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    Natural and Human Impacts on Wildlife

    Humans are now responsible for causing changes in the environment that hurt animals and plant species. We take up more space on Earth for our homes and cities. We pollute habitats. We illegally hunt and kill animals. We bring exotic species into habitats. All of these activities take resources and habitats away from plants and animals. - NatureWorks

    Natural and Human Impacts on Wildlife

        The Human Touch

    Humans are now responsible for causing changes in the environment that hurt animals and plant species. We take up more space on Earth for our homes and cities. We pollute habitats. We illegally hunt and kill animals. We bring exotic species into habitats. All of these activities take resources and habitats away from plants and animals.

    Human activity often changes or destroys the habitats that plants and animals need to survive. Because human populations are growing so fast animals and plants are disappearing 1000 times faster than they have in the past 65 million years. Scientists estimate that in the 21st century 100 species will become extinct every day.

        Natural Extinction

    Animals and plants have always had a hard time surviving. Scientists estimate that over two thirds of the animals and plants that once lived on Earth are now extinct.

    Animals became extinct in the past for a wide variety of reasons. In some cases competition for resources among animals led to extinction in other cases environmental changes caused extinction.

    Scientists think dinosaurs became extinct because a meteorite struck the Earth and caused changes in the environment that the dinosaurs and other animals and plants couldn't adapt to.

       Multiple Factors

    Some animals are endangered because of a combination of natural and man-made causes.

    The West Indian manatee is an endangered aquatic mammal that lives in rivers, estuaries, canals and saltwater bays.

    Manatees need warm water to survive. In the winter they live in southern Florida and parts of Georgia. In the summer they can migrate as far north as Virginia and west to Louisiana. Sometimes manatees die because they don't migrate back to warm water soon enough.

    There are currently a little under 2,000 manatees in Florida. Every year about 150 die. Manatees are often killed when they are hit by boats. Manatees can also die when they get caught in fishing nets. Manatees only give birth every two to five years and they only have one calf at a time. Because their reproduction rate is so low and mortality rates are high, manatee populations are endangered.

        Longing for Lupine     

    Some animals, like the Karner Blue butterfly, are endangered because they need very special environments to survive.

    The Karner Blue is dependent on the wild lupine. The wild lupine is a plant that grows in pine and oak barrens in the Northeast and Midwest. It is the only known food source of the larvae of the Karner blue. Without this plant the butterfly can't survive.

    Wild lupine grows best in sandy soils where forest fires occasionally clear out old vegetation. Fire helps keep shrubs low and clears the areas of plants like aspen and maple that can take over the area and create too much shade for lupine to grow.

    Karner blues rely on lupine for their whole life cycle. They attach their eggs to the stems of the plants and newly hatched caterpillars eat the leaves of the plant. If wild lupine doesn't grow, the Karner blue doesn't survive. Because humans control wildfires, lupine isn't as abundant as it used to be. Lupine is also killed by pesticides. Because lupine is harder to find, the population of Karner blues has drooped by 99 percent in the last two decades.

       Unfair Competition

    Some animals are endangered because exotic or non-native species were introduced to their habitats. In Hawaii, the state bird, the Nene Goose, is in danger, in part, because of the mongoose. The mongoose was brought into Hawaii by planters to help control rats in sugar cane fields. The planters didn't realize that rats are nocturnal and the mongoose hunts in the day. The mongoose found other sources of food like eggs from nesting birds, including the Nene goose. The Nene goose used to be found all over Hawaii. There are now less than 800 left in the state.


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    स्रोत : nhpbs.org

    Humans are driving one million species to extinction

    Landmark United Nations-backed report finds that agriculture is one of the biggest threats to Earth’s ecosystems.

    NEWS 06 May 2019 Update 06 May 2019

    Humans are driving one million species to extinction

    Landmark United Nations-backed report finds that agriculture is one of the biggest threats to Earth’s ecosystems.

    Jeff Tollefson Twitter Facebook Email Download PDF

    Report on the state of the world’s ecosystems finds that human activities and climate change have significantly altered habitats such as coral reefs.Credit: The Ocean Agency/XL Catlin Seaview Survey

    Up to one million plant and animal species face extinction, many within decades, because of human activities, says the most comprehensive report yet on the state of global ecosystems.

    Without drastic action to conserve habitats, the rate of species extinction — already tens to hundreds of times higher than the average across the past ten million years — will only increase, says the analysis. The findings come from a United Nations-backed panel called the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

    According to the report, agricultural activities have had the largest impact on ecosystems that people depend on for food, clean water and a stable climate. The loss of species and habitats poses as much a danger to life on Earth as climate change does, says a summary of the work, released on 6 May.

    The analysis distils findings from nearly 15,000 studies and government reports, integrating information from the natural and social sciences, Indigenous peoples and traditional agricultural communities. It is the first major international appraisal of biodiversity since 2005. Representatives of 132 governments met last week in Paris to finalize and approve the analysis.

    Biodiversity should be at the top of the global agenda alongside climate, said Anne Larigauderie, IPBES executive secretary, at a 6 May press conference in Paris, France. “We can no longer say that we did not know,” she said.

    “We have never had a single unified statement from the world’s governments that unambiguously makes clear the crisis we are facing for life on Earth,” says Thomas Brooks, chief scientist at the International Union for Conservation of Nature in Gland, Switzerland, who helped to edit the biodiversity analysis. “That is really the absolutely key novelty that we see here.”

    Without “transformative changes” to the world’s economic, social and political systems to address this crisis, the IPBES panel projects that major biodiversity losses will continue to 2050 and beyond. “We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide,” says IPBES chair Robert Watson, an atmospheric chemist at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK.

    Reshaping life on Earth

    About 75% of land and 66% of ocean areas have been “significantly altered” by people, driven in large part by the production of food, according to the IPBES report, which will be released in full later this year. Crop and livestock operations currently co-opt more than 33% of Earth’s land surface and 75% of its freshwater resources.

    Agricultural activities are also some of the largest contributors to human emissions of greenhouse gases. They account for roughly 25% of total emissions due to the use of fertilizers and the conversion of areas such as tropical forests to grow crops or raise livestock such as cattle. Agricultural threats to ecosystems will only increase as the world’s population continues to grow, according to the IPBES analysis.

    The next biggest threats to nature are the exploitation of plants and animals through harvesting, logging, hunting and fishing; climate change; pollution and the spread of invasive species. The IPBES report finds that the average abundance of native plants, animals and insects has fallen in most major ecosystems by at least 20% since 1900 because of invasive species.

    The report draws inextricable links between biodiversity loss and climate change. An estimated 5% of all species would be threatened with extinction by 2 °C of warming above pre-industrial levels — a threshold that the world could breach in the next few decades, unless greenhouse-gas emissions are drastically reduced. Earth could lose 16% of its species if the average global temperature rise exceeds 4.3 °C. Such damage to ecosystems would undermine global efforts to reduce poverty and hunger and promote more-sustainable development, the IPBES report says.

    Pulling back from the brink

    Scientists might quibble about some extinction estimates and other details, but the report pulls no punches when describing how humans have altered Earth’s ecosystems, says Stuart Pimm, an ecologist at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

    The world can reverse this biodiversity crisis, the report says, but doing so will require proactive environmental policies, the sustainable production of food and other resources and a concerted effort to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

    The IPBES report is solid on the science, but the panel should do more when it comes to outlining practical solutions for governments, businesses and communities, says Peter Bridgewater, an ecologist at the University of Canberra who led a separate analysis — released on 29 April — of the effectiveness of the biodiversity panel. That report, commissioned by the IPBES, recommended that the body develop partnerships with governments and communities, and assess policies that can be implemented at local and national levels.

    स्रोत : www.nature.com

    Effects of Human Activity on Global Extinction Risk on JSTOR

    Jeremy T. Kerr, David J. Currie, Effects of Human Activity on Global Extinction Risk, Conservation Biology, Vol. 9, No. 6 (Dec., 1995), pp. 1528-1538

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    Jeremy T. Kerr and David J. Currie

    Conservation Biology

    , pp. 1528-1538 (11 pages)

    Published By: Wiley


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    Both natural and anthropogenic factors are important in determining a species' risk of extinction. Little work has been done, however, to quantify the magnitude of current anthropogenic influences on the extinction process. The purpose of this study is to determine the extent to which measures of the intensity of human activity are related to the global variability of two measures of species' susceptibility to extinction. We observed six indices of human activities in 90 countries, and we tested their relationships to the proportion of threatened bird and mammal species in each country, as well as to mammalian population density. After correcting for area effects, latitudinal diversity gradients, and body size (for population density), 28 to 50% of the remaining variation was statistically attributable to anthropogenic variables. Different measures of anthropogenic influence were most closely related to extinction risk in birds and mammals. Human population density was the variable most closely related to the proportion of threatened bird species per country, whereas per capita GNP was more important for mammal species. Mammalian population density strongly correlates with the extent of protected area per country. Contrary to suggestions in earlier literature, our work does not support the hypothesis that habitat loss is a prime contributor to species loss because frequencies of threatened birds and mammals are not closely related to patterns of land use.

    In the past decade Conservation Biology has become the most influential and frequently cited journal in its field. Nature calls this title "required reading for ecologists throughout the world." The journal continues to publish groundbreaking papers and remains instrumental in defining the key issues contributing to the study and preservation of species and habitats. The Society for Conservation Biology and its members appreciate the increasing and alarming rate of species and habitat loss in our world and remain committed to the movement of conservation biology to the forefront of the sciences. Only by understanding the scientific basis of conservation can we effectively confront the extinction crisis. JSTOR provides a digital archive of the print version of Conservation Biology. The electronic version of Conservation Biology is available at http://www.interscience.wiley.com. Authorized users may be able to access the full text articles at this site.

    Wiley is a global provider of content and content-enabled workflow solutions in areas of scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly research; professional development; and education. Our core businesses produce scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly journals, reference works, books, database services, and advertising; professional books, subscription products, certification and training services and online applications; and education content and services including integrated online teaching and learning resources for undergraduate and graduate students and lifelong learners. Founded in 1807, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. has been a valued source of information and understanding for more than 200 years, helping people around the world meet their needs and fulfill their aspirations. Wiley has published the works of more than 450 Nobel laureates in all categories: Literature, Economics, Physiology or Medicine, Physics, Chemistry, and Peace. Wiley has partnerships with many of the world’s leading societies and publishes over 1,500 peer-reviewed journals and 1,500+ new books annually in print and online, as well as databases, major reference works and laboratory protocols in STMS subjects. With a growing open access offering, Wiley is committed to the widest possible dissemination of and access to the content we publish and supports all sustainable models of access. Our online platform, Wiley Online Library (wileyonlinelibrary.com) is one of the world’s most extensive multidisciplinary collections of online resources, covering life, health, social and physical sciences, and humanities.

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    Conservation Biology © 1995 Wiley

    स्रोत : www.jstor.org

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