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Deforestation

SBI 3U0 Culminating activity
by

Nhu Ha

on 20 December 2010

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Transcript of Deforestation

Deforestation Biodiversity What is biodiversity and how do humans have an impact on it? According to Natural Sciences, biodiversity is “the totality of genes, species, and ecosystems in a region or in the world.” (Natural Sciences… [Updated 2004]) Biodiversity is important because life itself depends on it. Think, where would humans be without biodiversity? Everything in nature works the way it does because of biodiversity. If one species goes extinct, it will affect others; the ripple effect. For example, global warming has caused the polar ice caps to melt. Because of this, Polar bears have become endangered because they to try to adapt to this change by changing their diets and traveling further distances to find food — resulting in death if they don’t make it. If Polar bears go extinct, one will see an increase in seal population, which means a decrease - that could lead to a collapse- in their food sources and supplies as more seals hunt the oceans, which could lead to other possible extinctions. (Ast… [Updated 2010]) "Deforestation is clearing Earth's forests on a massive scale, often resulting in damage to the quality of the land. " ( National Geographic ... [updated 2010]) Also, according to National Geographic, at the current
rate of deforestation, the world's rain forests could
completely vanish; note that the cause is not only by
human activity, but natural causes too. Deforestation leads to many negative effects on Earth's environments; a loss of habitat for millions of species being the most negative. National Geographic states that, "Seventy percent of Earth’s land animals and plants live in forests, and many cannot survive the deforestation that destroys their homes."

Deforestation
reduces biodiversity
affects water and soil quality
and is a contributor to climate change.

Contributing to climate change; Initially, forest soils are moist due to the protection of the trees themselves, but without protection, they quickly dry out. They also return water vapour back into Earth's atmosphere; helping to perpetuate the water cycle. This is why former lands potentially become barren desserts; there are no trees to fill those roles. (National Geographic ... [updated 2010])
Therefore, this means larger amounts of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere at an increased speed, causing severe global warming. Wild Again Reforestation Trust stated that in 1800, there were 2.9 billion
hectares of tropical forests worldwide --There are now 1.5 billion hectares.
"We lose 50 species everday - 2 species per hour - to tropical deforestation." (Wild Again Deforestation Trust ... [updated 2007]) *Note that this was only within tropical forests* Impacts on Natural Selection? Potential impacts deforestation has on natural selection could be organisms going extinct or invading other areas if they can't adapt to the changes deforestation has led to; since only the best fit tend to survive. This would mean species unaffected by it would increase in population and have a better chance at survival.

Efforts could also be made to increase the diversity of planted tree species, in order to establish species that will survive the changing environment. However, natural selection may need help in some cases where certain species depend on each other.
Enrichment planting of species at risk already takes place in the Brazilian rainforest, where it is mandatory to plant mahogany seedlings. (Europa ... [updated 2008])
Although less competition is good for species as they will have more advantages to get food and land, it could lead to species trying to quickly evolve, but can't.
Scientists have said that humans are pushing extinction rates up faster than species can evolve. Biologist EO Wilson predicts that the extinction rate could hit 10,000 times the background rate by 2030. (Matthew McDermott ... [updated 2010]) Deforestation could lead to species invading other areas across the globe. Invasive species are basically species such as plants, animals, and micro-organisms that are introduced outside their natural environments and threaten ecosystems, economy, and society as they out compete their native species -- Sometimes they are a benefit, but in most cases they arent. The reason why they are a threat is because they are difficult to control and contain, especially because they share common characteristics; higher rates of reproduction, fewer natural predators and the ability to thrive in different environments. (Invasive Species ... [updated 2009]) Monarch butterflies Species have to adapt in response to environmental changes due to deforestation. They can become smaller and change in colour to better adapt to their environment. They might hibernate earlier and species like Monarch butterflies will have to find other places to migrate to. Examples:
According to an article about animals and plants adapting, Animals like the "Canadian red squirrels are breeding about 18 days earlier and Red foxes are spreading northward, encroaching on territory normally occupied by their artic cousins." (Ker Than ... [updated 2005])

Polar bears and Grizzly bears creating a hybrid; the loss of habitat and food sources have allowed these two species to meet – where once the geographic barrier was key to why they never met.
A gene in the fruitfly Drosophila normally associated with hot, dry conditions has spread to populations living in traditionally cooler southern regions. (Ker Than ... [updated 2005]) Also, according to an article, scientists believe that bodies become smaller in response to warming and larger with cooling. (Ker Than ... [updated 2005]) Scientists also believe that species can undergo genetic changes and have been documented in the fruit fly Drosophilia and red squirrel. Insects like Monarchs can possibly adapt and get these genes to be able to survive in the extreme environments without having to migrate. Illegal logging of forestry in Mexico has placed growing pressure and threat on the Monarchs and their hibernating sites. The Monarch butterfly Conservation Program, run by the Mexican government, was created to conserve the species wintering sites and to make sure of their survival. (Pollution Canada ... [updated 2008]) Calculating Population Numbers Researchers use the "tagging" method on butterflies to help collect a variety of data. (Monarch Watch ... [updated 2010])

Tagging will allow researchers to see the pathway of which they migrate
Survival rates
Influences of weather during migration season Thanks to programs like Monarch Watch, not only researchers
can tag them! Individuals who want to participate can now help
tag Monarchs.

Tagging Monarchs can seem like a lot of fun; but this is serious business.

People order their tagging kits, tag monarchs, and record data but never return the datasheets!

This can very well lead to false data being recorded.
(Monarch Watch ... [updated 2010]) Once information is collected, researchers organize and record
information in their database inorder to specify information
like specific numbers involving survival rates and pathways
taken during migration. (Monarch Watch ... [updated 2010]) Conservation Efforts Other conservaton efforts include those enforced by governments and industries. Because of increasing awareness they are trying to better understand and reduce deforestation. In Canada, government and industries recognize that we need better approaches. Innovative practices such as integrated landscape management (ILM) are used by provincial governments.  ILM means to plan land uses over an entire landscape and encouraging different land users to work together in order for it to work.

For instance, Alberta has used this method to coordinate forest clearing with oil sands development. British Columbia has also used ILM to encourage the various industries operating in forests to share roads instead of each building its own. (Natural Resources Canada ... [updated 2010]) Genetic Technologies Genetic technologies are becoming necessary for conservation efforts with endangered species because they are almost on the edge of extinction and we need them to keep our environments steady. Not only that, but animals such as panda's are one of the rarest animals in the world, considered as one of China's national treasures – with only about one thousand left in the wild and mostly in central China, so people want to save and bring them back. (Beijing Trip ... [updated 2010]) Reproductive cloning can be seen as a genetic technology to help increase the populations of endangered species. For example, right now, China is trying to clone pandas in conservation efforts. Chinese scientists have already grown an embryo by introducing cells from a dead female panda into the egg cells of a Japanese white rabbit. They are now trying to implant the embryo into a host animal. Although the procedure may take up to five years, the results will be rewarding – especially since they aren't putting any panda's at risk in this situation. (Science Daily … [updated 1999]) Another example is the European mouflon. The European mouflon is an endangered species of sheep that is found in the Mediterranean islands of Sardinia, Corsica, and Cyprus.

It nearly went extinct in Europe a hundred years ago and from the islands that were their first home.

The mouflon lamb was cloned using "somatic cell nuclear transfer"—the same technique used in 1997 to clone Dolly. This time, two species of sheep were used—the mouflon that was cloned and the domestic surrogate mother that carried the clone. (Bijal P. Trivedi … [updated 2001]) As cloning rates becomes more successful, it will play a huge role in future conservation efforts as they will allow us to clone other species in other areas, increasing populations to save species and organisms from the face of extinction. This could mean that these fruitflies are having to adapt to the changes in climate, so they undergo changes in their genes which allows them to live in cooler areas and so, are migrating to these areas which will allow them to mate with other fruit flies and have offsprings that could potentially be immune to both climates. Scientists Ian Wilmut's work plays an active role in current genetic conservation efforts as many scientists are trying to bring back endangered, and even extincted, species through cloning. Ian Wilmut is the leader of the team that produced Dolly – which was the first animal to develop after nuclear transfer from an adult cell. The present objectives of his research group is to determine and use the knowledge gained from the molecular mechanisms that are key to normal development of cloned embryos, in biology, medicine and agriculture. This also includes the derivation of human cells for therapy, the provision of organs for transplants, and the cloning and modification of animals in agriculture. (Prominent Scientists In Cloning … [update N/A]) Forests take about 100 years to regrow... Nothing will change that, but limiting deforestation can prevent
forests from even having to regrow.
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