarkable because normally, only small mammals can live exclusively on insects Halfway through the 20th century, people thought the aye-aye had become extinct, but it was rediscovered in 1961 Distribution: broad but sparse 85Biodiversity threatened
  86. 86. Loss of habitat and populations Bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) – Bovidae, southwest USA Rams have large, curved horns Canyons, cliffs and deserts, where water is a prerequisite for survival Around 1900, total population imploded to less than 1 000; preservation restored population size Main predator is the mountain lion Populations of less than 100 tend to die out rapidly Once population becomes too small, inbreeding starts to occur To sustain a population of 1 000, large carnivores need a territory of 106 ha 86Biodiversity threatened
  87. 87. Genetic erosion Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus): low genetic variation Population susceptible to diseases, weakened physical fitness and a low fertility rate Wildt (1992) discovered a deformation of sperm cells for more than ½ of the cheetahs 20 000 cheetahs on earth are almost genetically similar Habitat fragmentation diminishes the gene pool of endangered low populations of wild plant and animal species, affecting their immune system and viability Populations of endangered species tend to be small, with inbreeding, genetic drift and a loss of heterozygosity as a consequence Nevertheless the existence of modern but expensive techniques, the best way to prevent genetic erosion is to protect their habitat and to let them live in it naturally Wildlife sanctuaries and corridors to enable endangered species to travel, meet and breed can be integrated with reintroduction and ex situ conservation 87Biodiversity threatened
  88. 88. Removal of keystone species drastically alters communities The sea otter (Enhydra lutris) once thrived among the kelp beds close to shore from Alaska to California It was hunted by European settlers for its fur, so by the end of the 19th century it was close to extinction In places where sea otters disappeared completely, an unexpected sequence of events unfolded 88Biodiversity threatened
  89. 89. Removal of keystone species drastically alters communities Distribution Enhydra lutris Population worldwide is estimated to be 108 000 IUCN 2000: Endangered Remaining populations are small and widely dispersed, causing low genetic diversity 89Biodiversity threatened
  90. 90. Removal of keystone species drastically alters communities Sea otters feed mainly on crustaceans, including sea urchins (Echinoidea) The disappearance of the sea otter caused a population explosion for the sea urchin, and because sea weed is the urchin’s staple food, it turned the seabed that once housed forests of kelp into a desolate waste 90Biodiversity threatened
  91. 91. Removal of keystone species drastically alters communities Above: seabed with kelp forest Below: seabed from which the sea otter is absent Small populations survived near the Aleutian Islands (chain of islands between the US and Russia) Part of this population was moved to the coasts of Canada and the US to restore their presence there As the sea otter population grew, the number of sea urchins decreased and kelp forests once again flourished The gray whale (Eschrichtius robostus) migrated closer to shore to protect its young from sharks and to feed on zooplankton 91Biodiversity threatened
  92. 92. Removal of keystone species drastically alters communities Distribution Eschrichtius robostus, ca. 20 000 individuals, 2 populations IUCN 2008: Critically Endangered in the northwest Pacific Sea otter population is under threat from overfishing, oil pollution and predation by Orcinus orca 92Biodiversity threatened
  93. 93. Eschrichtius robostus 93Biodiversity threatened
  94. 94. When a species becomes extinct, it’s gone for good 1 – A species is endangered when it has a large area of distribution, but is sparsely dispersed Bachman’s warbler (Verminora bachmanii) is the rarest bird indigenous to the US (Alabama, South-Carolina) It winters on Cuba and occasionally on Isla de la Juventud Area suited for wintering becomes scarce due to deforestation in favour of sugar cane plantations and, upon its return, the male risks not being noticed by females Habitat: forested swamp valleys, preferably rich in river cane (Arundinaria gigantea) 94Biodiversity threatened
  95. 95. When a species becomes extinct, it’s gone for good River cane also known as ‘switch cane’, at one time covered an area from Virginia to Florida and western Texas Canebrakes were once a common feature of the landscape in the southeastern United States, but today it is an endangered ecosystem The cutting down of its habitat and the draining of swamps are the mean threats facing the Bachman’s warbler Last sightings: South-Carolina (1988), Cuba (2002) Below: Congaree National Park (South-Carolina), possibly one of the last place of refuge for this species 95Biodiversity threatened
  96. 96. When a species becomes extinct, it’s gone for good 2 – A species is endangered when it consist of a few dense populations, living in a small area of distribution Kirtland’s warbler (Dendroica kirtlandii), southern Michigan peninsula, requires large areas, densely forested with young Pinus banksiana Between 1961 and 1971, the population fell to 400 birds, in part due to brood parasitism by the brown-headed cowbird (Molothrus ater) 96Biodiversity threatened
  97. 97. When a species becomes extinct, it’s gone for good Research suggests the cowbird exhibits mobster-like behaviour They will monitor the nest and destroy it if their egg is not present This makes warblers less inclined to remove the egg, an action for which they are physically underequipped to begin with Originally, the species followed the trek of the bison, but contrary to the bison, the bird adapted successfully to life in open spaces, after the forests east of the prairie had been cut down Their reproductive niche complements their nomadic lifestyle 97Biodiversity threatened
  98. 98. Brown-headed cowbirds following grazing bisons 98Biodiversity threatened
  99. 99. When a species becomes extinct, it’s gone for good 3 – A species is endangered when it exists in large populations, distributed over large areas, but has become highly specialized to occupy a rare niche The red-cockaded woodpecker (Picoides borealis) can only claim 1% of its original territory, which consists of pine forests that are at least 80 years old To nest, they hollow out cavities in living, mature longleaf pines (Pinus palustris) Offspring aids the breeding pair in protecting their young, creating a group that requires an area of ca. 86 ha 99Biodiversity threatened
  100. 100. Predicted to become extinct?... Hibiscadelphus distans is an endemic of Kaua’i, Hawaii In the Lower Koai’e Canyon rest two existing populations of 20 wild and 150 introduced trees Despite the extreme rarity of H. distans, it is the biggest population of the genus, of which four of the six species are extinct or are extinct in nature H. woodii e.g. with four trees observed on Kaua’i is even closer to elemination 100Biodiversity threatened
  101. 101. Hibiscadelphus woodii in bloom 101Biodiversity threatened
  102. 102. Predicted to become extinct?... The Socorro sowbug (Thermosphaeroma thermophilum) is an aquatic crustacean that has lost its natural habitat and survives in an abandoned bathhouse in New Mexico The relict population took this refugium after the well where the sowbugs lived was shut down in 1970 Genetic and physiologic divergention demonstrates apart from the possible speed of evolution an extra threat if the species has to survive in the wild again 102Biodiversity threatened
  103. 103. Lost?.... Spix’s macaw (Cyanopsitta spixii) is limited to palm groves and river-edge woodland across southern Pará, Brazil Poaching by bird fanciers, paying up to 40 000 $ for a single bird, has driven the Spix’s macaw to a population of four birds left in the wild The decline was hastened by imported Africanized bees, whose colonies occupy the tree holes favored by the macaw By late ‘90 only one single male was left in the wild, according Tony Juniper of the International Council for Bird Preservation, ‘being desperate to breed’ 103Biodiversity threatened
  104. 104. Biodiversity in danger during the past Moa-nalo is a general term for all extinct flightless goose-like ducks The proof of their existence is hidden in the sinkholes of the Ewa Plain caves, where they were imprisoned and died Polynesians colonized the Pacific islands from Tonga to Hawaii from 8000 BC on They subsisted on crops and domestic animals carried in their canoes To complete their diet, the voyagers ate their way through the endemic fauna When European settlers arrived after Captain Cook’s visit in 1778, there were 50 native species of landbirds in Hawaii Bone deposits show that another 35 species had already been extinguished by the native Hawaiians 104Biodiversity threatened
  105. 105. Biodiversity in danger during the past Simulation of the hunting for Dinornis giganteus Before the Maoris arrived in New Zealand around 1300, it was home to 11 species of moas (Emeidae and Dinornithidae), the largest weighing 230 kg In a period of ± 150 years all of them have become extinct They had undergone a radiation filling many niches, seen the lack of moderate and big mammals On South Island, the deposits are piled with moa bones dating from 1100 to 1300 105Biodiversity threatened
  106. 106. Biodiversity in danger during the past Haast’s eagle (Harpagornis moorei), twice as large as a golden eagle, was the only natural enemy of the moas The largest eagle known to have ever existed became extinct in ± 1400 when its major food sources, the moas, were hunted to extinction by humans and much of its dense forest habitat was cleared 106Biodiversity threatened
  107. 107. Biodiversity in danger during the past Fully isolated for 70 million years, Madagascar was the theater for a biological tragedy like New Zealand’s The Indonesian Malagache pioneers, extinguished from 500 to 1000 the seven species of elephant birds (Aepyornithidae), including A. maximus, the world’s largest bird Also erased were seven of the seventeen genera of lemurs 107Biodiversity threatened
  108. 108. Biodiversity in danger during the past Quaternary (2,6 million year BC- 0) extinctions, beside being caused by the ice ages, appear to have occurred where naive animals encountered humans Paleo-Indians throughout America, Dutch sailors on Mauritius –to meet and extirpate the dodo -, Polynesians across the Pacific were constrained by neither knowledge of endemicity nor any ethic of conservation The hunters were selective in their choice of taxa, with a concentration on large mammals and flightless birds They ignored other species e.g. small rodents ‘Human hunters help no species’ Edward O. Wilson in ‘The Diversity Of Life’, 1992 108Biodiversity threatened
  109. 109. Narrow habitats, extensive specialization and limited dispersal may put species at risk Freshwater and land molluscs are vulnerable to extirpation because they are specialized for life in narrow habitats As a result of a miniature adaptive radiation, the fungus grazing tree snail genus Achatinella is endangered by introduction of the carnivorous Euglandina sp.,… … loss of habitat, predation by rats and through human collection Moorean endemic tree snail species are exterminated since 1987, on Tahiti the same sequence is now unfolding Achatinella sowerbyana, Euglandina rosea 109Biodiversity threatened
  110. 110. The critical predicament of biodiversity is epitomized by Banara vanderbiltii 250 of the 20 000 plant species known in the US are extinct, another 680 are in danger of extinction (2000) About ¾ of these occur in only five places: California, Florida, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Texas In 1986 the population of Banara vanderbiltii was down to two plants growing on a farm near Bayamon (Puerto Rico) Cuttings were obtained and are now successfully growing in the Fairchild Tropical Garden, Miami 110Biodiversity threatened
  111. 111. Fungi in the midst of a mass extinction Inventarisations in Germany, Austria and the Netherlands have revealed a 40 to 50% loss in species during the past 60 years The main cause of this decline appears to be air pollution Many of the vanished species are mycorrhizal fungi, enhancing absorption of nutrients by the roots of plants Ecologists wonder what would happen to land ecosystems without fungi, and we will soon find out Russula rubra, extinct in Belgium in 1949 111Biodiversity threatened
  112. 112. Rifle shots and holocausts Large, conspicuous organisms receive the greater part of man’s malign attention rather than sowbugs and spiders Conservationists now recognize the difference between rifle shots or the extinction of one species and holocausts, the destruction of the entire ecosystem The Javan rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondaicus) cannot be saved if the remnant woodland in which they live is cleared The biggest players in a community are the ‘keystonespecies’, serving as umbrellas for all life around them 112Main biodiversity hotspots
  113. 113. Rifle shots and holocausts Even the most optimistic estimate suggests there are approximately 40 Javan rhinos in the wild on Java Deforestation, Agent Orange and particularly the trade in horns for traditional Chinese medicine, fetching a price 30 000 $/kg, brought the population on the brink of extinction Once widespread from Java and Sumatra to China and India The Javan rhinoceros’ range has been shrinking for at least three millennia to an area of 300 km2, insufficient to restrict inbreeding 113Main biodiversity hotspots
  114. 114. Ecosystems deserving immediate attention Usambara Mountain forests, Tanzania Birds include the green headed oriole (Oriolus chlorocephalus), one of the species of the Amani Forest Nature Reserve The total area is about 836 km2, of which 450 km2 is covered with forest With more than 2000 plant species of which about 25% are endemic and with 140 endemic tree species, Amani has been declared as one of the 25 biodiversity hotspots Overpopulation, poverty, invasive vegetation, deforestation and soil erosion are the main threats 114Main biodiversity hotspots
  115. 115. Ecosystems deserving immediate attention The long-billed forest warbler (Orthotomus moreaui), is an endemic songbird living in the Amani Forest Nature Reserve Endangered, threatened by loss of montane forests 115Main biodiversity hotspots
  116. 116. San Bruno Mountain, California Scientists said San Francisco is notorious in international lepidopterist circles for its long list of disappearing butterflies Of the 54 species that lived in San Francisco around 1900, only 34 remain The San Bruno elfin butterfly (Callophrys mossii bayensis) with its typical lycaenid interaction with ants, is restricted to a few small populations Host plant: Sedum spathulifolium Native fauna and flora is diminished by off- road vehicles, quarrying and invasive Eucalyptus species, gorse (Ulex europaeus),… 116Main biodiversity hotspots
  117. 117. Oases of the Dead Sea Depression, Israel and Jordan These humid refuges in a desert area, called ghors, are isolated tropical ecosystems sustained by freshwater springs True pockets of an ancient flora and fauna restricted to the vicinity of ghors or even to a single spring, are joined by species that flourish thousands of kilometers to the south The springs are populated with endemic Cichlidae, the banks with e.g. weaver ants (Oecophylla sp.) and the surrounding rocks with a.o. the Nubian ibex (Capra nubiana), from which the wild population is estimated at ± 1 200 animals (IUCN 2008) 117Main biodiversity hotspots
  118. 118. Oases of the Dead Sea Depression, Israel and Jordan The Nubian nightjar (Caprimulgus nubicus), found from Kenya to Oman, has places for brooding in the oases The oases are threatened by overgrazing, expansion of a quarry and commercial development 118Main biodiversity hotspots
  119. 119. California floristic province This Mediterranean-climate domain, stretching from Oregon to Baja California and recognized by botanists as a separate evolutionary center, contains ¼ of all plant species of the US The hotspot is home to the giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) and holds some of the last individuals of the Critically Endangered California condor (Gymnogyps californianus), here with common raven escort Wilderness destruction is caused by commercial farming, pollution and road construction 119Main biodiversity hotspots
  120. 120. Slash & burn in Madagascar The most basic need for the Malagasy - putting food on the table - far exceeds that of biodiversity and forest conservation One has only to fly over the coast or sail along the shore to see how the red soil of Madagascar is washing into the sea 30 primates, all lemurs; reptiles and frogs (as sole amphibians) that are 90% endemic illustrate the unique richness of nature 2/3 of all chameleons of the world live on the island 120Main biodiversity hotspots
  121. 121. Slash & burn in Madagascar 80% of the 10 000 plant species is endemic Since the military coup by the current leader Rajoelina (2009), forest conservation efforts in Madagascar have been reversed and illegal logging has grown into a major revenue Former President Ravalomanana protected forests and promoted sustainable agriculture Brookesia minima, world’s smallest chameleon 121Main biodiversity hotspots
  122. 122. Slash & burn in Madagascar Adansonia is a genus of eight species of trees, six native to Madagascar, one native to mainland Africa and one to Australia The six Malagasy species are on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species Adansonia madagascariensis - Madagascar baobab They are pollinated by a diverse fauna of lemurs, moths, bats and in Africa by e.g. galagos species (Galagidae) The fruits contain more vitamin C than oranges 122Main biodiversity hotspots
  123. 123. Grandidier's Baobab (Adansonia grandidieri) 123Main biodiversity hotspots
  124. 124. The fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox) is the island's largest surviving endemic terrestrial mammal Fossas are particularly vulnerable to extinction by forest fragmentation, dwindling lemur populations and the persecution by farmers to protect their poultry IUCN 2008: Vulnerable, over the course of the last 21 years, there has been a population reduction exceeding 30%, with a current population size of less than 2 500 animals (Hawkins and Racey 2005) and ±400 breeding adults 124Main biodiversity hotspots
  125. 125. Lower slopes of the Himalayas Lush mountain forests encircle the southern and eastern edges of the Himalayas The fauna and flora is a complex mixture of tropical species of southern origin and temperate species from the north The succession of deep valleys and sharp ridges divides the fauna and flora into large local assemblages, displaying for example 9 000 plant species of which 40% are limited to the region Red panda (Ailurus fulgens), Vulnerable, less than 10 000 individuals face the risk of inbreeding (Nepal to China) 125Main biodiversity hotspots
  126. 126. Lower slopes of the Himalayas Snow leopards (Uncia uncia) occupy alpine and subalpine areas generally 3 350 and 6 700 meters above sea level in Central Asia Snow leopards have stocky bodies, long thick fur, small and rounded ears as adaptations to cold mountainous environments Considerable predation of domestic livestock occurs which brings this opportunist, first described in 1775 into direct conflict with humans Home range varies with density of prey (12 – 1000 km2) Wild population maximum 6 500 Densely populated regions put pressure on the virgin woods, down by 2/3 through logging,… 126Main biodiversity hotspots
  127. 127. Western Ghats, India These moist, deciduous forests and montane rain forests have a unique floral composition Former is the habitat of teak (Tectona grandis), a lot of which were illegally and extensively cut in the 20th century The latter are dominated by evergreen forests characterized by trees of the Lauraceae a.o. Litsea oleoides (Kerala, Tamil Nadu) 18 endemic species of this genus thrive in the Ghats, of which three have a very limited range The family, with many relic species, has its origin in the coastal laurel forests of Gondwana 127Main biodiversity hotspots
  128. 128. Western Ghats, India The potential for dam developments to inundate vast areas of its habitat also means that the status of the purple frog is extremely precarious The purple frog (Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis) is the sole representative of an ancient lineage of frogs that has been evolving independently for over 130 million years after the break up of Gondwana The purple frog is described as a ‘living fossil,’ closest relatives being four tiny frog species found in the Seychelles in the Sooglossidae family Formally discovered in 2003, the purple frog spends most of the year underground, surfacing only to mate during the monsoon The purple frog is thought to be a rare species, although it is hard to find Known from only 135 individuals, of which only three are female128Main biodiversity hotspots
  129. 129. Western Ghats, India The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is home to the biggest population of the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) It is also an important refuge for tigers More than 6 000 Asian elephants roam in the Western Ghats of Karnataka (2004) About a third of the cover of the Ghats is gone already, the remainder is disappearing by 2-3% a year, fragmented due to clear felling for coffee, tea, teak, cardamom and ginger 129Main biodiversity hotspots
  130. 130. Central Chile This Mediterranean vegetation is characterized by a high degree of endemism through its geographic isolation Chile is separated from the rest of the continent by the high mountain range of the Andes along its length, dry deserts in the north and frozen ice-fields in the Patagonian south The flora of Central Chile contains 3 000 plant species, half of the entire Chilean flora, crowded into 6% of the national territory The surviving cover is only 1/3 of the original and is located in the most densely populated part Puya alpestris, Bromeliaceae 130Main biodiversity hotspots
  131. 131. Central Chile In earlier times the Chilean palm (Jubaea chilensis) was to be found throughout Central Chile, but it is almost extinct due to the destructive extraction process of its sap The sap from the trunk produces a fermented beverage, collecting it requires felling the tree, restricting this forest type to some valleys in La Campana and Las Palmas de Cocalan 131Main biodiversity hotspots
  132. 132. Central Chile The high mountain lizard (Phymaturus palluma) inhabits montane grasslands with elevations up to 3 000 m and exhibits a thermoregulation of darkening to absorb more heat Central Chile and West Argentina, herbivorous, viviparous 132Main biodiversity hotspots
  133. 133. The Colombian Chocó In the core of the Chocó the Pangan Nature Reserve encompasses 12 000 acres of super-wet tropical rain forest Unexplored for the most part, as many as 10 000 plant species grow here, of which ¼ are estimated to be endemic Keystone species include the spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus), the only bear species native to South America, the threatened banded ground cuckoo (Neomorphus radiolosus) and baudó guan (Penelope ortoni) Populations of baudó guan are extremely sensitive to selective logging, hunting for gold, oil palm and illegal coca plantations 133Main biodiversity hotspots
  134. 134. The Colombian Chocó Baudó guan, blue poison dart frog (Dendrobates azureus), the latter found only in the Pangan Nature Reserve, as example of an organism with aposematic coloration to warn predators for its toxic alkaloid secretions Since the early ’70s, the Chocó has been relentlessly invaded by timber companies and, to a lesser extent, by poor Colombians searching for land The forests are already down to ¾ of their original cover and are still being destroyed at an accelerating rate 134Main biodiversity hotspots
  135. 135. The Colombian Chocó Jaguar (Panthera onca), IUCN 2008 Near Threatened 135Main biodiversity hotspots
  136. 136. Western Ecuador Wilson, The Diversity Of Life, 1992 In 1978 Gentry & Dodson documented 90 plant species unique to the Centinela ridge in Ecuador The cloud forests in which they grow are ecological islands surrounded by lowland rain forests and closed off by the treeless paramos Among the plants, mainly epiphytes and orchids, were 38 endemic species, many of which were unusually dark-leafed By 1986, the botanical oasis was cleared: 96% of the forests on the Pacific side have made space for agriculture A few of the endemic plants have persisted in the shade of cacao trees Wilson refers to similar extinctions around the world as ‘centinelan extinctions’, Janzen speaks of ‘living dead’ 136Main biodiversity hotspots
  137. 137. Western Ecuador South of Centinela, the Rio Palenque Science Center a.o. collaborates in protection and research of less than one km2 forest remnants There are 1 200 plant species in this area, ¼ of them endemic to western Ecuador In 1993, Dodson & Gentry identified 650 bird species, by which the degree of endemism is among the highest in the world The Global Trees Campaign is working on reforesting 40 hectares of the Awacachi Corridor with native trees and raising awareness in local communities to conserve the area Planting the endemic Carapa megistocarpa (Endangered IUCN 2011) 137Main biodiversity hotspots
  138. 138. Western Ecuador The harpy eagle (Harpia harpyja), a former inhabitant of the canopy layer of the Centinela ridge and Rio Palenque Americas most powerful raptor can be seen in lowland rain forests, but is rare throughout its range 138Main biodiversity hotspots
  139. 139. Uplands of western Amazonia Tertiary alluvial uplands of evergreen rain forests engirdle the Putamayo (Colombia, Peru), the Caquetá (Colombia), the Amazone and the Napo river (Peru) Common tree species of the upper canopy are the kapok tree (Ceiba pentandra), Terminalia amazonia, Cedrelinga catenaeformis, Carapa guianensis and the rubber tree (Hevea guianensis), forming the scenery of primates e.g. the equatorial saki (Pithecia aequatorialis), marmosets (Callithrix sp.), jaguars, bats e.g. the southern little yellow-eared bat (Vampyressa pusilla), three species of anteaters, manatees (Trichechus sp.) and tapirs (Tapirus terrestris) nearby or in the rivers 139Main biodiversity hotspots
  140. 140. Uplands of western Amazonia Tapirus terrestris, Vampyressa pusilla 500 species of birds populate the Amacayacu National Park e.g. the pavovine quetzal (Pharomachrus pavoninus), the golden-winged tody-flycatcher (Todirostrum calopterum) and the endemic ochre-striped antpitta (Grallaria dignissima) Reptiles are represented by e.g. the Arrau turtle (Podocnemis expansa)- the largest fresh water turtle-, the spectacled caiman (Caiman crocodylus) and the green anaconda (Eunectes murinus) The Tarapoto’s lake is renowned for its pink dolphin’s community (Inia geoffrensis) 140Main biodiversity hotspots
  141. 141. Uplands of western Amazonia Pavovine quetzal (Pharomachrus pavoninus) Melanine organized in platelets renders the males a striking iridescent coloration 141Main biodiversity hotspots
  142. 142. Uplands of western Amazonia The diminutive pygmy marmoset (Callithrix pygmaea) is the smallest monkey in the world, weighing only 120 g Female pygmy marmosets are slightly heavier than males They can produce a variety of vocalisations, including a sharp warning whistle and a clicking sound to indicate threat 142Main biodiversity hotspots
  143. 143. Uplands of western Amazonia Inia geoffrensis The Amazon Pink river dolphin is on the verge of extinction in the Amazon river basin Pollution from agriculture, heavy metals from industry and mining, as well as hydroelectric dams are to blame 143Main biodiversity hotspots
  144. 144. Uplands of western Amazonia A large part of the ecoregion is intact, but still vulnerable to advancing palm oil and coca plantations, logging, mining and cattle-raising 1/3 is under jurisdiction of indigenous communities, mainly between the Putamayo and Caquetá basins Settlement of Yagua, northeast Peru 144Main biodiversity hotspots
  145. 145. Atlantic coast of Brazil A unique rain forest once reaching from Recife to Florianópolis has been reduced to less than 5% during the 20th century NGOs are huge benefactors in Brazil, a strategy being implemented to maintain biodiversity is creating wildlife corridors The tropical forest, tropical savanna and mangrove are blessed with high endemism: 40% of the vascular plants, 60% of the vertebrates are found nowhere else in the world Over 11 000 species of plants and animals are threatened, new species are continuously being found 145Main biodiversity hotspots
  146. 146. Atlantic coast of Brazil In 1990 researchers discovered a new tamarin, the black-faced lion tamarin (Leontopithecus caissara) In 2006, a new species of blond capucin (Cebus queirozi), was discovered in norteastern Brazil Dwindling Bahia coastal forests threaten another species namely the maned sloth (Bradypus torquatus) Almost 88% of the original forest habitat has been lost and is replaced by pastures, croplands and urban areas serving a population of 130 million people Human activity makes the Atlantic forest more susceptible to fires, to which it is not accustomed 146Main biodiversity hotspots
  147. 147. Atlantic coast of Brazil Maned sloth, endemic to the Bahia coastal forests Maned sloths are folivores, and feed exclusively on tree and liana leaves, especially Cecropia sp. 147Main biodiversity hotspots
  148. 148. Southwestern Ivory Coast Ivory Coast has the highest level of biodiversity in West Africa, with over 1200 animal and 4700 plant species Most of this diversity occurs in the rugged interior region Like the rest of West Africa, Ivory Coast has suffered severe deforestation, with less than 2% of primary forest remaining in ‘05 Prior to the outbreak of war, 17% of the country was set aside in protected areas and measures were taken against illegal logging, poaching, and settler encroachment Zebra duiker (Cephalophus zebra), Population estimated at 28 000, ‘99 Common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) Population ± 50 000 Nigeria to Guinea 148Main biodiversity hotspots
  149. 149. Southwestern Ivory Coast Limba, Afara or Korina (Terminalia superba), emergent tree in mature tropical forest, deciduous during a short dry period The bark is used by the Kroumen for the treatment of malaria Taï National Park (4 520 km2) is Ivory Coast’s last tropical evergreen forest once roaming 160 000 km2 and a natural reservoir of Ebola The traditional knowledge of indigenous communities (Bakoué, Kroumen) is an attic of genetic potential not yet explored by natural science and medicine 149Main biodiversity hotspots
  150. 150. Fynbos, South Africa Fynbos is the smallest but richest per area unit of the world’s six floral kingdoms Known for its exceptional degree of biodiversity, 8 600 plant species can be found of which 6 200 are endemic The flora is composed of evergreen sclerophyllous plants including Ericaceae, Proteaceae and Restionaceae 30% of plants in the Fynbos produce seeds with an elaiosome which attract ants carrying the seeds into their burrows and protecting them from common fires 150 Namaqua rock rat (Aethomys namaquensis) pollinating patentleaf sugarbush (Protea humiflora) Southern double-collared sunbird (Cinnyris chalybeus), Kniphofia uvariaMain biodiversity hotspots
  151. 151. Fynbos, South Africa Threats to the 71 000 km2 fynbos are the spread of alien species e.g. Acacia sp., agriculture and global warming A 51% to 65% loss of the area extent of the fynbos is predicted, depending on the climate scenario used Fynbos cannot support herds of large mammals since the nutrient poor soils on which it grows do not provide enough nitrogen for the protein that large mammals require Smaller mammals common to fynbos are chacma baboons (Papio ursinis), supporting diversity by seed dispersal, and dassies (Procavia capensis) Mountain pride (Aeropetes tulbaghia) passionate for red visits Disa uniflora 151Main biodiversity hotspots
  152. 152. Fynbos, South Africa Chacma baboons (Wildcliff Nature Reserve) utilize visual signals - such as staring as threat behaviour, canine tooth display and lip smacking -, gestures, vocalizations and tactile communication 152 Main biodiversity hotspots
  153. 153. Sri Lanka The forest cover has been reduced to slightly less than 10% of its original area, much of the primary forest is being limited to a 56 km2 tract within the Sinhajara Forest Sri Lankan elephants (Elephas maximus maximus), - population 2 000 - and Sri Lankan leopards (Panthera pardus kotiya), both listed as Endangered by IUCN, once enjoyed a distribution from sea level to the highest mountain ranges 153Main biodiversity hotspots
  154. 154. Sri Lanka The Sinharaja Forest, a 112 km2 remnant of primary forest has been designated as Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site (1989) Of Sri Lanka's 26 endemic birds, the 20 rain forest species all occur here, e.g. the elusive red-faced malkoha (Phaenicophaeus pyrrhocephalus), Cuculidae (VU, IUCN ‘07) Unusual among agamid lizards, the rarely observed whistling lizard (Calotes liolepis) utters a high-pitched whistle when alarmed The endemic Shorea trapezifolia, Critically Endangered (IUCN 2011), is one of most dominant canopy trees in the protected area at Sinharaja 154Main biodiversity hotspots
  155. 155. Sri Lanka As many Dipterocarpaceae, Shorea trapezifolia is a large forest emergent species, found in fragments of lowland and sometimes highland wet evergreen forest, usually on deep soils Most of the habitat has been converted into plantations Sri Lanka has a diversity of 257 endemic dipterocarps 155Main biodiversity hotspots
  156. 156. Peninsular Malaysia The Peninsular Malaysian Rain Forests ecoregion is the biggest in the Indo- Pacific, behind the Borneo Lowland Rain Forests These majestic forests are dominated by dipterocarps, with wide-ranging top carnivores e.g. Malayan tigers (Felis tigris jacksoni), herbivores e.g. Sumatran rhinoceros (Didermocerus sumatrensis),… Less than 300 Sumatran rhinos and 500 Malayan tigers remain in the wild Giant honey bees (Apis dorsata), never domesticated, protect 90m reaching Tualang trees (Koompassia excelsa) from loggers, since the value of honey is greater than that of the timber 156Main biodiversity hotspots
  157. 157. Peninsular Malaysia Colony of the giant honey bee, aggressive when disturbed, in a Tualang tree These 30 000 bees provide 450 kg honey a year, granting the tree a taboo against felling 157Main biodiversity hotspots
  158. 158. Peninsular Malaysia The Sumatran rhinoceros is the smallest of all rhinos Around 75 may live in Peninsular Malaysia, the community of Taman Negara (2 770 km2) being the largest The Kerinci Seblat National Park, Sumatras largest, was estimated to contain a population of around 500 rhinos in the 80s, but due to poaching this population is now considered extinct Production of palm oil is the chief cause of logging lowland forests 158Main biodiversity hotspots
  159. 159. Peninsular Malaysia The sun beer (Ursus malayanus), generally nocturnal, but also seen during the day is the smallest of the eight living bear species Its fondness for honey gives rise to its alternative name ‘honey bear’ Much of the sun bear's food must be detected using its keen sense of smell, as its sight is poor VU IUCN ’07, poached for their bile used in Chinese medicine 159Main biodiversity hotspots
  160. 160. Borneo The world’s oldest rain forest in northwestern Borneo is under constant threat from unsustainable logging practices The seven ecoregions have a diversity of about 15 000 plant species and are an important refuge for many endemic species as Orangutans (Pongo sp.) eating fruits in dipterocarp trees, the Sunda clouded leopard (Neofelis diardi), the rare bay cat (Pardofelis badia – IUCN ‘11 EN), Elephas maximus borneensis,… Trees comprise 267 species of dipterocarps, holding the greatest insect diversity on Borneo - as many as 1 000 species have been found in just one tree 160Main biodiversity hotspots
  161. 161. Borneo A projection towards 2020 reveals that 2/3 of the pristine forests which inspired famous scientists as Wallace will be under constant threat from palm oil plantations and tropical timber acquisition The rain forest was greatly destroyed from the fires of 1997 to 1998, which were started by the locals to clear the forests for crops and perpetuated by an exceptionally dry El Niño season during that period Borneo pygmy elephant (Elephas maximus borneensis) 161Main biodiversity hotspots
  162. 162. Borneo Thick smoke covering southern Borneo in ‘09, image Nasa Terra The destruction of rain forest and peatlands during the 1997-1998 El Niño released more than 2 billion tons of CO2 in the atmosphere In ‘09 Indonesia revealed plans to convert millions of hectares of peatland across Kalimantan, Sumatra and Papua, despite warnings from environmentalists 162Main biodiversity hotspots
  163. 163. The Philippines The Philippine Biodiversity Expedition 2011 studied Luzon island for 42 days and discovered 300 new species in reefs and tropical forests 2 517 out of 8 613 species assessed by IUCN and 17 291 species in Southeast Asia alone, are on the edge of extinction if no action is taken to combat biodiversity loss Fragmented into 7 100 islands in a pattern that promotes speciation, the Philippines have evolved an immense endemic flora and fauna The tamaraw (Bubalus mindorensis) IUCN ‘11 Critically Endangered ‘We are at the center of biodiversity loss’ ACB (ASEAN Center for Biodiversity) Executive Director Rodrigo Fuentes 2010 163Main biodiversity hotspots
  164. 164. The Philippines In the past 50 years, 2/3 of the forest has been cleared, including all but 8 000 km2 of the original lowland cover Rafflesia lobata, belonging to the genus of which the dramatic flowers are the largest single flowers in the world (Ø = 20 - 90 cm), can be found in the country's mountainous regions Rafflesia is a parasite, host plants are vines of Tetrastigma spp. Discovered in the Central Panay mountain range in ‘06, Rafflesia lobata is inherently rare because of a double habitat specialization 164Main biodiversity hotspots
  165. 165. The Philippines Philippine flying lemur (Cynocephalus volans), is one of two species of flying lemurs The membrane between tail and forelimbs helps this arboreal lemur to glide distances of 100 meters or more Despite the destruction of lowland forests and hunting, IUCN downlisted it to Least Concern in 2008 165Main biodiversity hotspots
  166. 166. The Philippines The primary prey for the Philippine eagles (Pithecophaga jefferyi) are monkeys, birds, flying foxes and Philippine flying lemurs In 2010, the IUCN listed this species as Critically Endangered, less than 500 birds survive in the Philippines, exposure to pesticides that affect breeding being a major threat In recent years protected lands have been established specifically for this species 166Main biodiversity hotspots
  167. 167. New Caledonia Tropical melting pot of species, e.g. the kagu (Rhynochetos jubatus), endemic to forests and shrubland of New Caledonia Introduction of dogs, … reduced the population of this flightless bird to less than 1 000 in 2009 New Caledonia lacked mammals prior to the arrival of humans, except for Chiroptera (bats) The loss of much of New Caledonia's native forests and the settlement of Europeans who brought with them cats, dogs, rats and pigs are the two major causes of decline 167Main biodiversity hotspots
  168. 168. New Caledonia Cyathea intermedia in habitat, the tallest endemic fern-tree in New Caledonia The forests of New Caledonia hold 1 575 species of plants, of which an astonishing 89 % are endemic The ecoregion covers an area of 14 600 km2 Less than 1 500 km2 or 9% of undisturbed forests survive 168Main biodiversity hotspots
  169. 169. New Caledonia The coral reef araucaria (Araucaria columnaris) is an endemic conifer, showing maximum growth and abundance in its native habitat at the edge of the sea, forming dense populations on cliffs and reefs exposed to the prevailing wind 169Main biodiversity hotspots
  170. 170. New Caledonia The gargoyle gecko (Rhacodactylus auriculatus), appraised as a pet, is a nocturnal and mainly arboreal animal with long limbs and toes with well-developed lamellae, assisting in climbing Gargoyle geckos are considered medium to large sized geckos reaching an average size of 40 cm The goliath imperial pigeon (Ducula goliath), another colorful inhabitant dwelling in the undisturbed New Caledonian rain forests, is one of the many endemic pigeons and also the largest – see next slide IUCN 2008 Near Threatened owing to increased hunting 170Main biodiversity hotspots
  171. 171. New Caledonia 171 The goliath imperial pigeon hunted as a game bird by most of the tribes during traditional feasts Main biodiversity hotspots
  172. 172. Southwestern Australia The Nullarbor Plains xeric shrubland is one of the ecoregions where WWF pursues ecoregion conservation, a broad-scale approach to implement a comprehensive strategy conserving species, habitats and ecological processes It is the world's largest single piece of limestone (200 000 km2), characterized by a flora of e.g. marble gum (Eucaluptus gongylocarpa) in the north, western myall (Acacia papyrocarpa) and saltbush (Atriplex sp.) in the south Woma python (Aspidites ramsayi), classified as Endangered (IUCN 2011), found in northern South Australia 172Main biodiversity hotspots
  173. 173. Southwestern Australia Marble Gum with Spinifex grasses as the understory Frequent wildfires, mining operations, feral predators and herbivores and widespread expansion of the Mediterranean Ward’s weed (Carrichtera annua) after an accidental introduction have substantially modified habitats over extensive areas of both subregions and caused numerous extinctions of indigenous mammals 173Main biodiversity hotspots
  174. 174. Southwestern Australia Male southern hairy-nosed wombats (Lasiorhinus latifrons) mark their grazing area and warren refuges with scent secretions Rabbits compete with wombats for forage, stimulating annual grass species becoming the dominant species, which are insufficient for the wombat’s metabolic needs On the Nullarbor Plain it is abundant, but drought may affect the young in this harsh environment The largest population lives nearby hole n°4 of the Nullarbor Links, world's longest golf course 174Main biodiversity hotspots
  175. 175. The Mediterranean Basin The sclerophyllus shrublands, stretching west to east from Portugal to Jordan and north to south from Italy to Morocco, support 22 500 endemic plant species, 4 times the number found elsewhere in Europe Being a tourist destination, populations of threatened species are increasingly fragmented; hardly 100 000 km2 of vegetation out of 2 000 000 km2 hotspot extent is untouched The largest population of the Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) is estimated at 60 to 110 adults in the Sierra Morena 175Main biodiversity hotspots
  176. 176. The Mediterranean Basin Distribution Lynx pardinus, 1990 and 2003 The Iberian lynx prefers environments of open grassland with juniper (Juniperus sp.), mastic (Pistacia lentiscus) and relict populations of strawberry trees (Arbutus unedo) Its habitat loss is due mainly to infrastructure improvement, urban and resort development and tree monoculture (Pinus sp., Eucalyptus sp., Pseudotsuga sp.) In addition, the lynx’s prey population of rabbits is declining due to diseases such as myxomatosis and hemorrhagic pneumonia If the Iberian lynx were to become extinct, it would be the first big cat species to do so since Smilodon populator 10 000 years ago 176Main biodiversity hotspots
  177. 177. The Mediterranean Basin Strawberry trees have a preference for lime soils Widespread in the Mediterranean region, image: Jordan 177Main biodiversity hotspots
  178. 178. Survey of the most important biodiversity hotspots These vulnerable ecosystems of great value have lost at least 70% of their primary vegetation This, and containing at least 0.5% or 1 500 species of endemic vascular plants, is next to one of the criteria also a topic of critique On the other hand, regions that are relatively intact (e.g. the Amazon Basin) have experienced relatively little land loss, but are currently losing habitat at a tremendous rate 178Main biodiversity hotspots
  179. 179. The list is not closed… The rain forests of Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, Liberia, Queensland, Hawaii, the Great Lakes of East Africa, lake Baikal and virtually every drainage system in the world near heavily populated regions (Ganges, Tennessee, Amazone,…) can be added to this list The keel-billed toucan (Ramphastos sulfuratus), Belize’s national bird, uses holes that woodpeckers have made and tree hollows in tropical forests from South-Mexico to Venezuela In ’98 -a strong el Niño year- fires destroyed over 1,5 million acres, while every year in Mexico close to a million acres of rain forests disappear for fuel wood collection, agriculture and Chiapas conflicts 179 Main biodiversity hotspots
  180. 180. The list is not closed… The Xingu River will be forever changed by the construction of a monster dam, the Belo Monte Up to 80% of the Xingu River will be diverted from its original course, causing a permanent drought on the river's 100 kilometer long ‘Big Bend’ if the scenario is not reviewed The area either dried out or drowned by the dam spans the entire known world distribution of a number of species e.g. the plant-eating piranha (Ossubtus xinguense) and the Xingu poison dart frog (Allobates crombiei) During its first 10 years, the Belo Monte-dam complex would emit 11,2 million metric tons of CO2 and surplus amounts of CH4, due to decomposing vegetation and anaerobic decay The project will trigger an increase in population, uncontrolled land occupation, illegal logging and cattle ranching 180Main biodiversity hotspots
  181. 181. The list is not closed… Kayapó warriors performing a traditional fishing practice During the 6-month-long low-waterseason on the Xingu, the costly dam would generate as little as 1 000 MW of electricity In all probability, the rain forests in this region would not survive, 400 km2 will be flooded and ± 50 000 people would be forcibly displaced 181Main biodiversity hotspots
  182. 182. The list is not closed The dams would flood 14 000 acres, disfiguring the otter’s and the South Huemul deer’s (Hippocamelus bisulcus) habitat Fewer than 1 000 of the diminutive animals are believed to exist, IUCN ‘11 Endangered In Chilean Patagonia, the construction of dams on the Pascua River and on the Baker River would flood rare forest ecosystems and some of the most productive agricultural land in the area More than 2 000 km of transmission lines would require one of the world's longest clear-cuts through untouched temperate rain forests Supporters say the economic benefits of the dam project justify carving roads through the heart of Chile's remaining wilderness Investment in more efficient use of electricity, together with renewable sources such as solar, geothermal and wind, would ensure a sustainable energy future for Chile 182Main biodiversity hotspots
  183. 183. Lake Baikal Lake Baikal is the world’s oldest lake, containing roughly 20% of the world's unfrozen surface fresh water Lake Baikal, at least 25 million years old, was formed as an ancient rift valley, displaying the typical elongated crescent shape Phoca sibirica or Nerpa, the only exclusively freshwater pinniped species, arrived at Lake Baikal when a sea-passage linked the lake with the Arctic Ocean Excessive hunting for its pelt, as well as poaching and pollution, may be reducing the population 183Main biodiversity hotspots

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