- Scaling laws predict global microbial diversity — … predict that there are up to 1 trillion microbial species on Earth. These estimates are much greater than previously predicted and emphasise the wealth of microbial biodiversity that remains to be explored on our planet …
- Environmental filtering explains variation in plant diversity along resource gradients — … new evidence to challenge the prevailing theory that resource competition regulates plant diversity along resource gradients …
- The natural history of the South Hills crossbill in relation to its impending extinction — … describes an amazing odyssey, starting with a recent discovery of a new vertebrate species … followed by evidence to show that the species has experienced an 80% decline in its population size in less than ten years due to warming climatic conditions …
- Improvements in ecosystem services from investments in natural capital — … introduces the first national ecosystem assessment in China, with many important discoveries …
- How variation between individuals affects species coexistence — … [the authors] show mathematically that within-population variation in some general situations may have negative effects on the coexistence of two competing species …
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Tags: Anthropocene, bees, biodiversity, carbon, carbon storage, China, climate change, climatic debt, community ecology, competition, coral reefs, decline, defauntation, deforestation, ecosystem services, ecosystems, extinction, Fertiliser, forests, microbes, microbial diversity, mutualism, neonicotinoids, nutrient loading, nutrients, plant diversity, pollination, Soil, species loss, Species richness, sustainability, time series
Categories : conservation
I’ve just read a well-planned and lateral-thinking paper in Nature Communications that I think readers of CB.com ought to appreciate. The study is a simulation of a complex ecosystem service that would be nigh impossible to examine experimentally. Being a self-diagnosed fanatic of simulation studies for just such purposes, I took particular delight in the results.
In many ways, the results of the paper by Osuri and colleagues are intuitive, but that should never be a reason to avoid empirical demonstration of a suspected phenomenon because intuition rarely equals fact. The idea itself is straightforward, but takes more than a few logical steps to describe: Read the rest of this entry »
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Tags: carbon, climate change, defaunation, deforestation, ecosystem services, forests, fragmentation, wildlife
Categories : Asia, Australia, biodiversity, biowealth, bushmeat, carbon, climate change, climate shift, conservation, decline, deforestation, ecosystem function, ecosystem services, extinction, fragmentation, habitat loss, harvest, logging, modelling
Another six biodiversity cartoons for you this week (see here for why I provide six each time). See full stock of previous ‘Cartoon guide to biodiversity loss’ compendia here.
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Tags: biodiversity, biodiversity cartoons, carbon, cartoon, cartoons, climate change, CO2, Economics, ecosystem services, fertility, human population size, overconsumption, overpopulation, pollution
Categories : deforestation, development, environmental policy, governance
There’s a romantic myth surrounding Australia that is pervasive both overseas and within the national psyche: this sun-scorched continent home to stoic bushmen1 that eek out a frugal, yet satisfying existence in this harsh rural land. Unfortunately that ideal is anathema to almost every Australian alive today.
While some elements of that myth do have a basis in reality – it is indeed a hot, dry, mostly inhospitable place if you count the entire land area (all 7.69 million square kilometres of it), and it does have the dubious honour of being the driest inhabited continent on Earth – most Australians live nowhere near the dry interior or the bush.
Despite our remarkably low average population density (a mere 3.09 people per square kilometre), Australia is in fact one of the most urbanised nations on the planet, with nearly 90% of its citizenry living within a major urban centre. As a result, our largely urban/suburban, latte-sipping, supermarket-shopping population has little, if any, connection to the vast landscape that surrounds its comfortable, built-up environs. There should be little wonder then that Australians are so disconnected from their own ecology, and little surprise that our elected officials (who, after all, represent the values of the majority of the citizens they purport to represent), are doing nothing to slow the rapid flushing of our environment down the toilet. Indeed, the current government is in fact actively encouraging the pace of that destruction. Read the rest of this entry »
Comments : 6 Comments »
Tags: carbon, Emissions, greenhouse gases, livestock, meat, urbanisation, waste, water
Categories : Australia, biodiversity, carbon, climate change, coffee, conservation, deforestation, ecology, economics, environmental policy, food, governance, impact, invasive species, livestock, water
It is one of my long-suffering ecological quests to demonstrate to the buffoons in government and industry that you can’t simply offset deforestation by planting another forest elsewhere. While it sounds attractive, like carbon offsetting or even water neutrality, you can’t recreate a perfectly functioning, resilient native forest no matter how hard you try.
I’m not for a moment suggesting that we shouldn’t reforest much of what we’ve already cut down over the last few centuries; reforestation is an essential element of any semblance of meaningful terrestrial ecological restoration. Indeed, without a major commitment to reforestation worldwide, the extinction crisis will continue to spiral out of control.
What I am concerned about, however, is that administrators continue to push for so-called ‘biodiversity offsets’ – clearing a forest patch here for some such development, while reforesting or even afforesting another degraded patch there. However, I’ve blogged before about studies, including some of my own, showing that one simply cannot replace primary forests in terms of biodiversity and long-term carbon storage. Now we can add resilience to that list.
While I came across this paper a while ago, I’ve only found the time to blog about it now. Published in PLoS One in early December, the paper Does forest continuity enhance the resilience of trees to environmental change?1 by von Oheimb and colleagues shows clearly that German oak forests that had been untouched for over 100 years were more resilient to climate variation than forests planted since that time. I’ll let that little fact sink in for a moment … Read the rest of this entry »
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Tags: afforestation, biodiversity, carbon, Climate, forests, growth rate, primary forest, reforestation, resilience, variance
Categories : agriculture, biosequestration, carbon, climate change, connectivity, conservation, deforestation, drought, ecosystem, ecosystem function, environmental policy, extinction, fragmentation, habitat loss
Another year, another arbitrary retrospective list – but I’m still going to do it. Based on the popularity of last year’s retrospective list of influential conservation papers as assessed through F1000 Prime, here are 20 conservation papers published in 2014 that impressed the Faculty members.
Once again for copyright reasons, I can’t give the whole text but I’ve given the links to the F1000 assessments (if you’re a subscriber) and of course, to the papers themselves. I did not order these based on any particular criterion.
- Assemblage time series reveal biodiversity change but not systematic loss – This substitution of taxa, rather than a systematic loss of diversity at local scales, provides strong evidence for the development of novel ecosystem compositions in ecosystems across the globe, with important implications for management and changes in the delivery of ecosystem goods and services ...
- Social equity matters in payments for ecosystem services – … attempts to govern ecosystem service provision with efficiency-based PES schemes risk failure if they fail to consider these [social equity] feedbacks …
- Tropical forests in the Anthropocene – … review deforestation, climate change, defaunation and other processes driving forest change … they also discuss interactions between these processes and the considerable heterogeneity the severity of the different processes …
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Tags: Anthropocene, assemblage, biodiversity, carbon, climate change, coral reefs, decline, deforestation, disease, ecosystem services, ecosystems, extinction, fishing, forests, grazing, payments for ecosystem services, rays, resilience, sharks, species loss
Categories : conservation