Conservation bio

Origins of resource conservation
End industrial rev, expanding human pop, depletion of game, extinction of certain species (passenger pigeon)
4 Important figures
John Muir, Gifford Pinchot, Theodore Roosevelt, and Aldo Leopold
John Muir
naturalist, founder of Sierra club, activism helped to preserve Sequoia National Park, father of National parks
Gifford Pinchot
American forester and politician, 1st chief of US Forest Service, perfected “art of producing from forest whatever it can yield for service of man”, first to demonstrate practicality of managing forest for continuous cropping, coined term CONSERVATION ETHIC
Theodore Roosevelt
naturalist, explorer, 26th president, 1st president to speak out for conservation, expanded system of national parks and forests
Aldo Leopold
Ecologist, author of A SAND COUNTRY ALMANAC, influential in modern environmental ethics and wilderness conservation, emphasized biodiversity and founder of science of wildlife management
Ethical roots of conservation movement
Living creatures and land have intrinsic value, natural world adds value, resources should be consumed responsibility
study of how organisms interact w/ environment
Liebig’s Law of Minimum
Single factor in shortest supply relative to demand is critical determinant of species distribution, gave rise to notion of HABITAT
Leopold’s Law of Interspersion
Number of organisms limited by degree of INTERSPERSION, interspersion highest where two or more habitat types come together producing ECOTONE or EDGE EFFECT
distribution of organisms in habitat (random, ordered, clustered)
Ordered dispersion
results from territoriality
Clumped dispersion
results from gregariousness (social organisms)
Tolerance limits
max/min level by which species can’t survive, peak abundance at middle of curve, both environmental and genetic, migration (gene flow) increases genetic variability and likelihood organism will survive environmental change
sum of total resources needed by organism, is multidimensional HYPERVOLUME,
Ecological niche
organism’s place and function in environment
overlap of niches
Resource partitioning
Competition causes exclusion or divergence in resource utilization patterns
Fundamental niche
Niche portion before resource partitioning
Realized niche
Nice portion after resource partitioning
Competition theory
central to COMMUNITY ECOLOGY, establishes limits for similarity among species
Other interspecific interactions
predation, parasitism, symbioses (mutual, commensalism)
Evolutionary role of predation
reduces competition, allow successful traits to become dominant
Interspecific interactions play important roles in COEVOLUTION process. Ex: prey evolve defensive mechanisms, predators evolve mechanisms to counteract
Group of individuals w/ high probability of exchanging genes, have group characteristics, ex: birth rate, death rate
Population growth rate
Exponential growth
Change in population size (N) over time period (T)
Logistical growth
Population nears carrying capacity (K)
Density dependent factors
related to # of individuals, ex: resource competition
Density independent factors
unrelated to population
ex: fire, frost
Life history strategies
different kinds of factors influence population life strategy
R strategists
limited by environment, live in harsh environments, high pop growth rates, short lived, broad niches, opportunistic, large allocation to reproduce
K strategists
live in stable, predictable environments, longer lived, higher allocation for growth (competitive ability), specialists
assemblage of populations, open system w/out discrete boundaries
Communities and conservation
Must understand how populations interact in order to preserve biodiversity
Community assembly and diversity
Regional/historical (speciation/dispersal) and local/contemporary factors contribute to diversity
1) richness-# of species in community
2) Evenness- # of species plus evenness of occurrence
Alpha diversity
diversity w/in particular habitat
Beta diversity
deals w/ changes in diversity b/w habitats (species replacement)
Gamma diversity
deals with diversity change accross different environments
Theory of island biogeography
Species diversity inc as a function of habitat area
c=taxonomic constant
z=extinction coefficient
Rosenzweig’s model of species loss
1) Initial disturbance destroys some habitat and lose some endemic species
2) sink species loss results in less biodiversity and more vulnerability
3) more species loss
Cookie-cutter model
communities w/ larger ranges experience less of effect on diversity than small ranged communities
Intermediate disturbance hypothesis
Diversity will be highest at intermediate levels of disturbance
Difficult to adequately represent rare species b/c few species usually represent community numbers
Molecular genetics
Uses protein electrophoresis to determine genotype (and therefore genetic variation)
Conservation Genetics
Can cause inbreeding depression. Need population size of 50 to avoid
Genetic drift
chance fixation of allele in population. Occurs in populations isolated for time
Which is better?
Large or small reserve
Which is better?
continuous or fragmented
Which is better?
close proximity or far
Which is better?
proximity to many reserves or one
Which is better?
connectedness or isolation
Which is better?
more edges or less edges
less (circle)
Problems w/ application of island biogeography
Extinction not as frequent (due to rescue effect of immigration), no predictions about which species would persist
Huffaker’s experiments on mite predator-prey relationships
When oranges concentrated, prey/predator crashed. When oranges dispersed, predator/prey flourished
collection of subpopulations maintained by colonization
source populations
Have higher habitat quality and therefore less mortality
Sink populations
Have less habitat quality and therefore more mortality
Metapopulations and conservation
Places emphasis on habitat heterogeneity, patchiness, and quality
Conservation Laws
Practices based on science but empowered by laws
Wilderness Act
1964. Established Wilderness Preservation system. Protected wildness areas from development by prohibiting activity (timber harvesting, vehicles, roads). Required attentive monitoring (scientific study of ecosystem function)
Land and Water conservation act
1965. Preserved water and human recreational activities. ESTABLISHED TRUST FUND FROM TAXES FOR LAND ACQUISITION
Natural Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
1970. Required statement of ecological consequences for all federal actions. Established basis and funding for legal challenges against federal gvt
Clean Water Act
1972. Established system for permitting discharges and daily discharge limits. Required municipalities receiving federal aid to construct waste treatment facilities
Endangered Species Act (ESA)
1973. 3rd version. Established funding to assert status of species. Prohibited federal agencies from taking action if species jeopardized. Most power
Keys to conservation law effectiveness
Endorse value of resources, ambiguous language, inspirational language, provide funding, involve non governmental entities in decision
1970’s. NEPA forced federal agencies to consider impacts of proposed actions, invited criticism. Only applies to MAJOR federal actions
Environmental Assessment (EA)
1st requirement of federal action
“Finding of no significant impact”. Result of EA. describes why there is no impact
Environmental Impact statement (EIS)
Possible impact. More detailed statement. Public notice-comment-final EIS-decision-appeal
Shortcomings of NEPA
lead agency has too much power. decisions always appealed. Funds diverted to litigation from research.
Problems with ESA
Made Fish and Wildlife service too powerful. amendment allowed for committee to waive regulation when habitat designation too costly
Snail darter
ESA upheld in supreme court that dam would destroy habitat
Scientific Criticisms of ESA
Focused on individual species and habitat. applied too late. reactive rather than proactive. Doesn’t protect metapopulations. VALUE OF SPECIES AND HABITAT DETERMINED BY COST BENEFIT ANALYSIS (CBA), PITS NATURE AGAINST MARKET VALUES
Ecosystem approach
Seeks middle ground in promoting protections. Replaces CBA w/ SAFE MINIMUM STANDARDS that establishes minimal level of protection
Habitat conservation Planning (HCP)
Plan that landowners prepare to get incidental take permit. Explains how development would affect endangered species and how effects mitigated
Criticisms of HCP
Did not require conservation commitment on part of landowner
Memoranda of Agreements (MOA) and Safe harbor agreements
Landowners required to set aside habitat for species
Natural communities conservation planning
California program. Landowners volunteered to set aside land for species. Allowed for flexibility
Conservation easements
Lowers taxes on land in exchange for restriction of activity
Climate change and reserves
Reserve locations fixed, can’t change with shifting climate zones
Louisiana geology
Quaternary sediment. Mostly holocene alluvium and pleistocene surfaces
Cover large regions of land and water. Geographically distinct assemblages of natural communities and species
Land development in LA
mostly agriculture. Wet and coastal prairies lost. Marsh disappearing.
Biodiversity in LA
No formal biodiversity policy. Plants not covered by endangered species laws. No coordinated biodiversity assessment system (utilizes Natural heritage system).
Partners for Fish and Wildlife (USFWS)
1987. Helps restore wetlands for waterfowl. Landowners receive financial assistance to restore wetlands
Wetland Reserves Program (WRP)
offer landowners incentives to restore property. Easements, 30yr easements, restoration cost share agreements
Grassland reserve program (GRP)
Protects grasslands that may be converted to other uses. Participants volunteer to limit future development. Grazing management plan mandatory
Farm and Ranch Land Protection Program (FRLPP)
Provides up to 50% of market price to acquire land
Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP)
Provides financial and technical assistance to help conserve agricultural lands
Healthy Forests Reserve Program (HFRP)
Assists landowners on voluntary basis through perpetual easements, 30yr contacts, cost sharing
Mitigation banking
Replaces exact function of habitat in order to offset expected adverse impacts by proposed project.
Wetland Mitigation banks
Mitigation bank sponsor sells credits to individuals who receive permit to destroy wetlands
Farmer’s home administration lands
Provides mechanism for farmers to decrease debt
Department of Agriculture
Forest Service
Department of Commerce
National Marine Fisheries Service, NOAA, NIST, PTO
Department of Interior
Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, Geological Survey, Minerals Management Service, National Park Service
USDA mission
enhance quality of life for American people by supporting production of agriculture
National Resources and Environment (NRE) Mission
ensure health of land through sustainable management, prevent damage, restore resource. Composed of Forest service (FS) and National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
Duties of NOAA (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration)
Charting, climate, FISHERIES, oceans, research, weather, satellites
National Marine Fisheries Service
Fisheries management and Conservation, Marine Mammal Conservation, Sea Turtle Protection and Conservation, Marine Habitat Protection, Marine Biodiversity
Department of Interior (DOI)
Nation’s principle conservation agency, protects cultural heritage, conducts research, conservation of natural resources, protects wildlife. Manages 1/5 of all U.S land
Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)
Improves habitat, protects endangered species, controls spread of invasive species, enforces wildlife laws, distributes tax revenue to wildlife agencies. LA in region 4
U.S Geological Survey
Monitor information on earthquakes, volcanoes; monitor water quality (ground and above ground), estimate US and world energy and mineral supplies, conduct RESEARCH ON BIOLOGY, geology, and water
Top 5 Nongovernmental Organizations
Environment Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club, Wilderness Society
Origins of FWS
1871-US Commission on Fish and Fisheries created. Spencer Baird 1st commissioner
Bureau of Biological Survey Origin
1885-Division of Economic Ornithology and Mammalogy established. C. Hart Merriam 1st chief. Focuses on + effects of birds in controlling pests
Lacey Act
1900-1st federal law protecting game, prohibited interstate shipment of wildlife taken illegally
Federal Bird Reservation
1903-1sr federal bird reseve established by TR
Migratory Bird Treaty Act
1918-protected migratory birds, regulation of migratory bird hunting
Duck Stamp Act
1934-required purchase of stamp by hunters. Revenue gained from stamp used to acquire wetlands
Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration
1937-provided funding for wildlife/habitat management
Birth of FWS
Bureau of Fisheries became FWS. Federal reservations designated as national wildlife refuges
Habitat Conservation Plan
Permit obtained by landowners designed to prevent harm by proposed activity
What FWS does for ESA
HCP’s, international activities (working w/ other nations), recovery plans, grants, permits, consultations
US Forest Service
1905-manages public lands in national forests and grasslands
Changing focus (USFS)
Originally about sustainable use of resources. Now more about protecting forests for wildlife habitat and human enjoyment
Forest Service R and D
Enhances understanding of organisms, ecological processes. Provides results essential for sustaining, air, water and soil quality. Experimental forests
FSR and D research areas
Wildlife and aquatic habitat, watershed, soil, atmospheric sciences
Wildlife Habitat Research
FSR and D provides land managers w/ info for sustaining animal and plant habitat. Emphasis on threatened or endangered species and declining communities
Aquatic Habitat Research
Only research in country w/ focus on restoring and protecting fish habitat. Focus on native salmonids and imperiled invertebrates (crayfish)
Watershed research
Focus on human disturbances and quality of water
Atmospheric Sciences Research
Focus on effects of air pollution/weather on public lands
Roadless Rule
prohibits new road construction and existing road reconstruction. Opposed by timber industry
Roadless Rule impacts
decrease timber harvest by 2%. Lose a few timber and mining jobs
National Wilderness Preservation System
1964-manages wilderness areas in US. manages 1/3 of US wilderness
National Park Service (NPS)
Conserve scenery and natural and historic objects. Leave parks unimpaired
History of NPS
Artist George Catlin credited with origin. Yosemite 1st step when donated as STATE PARK. Yosemite was 1st national park
Louisiana Nat Parks
Poverty Point Monument, Cane River Heritage Area, Cane River Creole historical park, Jean Lafitte, New Orleans Jazz
National Resource Challenge
Protect native species and habitat, provide leadership for healthy environment, connect parks to protected areas and people
Public and Parks
Damage and pollution caused by vehicles, people get too close to wildlife, PS under pressure to permit all uses
Gulf Coast Network
8 nat parks in southeast US. Includes LA
US Geological Survey (USGS)
Monitor info on earthquakes and volcanoes. Conduct RESEARCH ON BIOLOGY, estimate mineral supplies
USGS Nat programs
Global Change Research Program (GCRP)
Contributes to understanding of Global Warming
Geospatial Technology Program (GTP)
Provides coordination for geographic systems, GPS
Land Use History of NA (LUHNA)
Prepare scientific “history” of land use change in NA
National Water-Quality Assessment Program (NAWQA)
Describes status and trends of nations water
USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program (VMP)
Classify, describe, and map vegetation communities in Nat Parks
USGS Biological Resource Division (BRS)
More focused on research (USFWS more concerned w/ practicality). Works to develop comprehensive pic of nations biological resources. Majority of programs directed to interior resource management
USGS/BRS National activities
NA Breeding Bird Survey (NABBS)
Population trend and distribution of NA birds
Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Program (NASP)
Information resource for accounts of nonindigenous aquatic species
NP Flora and Fauna databases (NPFFD)
Databases of vertebrate and vascular plant occurences in Nat parks
Biomonitoring of Environmental Status and Trends (BEST)
Identify and understand effects of environmental contaminants
Bird Banding Laboratory (BBL)
study movement, survival, and behavior of birds
Gap Analysis Program (GAP)
Assessment of current protection of biodiversity over large geographic areas
Cooperative Research Unit (CRU)
Conduct research on renewable resources. Provide assistance on issues
National Biographical Information Infrastructure (NBII)
Network of databases on biological resources used by people
Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS)
Standardize nomenclature and taxonomical information
Biodiversity Information Serving Our Nation (BISON)
Developing unified resource for discovery, linkage, and re-use of organismal data
BISON building blocks
Global Biodiversity Information Facility’s species occurrence records, Oak Ridge lab, USGS maps. partnerships w/ biodiversity community
Breeding Bird Survey Today
States Rights
States maintain agencies to protect fish and wildlife and rights of people to use them
State Wildlife Agencies
Vary. Some only have fishing and hunting regulation, others have science based agencies based off of Bureau of Biological Survey
State Natural Heritage Programs (SNHP)
Established to make fish and wildlife conservation more uniform. Now managed by NatureServe
Louisiana Natural Heritage Program (LNHP) Mission
Staff gather info on species, maintain data base, then either work w/public and private entities or evaluate development projects
2003 Inventory Projects
Endangered plant, fish, bat, crawfish, ringed map turtle surveys; wading bird and seabird inventory
Implementation of Red-Cockaded Woodpecker Safe Harbor Program, LA Pearlshell Mussel Survey, LA Pine snake habitat enhancement
LA Black bear,gopher tortoise, and amphibian project
Rare and Protected Fishes Project
Goal: update existing records in LNHP database. Approach: systematically visit streams
Implementation of RCW Safe Harbor Program
Goal: Implement program in non federal land while alleviating restrictions for landowners on RCW habitat. Approach: biologist meets with landowners to explain benefits of program
Monitoring of LA black bear
Goal: monitor establishment of breeding complex. Examine ecology of source bear population. Approach: black bear females w/ cubs moved to complex. Females equipped w/ transmitters
LA Gopher Tortoise Health Surveillance program
Goal: establish health status of turtle. Evaluate turtle as sentinel for diseases and toxins. Approach: collect blood and fecal samples from turtles
Non-governmental Organizations (NGO)
Private organization that PROTECTS ENVIRONMENT, relieves suffering, provides social services, or undertakes in community development
Operational NGO
Design and implement of development related projects
Advocacy NGO
Defend or promote specific cause, seek governmental influence (Conservation groups)
Wilderness Society
Preserves wilderness. Passed Wilderness Act. Creates broad base for conservation and reaching out. Protects Arctic Wildlife Refuge. Curbs road building
National Audubon Soceity
Fights for protection of wildlife and habitat. Maintains bird sanctuaries, Aided by Nat refuge System, sponsors research
Environmental Defense Fund
Dedicated to protecting rights of people to clean air, water, and healthy ecosystems. Links science, econ, and law. Maintains ACTION NETWORK for alerting online activists to send emails to policymakers
Sierra Club
Explores and protects Earth’s wildlands. Established by John Muir. Congressional lobbying. Foundation for grant making.
Nature Conservancy
Protects endangered species and threatened ecosystems
Nature Conservancy Approach
Use CONSERVATION BY DESIGN (science-based planning process) to identify highest-priority places
Conservation by Design
1)Setting priorities 2)Developing strategies 3)Taking direct conservation action
4)Measuring conservation success
Setting Priorities (TNC)
Through major habitat type assessments and ecoregional planning
Ecoregion-based planning
Set specific goals, assemble info, design network of conservation that meet goals, identify highest priority area
Developing Strategies (TNC)
Single-Area Strategies
Employ 5-S framework
Multi-Area Strategies
Priorities that affect multiple conservation areas
5-S planning approach
Systems (focal conservation targets), Stresses (most serious type of destruction), Sources of stress, strategies (actions necessary to abate threats), success measures (monitoring process for assessing progress)
Taking Action (TNC)
Fee acquisition, environmental education, public policy, water/land management agreements
Measuring Success (TNC)
Success: maintenance of biodiversity, abatement of critical threats, effective protection and management of places where action is taken WITH PARTNERS
Partnerships (TNC)
TNC pursues partnerships w/ communities, COMPANIES, gvt agencies. Brings together gvt entities, land developers, and conservation interests. ex: Pearl River Conservation Planning
5-S Planning ex: Pearl River
Systems: Costal plain riverine. Stresses: altered hydrology, substrate destabilization, contaminants. Sources: urban development, paper mill. Strategies: stakeholders workshop, land-use zoning. Successes: Conservation target in tact.