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Lecture Topic: Conservation case studies and management principles Env 121: Conservation of Biodiversity 14 May 2009 Professor Victoria Sork.

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Presentation on theme: "Lecture Topic: Conservation case studies and management principles Env 121: Conservation of Biodiversity 14 May 2009 Professor Victoria Sork."— Presentation transcript:

1 Lecture Topic: Conservation case studies and management principles Env 121: Conservation of Biodiversity 14 May 2009 Professor Victoria Sork

2 Case Study 1: Black-footed ferret management of an endangered species. Background Blackfooted ferrets are obligate associates of prairie dogs Both are found throughout prairies of midwestern North America Prairie dogs were eradicated because their burrows were annoyance to ranchers (despite colonies cover only 2% of range. Decline of ferrets follow decline of prairie dogs The last known wild population of ferrets was discovered near Meeteetse, Wyoming in 1981. This population was studied until 1985 when both plague and canine distemper drove it to near extinction

3 The Blackfooted Ferret Recovery Plan 18 ferrets capture and used for captive breeding program. Captive propagation succeeded in increasing ferret numbers Plan called for establishing at least 10 separate populations of 30 each and 1,500 total individuals Ferrets reintroduced in 1991 into Shirley Basin, Wyoming. Expanded to sites in Montana, South Dakota, and Arizona. Program has been plagued by unproductive conflict and policy and organizational problems Beginning in 2000 the ferret rapidly recovered, so that there were about 200 individuals in the Shirley Basin population in 2006.

4 Case Study 2 Management of the Spotted Owl Background: 1975: Official conservation efforts began in the United States in 1975 when it was declared “threatened” in the state of Oregon 1980’s efforts continued in a sporadic and unsystematic way 1989 the Interagency Scientific Committee (ISC) was established by Congress and The ISC's major conclusions: – the population of spotted owls is declining due to reductions in old growth habitat. – the establishment of an extensive network of large reserves. – Current federal management plans in the Pacific Northwest propose more habitat than the ISC envisioned, providing a greater likelihood of persistence. Source: Barry R. Noon and Kevin S. McKelvey. 1996. MANAGEMENT OF THE SPOTTED OWL: A Case History in Conservation Biology. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, 27: 135-162.

5 Spotted owl faces new threat LA Times, Dec 1, 2008, By Kim Murphy “ As the owl's population continues to fall, the Bush administration wants to permit logging in areas that had been set aside for it - reworking a 1994 deal to protect the owl and old- growth forests. …In what is likely to be one of the final environmental battles of the Bush administration, 18 environmental groups filed motions in federal court last week to block a massive remapping of federal lands in the Pacific Northwest. …Proposals by the Bureau of Land Management and the Fish and Wildlife Service … would open up for logging large tracts that had been set aside as breathing space for the owls -- nearly 1.8 million acres. …The moves amount to a wholesale reworking of the Northwest Forest Plan. The 1994 compromise -- brokered by the Clinton administration to end the timber wars of the Pacific Northwest -- set up a system of protections for the region's old-growth forests, allowing them to be thinned but not cut down. …Those classic groves, all but about 20% of which have been lost to logging and development, are essential not only for the spotted owl, but also the marbled murrelet (a threatened small seabird) and a host of other plants and animals whose survival is considered a barometer of the planet's ecological health. …The management plan has been a lightning rod for blame in a paralyzed logging industry; it turned the spotted owl into a much-maligned poster child for closed mills and economic ruin.”

6 Case Study 3: Sea turtle conservation and the Yolngu People of North East Arnhem Land, Australia Yolngu, aboriginal people of northeastern Australia have occupied this area for 40,000-100,000 years. Harvested sea turtles and eggs for thousands of years Species involved (see lecture on Small Populations) Hawksbill turtle leatherback turtle Olive ridley turtle loggerhead turtle flatback turtle green turtle

7 Nhaltjan Nguli Miwatj Yolngu Djaka Miyapunuwu Global concerns: 1.Nesting grounds 2.Feeding grounds 3.Migration routes Why Threatened? 1.Destruction of foraging areas 2.Destruction of nesting habitats 3.Intentional and unintentional slaughter 4.Pollution of waters Miyapuna project: 1.research 2.sustainable harvest involvement !! 4.Hunters returning tagged turtles

8 Case Study 4. Florida Everglades The third largest national park in contiguous United States. Slow moving freshwater "River of Grass," 50 miles wide but only 6 inches deep, flowing from Lake Okeechobee through marshy grassland into Florida Bay. E V E R G L A D E S N A T I O N A L P A R K website: (

9 Overview of Everglades Ecosystem Small scale: Alligator hole Complex aquatic system many processes Diverse organisms – Grass shrimp – Water fleas – Mosquitofish – Alligators Regional scale: Everglades landscape – Fires – Part of larger watershed – Annual rainfall: 130 cm, mainly during summer months Watershed scale: southern Florida

10 Endangered Species in Everglades National Park American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus Green turtle (Chelonia mydas) Atlantic Ridley turtle (Lepidochelys kempi) Atlantic hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) Atlantic leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) Cape Sable seaside sparrow (Ammodramus maritima mirabilis) Snail (Everglades) kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis plumbeus) Wood stork (Mycteria americana) West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus) Florida panther (Felis concolor coryi) Key Largo wood rat (Neotoma floridana smalli) Key Largo cotton mouse (Peromyscus gossypinus allapaticola) Red-cockaded woodpecker (Picoides borealis) Schaus swallowtail butterfly (Papilio aristodemus ponceanus) Garber's Spurge (Chamaesyce garberi)

11 Everglades Management Development of Water management plan Major public works project transformed a subtropical wetland into a highly managed multi-use system Many stimuli during history of area: – Control flooding resulting from high rainfall events – Control water to reclaim land lost to flooding – Drought of 1971-need to provide water Series of management decisions have been ineffective

12 Everglades Restoration for Conservation 1.Attempts to conserve remnant wetland have had limited success 2.Historical ecosystem: – Supported a suite of animals with large spatial requirements – Oligotrophic, i.e. low nutrient levels – Spatially diversity vegetation mosaic 3.Now – Extinctions due to land use conversion (e.g. loss of nesting area, changes in hydrology) – Losses in native cover type – Changes in plant species due to nutrient inputs, invasive species 4.Restoration is focusing on management of water flow, using an adaptive management approach

13 Case Study 5: International Management of Cranes* 1.Background – 15 species of cranes worldwide\ – Ancient family of birds 2.Why threatened? – Habitat loss – Human disturbance – Low reproductive potential – Hunting 3.Example: Siberian Crane Height: 5 ft. Weight: 6 kg, 13 lbs. Population: ~2,900- 3,000 Trend: Rapid decline * International Crane Foundation:

14 Conservation status of Cranes 1.Amur River, Russia/China border – Important link between arctic breeding grounds and temperate wintering areas – Center of Crane diversity 2. Southeast Asia: Eastern Sarus Cranes (tallest crane) – Main wintering area is in Vietnam – Tram Chim National Preserve: restoration of natural wetlands 3. Southern African Blue Cranes (small crane)  Conclusion: Crane conservationists must integrate conservation programs internationally

15 Case Study 6: Doñana National Park, UNESCO World Heritage Site * In Atlantic Ocean Estuary on Guadalquivir river at its estuary Great diversity of its biotopes, including lagoons, marshlands, fixed and mobile dunes, scrub woodland and maquis (similar to California chaparall). Home to five threatened bird species. Major breeding ground for herons in the Mediterranean region Wintering site for > 500,000 water fowl each year. * Gray Heron Maquis

16 Doñana National Park: Threats & Solutions Why threatened? – Grazing – Timber extraction – Hunting of wild pigs and deer Conservation and management problems – Illegal irrigation wells – Pesticide – Hunting Solutions – Zoning for multiple uses – Public education – Designated buffer zones – Improve local economy Water management – Obstacles? – Poor region – Insufficient international support

17 Case Study 7: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem A. Background 1 Yellowstone National Park was established in 1872 2 GYE includes various national forests, wildlife refuges and other wildlands. 3 Rocky Mtns areas of Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana; see map 4 Controversies around fire management, ungulate population control, and wolf re-introduction 5 Low species diversity and few threatened or endangered species 6 Rich fauna of large mammals: elk, moose, mule dear, pronghorn, bison, bighorn sheep, black bear, and threatened grizzly bear Bison

18 Greater Yellowstone Ecosystems Political jurisdictions

19 GYE Management Ecological Process management 1 Yellowstone National Park boundaries do not coincide with ecological process 2 Mammals find winter ranges outside park 3 Wildfires cross boundaries Fire Ecology and management 1 Summer 1988, ~ 50% YNP was burned by wildfires 2 Occur naturally ever 350 yrs 3 "Let burn" policy led to political controversy Ungulate management 1 elk and bison have increased to near capacity 2 heavy grazing in jeopardizing native species 3 disease carried by bison and elk can jeopardize livestock in GYE 4 conflict between livestock grazing and ungulate management

20 Wolf Recovery 1 Almost extirpated during the 1920s 2 Restoration of wolves is opposed by local ranchers 3 Mining industry opposes wolf recovery because presence of endangered species restricts access to minerals. 4 Release of wolves was done in 1995 as part of Endangered Species Act 5 Two family groups had to be relocated back into YNP 6 Boon to tourist industry.

21 Figure 6.7 (B) The number of wolves in WY, ID, and MO increased following their reintroduction to the Yellowstone area

22 Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem: Other interests Development issues 1 Forest Service is obligated to provide opportunities for mining, timber harvest, and grazing 2 Oil and gas exploration are permitted 3 Several controversial gold mines have been proposed 4 Logging and grazing are not profitable in GYE 5 Conflicts between cattle and elk led to the establishment of the National Elk Refuge near Jackson, Wyoming. 6 GYE is becoming a recreation-based economy 7 Snowmobiling is popular, yet altering migration patterns of bison Balance 1 In progress: transition to Ecosystem Management 2 Tourism seems to be winning out over timber harvest and grazing 3 Restrictions are being placed on mining and oil and gas exploration 4 Is recreation outweighing ecosystem protection? 5 Does restricting commodity extraction in Yellowstone simple shift resource exploitation elsewhere? 6 GYE includes mixed usage and thus allows a much larger area to be managed together.

23 Figure 6.1 Tracking of Magellanic penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus) shows that penguins incubating eggs forage up to 600 km from breeding colonies

24 Figure 6.2 (A) A Hawaiian monk seal (Monachus schauinslandi). (B) Censusing seal populations revealed that this species was in danger of extinction.

25 Figure 6.3 Population viability analyses predict it takes 100 ha to ensure (at 95% likelihood) the persistence of a marsh fritillary butterfly population for 100 years

26 Figure 6.4 Possible metapopulation patterns, with the size of a population indicated by the size of the circle

27 Figure 6.5 Mountain sheep (Ovis canadensis) in the southeastern California desert are an example of a metapopulation

28 Figure 6.8 California condor chicks (Gymnogyps californianus) raised in captivity are fed by researchers using puppets that look like adult birds

29 Principles of Good Conservation Management: Principle 1 Critical ecological processes and biodiversity composition must be maintained. 1. Key species management – Grizzly bears at Yellowstone – Large ungulates, E. Africa 2.Habitat or ecosystem management – disturbance processes are managed – Everglades National Park

30 Conservation principle 2 External threats must be minimized and external benefits maximized. 1.not "island of natural habitat": pollution, invasions 2.boundary effects – Need to minimize depth of negative boundary effects – strategy depends on threats – work with landowners and managers of surrounding land – community relations with suburban area – address traditional uses of land by indigenous people 3.effective reserve size – can increase with semi-wild lands surrounding reserve 4.Habitat corridors – What are advantages and limitations? – require careful design – can be less expensive than large preserves

31 Conservation Plan Principle 3 Evolutionary processes must be conserved. 1.Mitigate stochastic effects 2.Retain genetic variation before populations are threatened

32 Conservation Principle 4 Management must be adaptive and minimally intrusive 1. Contingency plans 2. Flexibility 3. Peregrine falcon example: – southern populations require re- introductions from northern populations – sensitivity analysis: adult survival more imp. than nestling survival – thus, adult survival in no. pops is essential

33 How to Develop a Conservation Management Plan 1.Review the mission statement (for example, see mission statement ) 2.Review history of the site or program 3.Identify the major specific problems that require management. 4.Establish a group of formal or informal advisors. 5.Develop a management plant for reserve – short-term (5 yr) and long term (often less likely) – physical plant and zoning – evaluation of goals 6.Develop annual work plans 7. Develop an inventory of resource and site description 8.Identify key areas where research is needed. 9.Maintain good relations with local community 10.Look for opportunities to develop cooperative agreements for land use and storing.

34 Closing points Species can be protected through – Habitat conservation (e.g. spotted owl, Cranes) – Species level captive breeding and re-introduction (e.g. black footed feret, California condor) – Ex-situ preservation (e.g. zoos and botanical gardens) Ecosystems protection – For the sake of the ecosystem and its species (e.g. Florida everglades) Conservation plans – Need to be based on sound ecological principles – Economic, political, and sociological considerations (e.g. Greater Yellowshone Ecosystem )

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