Biodiversity and Human Sustainability
Controlling the loss of biodiversity requires international legislation. The willingness to participate in conservation initiatives varies from country to country and is dependent on economics, and social and political views. Most tropic biomes are located in countries where there are conflicts between exploration of resources and sustainability. Recent research suggests that rich, developed countries are frequently doing the least to conserve biodiversity.
- Choose any two countries (options can be found in the links below), and then compare and contrast their efforts to conserve biodiversity (consider threats like habitat destruction, human-wildlife conflicts, over-hunting, and the growing wildlife trade). Your response should be 2 or 3 paragraphs in length.
- Compare your response with those of your classmates.
- How did your chosen countries differ?
- Did you find a trend with richer, more developing countries doing less toward supporting biodiversity?
The following resources can be used to begin your research:
The Data Team. (2017). https://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2017/05/daily-chart-4
Note: After clicking the link, immediately save the article to your desktop. You can only access three Economist articles per week without paying for a subscription.
Gaworecki, M. (2017). Research suggests less affluent countries more dedicated to wildlife conservation than rich countries. Accessed July 31, 2017, from Nation of Change at https://www.nationofchange.org/2017/06/22/research-suggests-less-affluent-countries-dedicated-wildlife-conservation-rich-countries/
Extinctions and Endangered Species
In this module’s discussion, we will learn about the economic and ecological impact of habitat loss on the island country of Micronesia. The Federated States of Micronesia is a country spread across the western Pacific Ocean comprising over 600 islands. Micronesia is made up of 4 island states: Pohnpei, Kosrae, Chuuk and Yap. Watch the following video link about climate changes in Micronesia: http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/asset/prcc12_vid_mctprob1/
As you watch the video, focus on how life has changed for the islanders and the land itself.
- What are some specific examples from the video that suggest ecosystems and the islanders’ way of life are changing?
- What is a biodiversity hotspot? How does Micronesia meet the criteria for a biodiversity hotspot?
- What are some of the causes for the loss of biodiversity in Micronesia? Describe at least one of the native species (either plant or animal) that is under threat due to habitat loss or degradation.
In Module 2 you learned about the history of mass extinctions on Earth and the threat of global climate change. You also explored ways that economic growth can both help and harm Earth’s biodiversity. In this module we learn more about economic principles: how they apply in the natural world, and how they drive some of the positive and negative effects of economic growth on biodiversity.
For this discussion, read the following articles:
- Hearts and minds: Stopping the slaughter of endangered species takes imagination. (2013). The Economist. Available in the Trident Online Library.
- Illegal wildlife trade. (n.d.). World Wildlife Fund. Accessed August 16, 2016, at http://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/illegal-wildlife-trade.
What is the driving force behind the destruction of the elephant population? What other animal trades are mentioned on the World Wildlife site? Choose one to research further and describe the market demand for the product related to the animal at risk. Are any regulations in place? How are these regulations enforced? Do you think these regulations are effective at preserving biodiversity? Why or why not? Compare and contrast your findings with those of your classmates.
Wildlife Management and Land Use
Population growth and distribution have significant roles to play in the sustainability of the world’s vast resources. Several studies have indicated that uncontrolled growth of deer populations lead to negative ecological consequences, including decreased biodiversity. The result of the deer overpopulation in many areas has led to radical alterations of shrub architecture, contributing to increased habitat loss for some important species.
Many people have varying opinions on the best way to approach the issue. Watch the following video about the deer overpopulation in Wayne County, PA (from 2015). http://wnep.com/2015/01/06/controversial-plan-to-manage-deer-population/
Also, read the following article: Pursell, A., Weldy, T. & White, M. (2013). Too Many Deer: A Bigger Threat to Eastern Forests than Climate Change? Cool Green Science. Accessed at http://blog.nature.org/science/2013/08/22/too-many-deer/ on August 16, 2016.
- Why are so many deer populating the eastern forests? How did regulatory laws, human activity and ecosystem changes cause the deer population to increase over time?
- How are the local communities being affected by the deer population?
- What are some possible solutions to the overpopulation of deer in the eastern forests? How could you monitor your proposed solutions in order to ensure success?