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Loss of Biodiversity

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Eleanor Clapham

on 14 August 2014

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Transcript of Loss of Biodiversity

Loss of Biodiversity
Alteration and Loss of Habitat
When a natural habitat is
changed or removed this effects the whole eco-system that is found within it
. This can result in the extinction or loss of biodiversity.
Pollution created by humans’ causes’
damage to the environment indirectly and directly
. It can damage the environment
indirectly by harming various organisms in an ecosystem and therefore putting the others within the same cycle at risk
. Pollution can also
directly affect an organism eg. When a turtle eats a plastic bag placed in the ocean by a human
, oils spilled by ships contaminate the water killing birds that land on the water and the fish that live in it. Pollution can occur in the
air, water or on land.
What is 'Loss of Biodiversity'?
10 Questions
1. What is 'Loss of Biodiversity'?
2. What kind of effects does the loss of one organism have on the rest of an ecosystem?
3. How much biodiversity has the Earth lost already?
4. Is all Loss of Biodiversity caused by humans?
5. Whata re the possible causes of Loss of Biodiversity?
6. What are some examples of Loss of Biodiversity?
7. What is being done to help the Orangutans effected by or under threat from the logging/Palm Oil industries.
8. What was the Cod War and how is it related to Over-fishing?
9. When did the Tasmanian Tiger become extinct?
10. What actions did people take in response to the Loss of Biodiversity?
"If there are 100,000,000 species on Earth, and the extinction rate is just 0.01% per year, then
at least
10,000 species go extinct every year."
Many may agree that the
main cause of the Loss of Biodiversity can be traced back to the activities of humans
. There are many different ways in which human activities have affected the environment. The environment can be
effected directly
hunting, logging or fishing
) or
indirectly through other sources
introducing foreign species, removal of species

Ways in which humans have caused a Loss of Biodiversity are:
Introduction of Genetically modified Organisms and Exotic Species
When new species are introduced into an ecosystem this often
causes damage to the original eco-system
because of the
new competition for food and territorial opponents.
Global Warming
Climate change causes the Earth’s surface to heat and as a result the
organisms that have adapted to live in cold habitats are put at risk of losing their home. They cannot survive in such heated environments
and as a result we experience a Loss of Biodiversity because of this
change of climate.
Over Exploitation of Resources
Loss of Biodiversity can be caused by the
over-exploitation of a resource eg an animal, plant, an organism that acts as a habitat or food source to other organisms
. This can be done by hunting, fishing, logging or farming. The Over Exploitation of a resource takes place when
the amount of produce or biodiversity being used or taken away is more than the amount that is being renewed
. This is
not sustainable
and leads to the resource eventually running out (a Loss of Biodiversity).
Loss of Biodiversity in Borneo - The Orangutans
The Tasmanian Tiger or Thylacine
dates back to 1000BC and was originally found on both islands of Australia. The Tasmanian Tigers
began to die out before the settlement of the British Colonies in Australia
and became extinct on the mainland in the 20th century.
This Loss of Biodiversity was not due to human settlement and interaction but instead natural causes and natural selection.
During the Quaternary period in southwestern Australia 90% or more of larger land dwelling animals became extinct or received a large reduction of their population.
In this case Loss of Biodiversity had occurred naturally instead of being because of the interaction of humans.
However from 1803, when the island of Tasmania was settled, the decline of the Tasmanian Tiger population was due to humans.
There are many possible causes for the ultimate extinction of the Tasmanian Tiger however the most commonly believed reason is the hunting of Tasmanian Tigers by humans.
The presumed causes of extinction in Tasmania are: bounty hunting, outbreak of disease, the introduction of new species (eg. dogs) and the presence of humans in its' habitat.
Often species die out because of the introduction of new species into a specialized ecosystem however there is controversy as to whether the invasive Dingo had an effect on the Tiger's population.
The impacts that the extinction of the Tasmanian Tiger had on the environment was the overabundance and imbalance of their prey.

The Tasmanian Tiger was at the top of it's food chain and had a much less flexible diet and therefore the loss of it did not affect many other organisms.
However as our knowledge on the biodiversity of our world is very basic, it may have had a much larger effect than what we think.

"Unlike the mass extinction events of geological history, the current extinction challenge is one for which a single species - ours - appears to be almost wholly responsible."
In Borneo
, a large island that sits on the equator in the South China Sea, approximately
1.5 million square hectors of forests are being logged annually
. These forests act as the habitat for many organisms that create one large, sustainable eco-system. 70% of the logging to these forests is illegal and occurs in 37 of the 41 national parks in Borneo however it counts for 85% of the global Palm Oil production.
The logging is fueled by the cosmetic, food (80%), bio-fuel (2%) and timber industries
, who together have been creating a demand for Palm Oil Seed that has grown by more than 9% each year.
Palm Oil seed is extracted from the fruit of the Oil Palm Tree
which is a tree that is commonly found in
the habitat of the Orangutan.
The United Nations environmental Program has stated that
the leading cause of destruction of rainforests and other habitats in Malaysia and Borneo is Palm Oil Plantations, with 80% of habitat suited to Orangutans being lost in the last 20 years
. If no urgent action is taken then up to
98% of the Orangutans habitat could be lost by 2022
. The Biodiversity that is being lost is not only the Orangutan but also the whole ecosystem that the Orangutan lives within. The bark and small shards of wood that is left by the loggers are known to create large and uncontrollable fires, destroying biodiversity within these areas and pushing the surviving animals into human populated areas. The roads that have been created within the forested areas to link the plantations have created small 'islands' of habitat therefore isolating the Orangutans and other organisms,
resulting in them starving to death or dying due to conflict with humans
. For the orangutans
the amount of forests being logged and the amount being regrown is not sustainable meaning they are losing all of their habitat and as a result the Orangutan population is perishing.
Orangutan Distribution over the years http://www.wildlifeextra.com/#cr
Rescued mother and child
“The Earth will retain its most striking feature, its biodiversity, only if humans have the prescience to do so. This will occur, it seems, only if we realize the extent to which we use biodiversity.” - Tilman (2000)
Tasmanian Tiger
Over Fishing
not much action was taken to protect the Thylacine until it was too late.
In the years leading up to the extinction
some were put into Zoos
the last captive Thylacine
was known as Benjamin and
lived in the Hobart Zoo for 3 years
. Unfortunately the Tiger died due to neglect and poor treatment on the 7th September 1936.
There were recordings of several conservation movements however these were only put into place upon the species on the 10th July 1936, 59 days before the last captive Thylacine died
. This was when
official protection by the Government
was put upon the animal. These conservation acts were pending for 35 years and were fueled by the increasing difficulty to obtain specimens for overseas collections.
More should have been done to protect the Thylacine before it became extinct
. Bounty shooting should have been banned and the importance of the Thylacine should have been recognized earlier.
In response to the Loss of Biodiversity experienced in Borneo many charities have been founded including: The Orangutan Project, Save the Orangutan, Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre, WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) and The Orangutan Foundation.
These charities
hospitalize Orangutans
whose habitats have been destroyed or are at threat of being destroyed, who have become orphans, who have been injured or being saved from animal cruelty.
Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)
are a non-for-profit organization that has a
comprehensive production standard and certification system of Palm Oil
. It consists of 558 members that are
producers, civil society, governments and buyers
aims to make the standard of Palm Oil production sustainable with little negative impacts on the environment
. This could be very successful in
helping the Orangutan re-establish
and also
improving the reputation of Palm Oil goods by making it an environmentally friendly and sustainable product.
Loss of Biodiversity
is the is
the loss of one or more species within an ecosystem
. This could be because of
natural selection, natural disasters or because of human interaction with the ecosystem or directly to the organism
. Loss of Biodiversity can lead to the
reduced productivity of an ecosystem
because of the loss of an organism that holds a niche role or it can
destroy the ecosystem
Almost half of the organisms on the planet are extinct, or vulnerable to extinction.
Over Fishing is the over-exploitation of fish to such a degree that the population of a fish species is lowered so that it cannot re-populate back to its original size.
Companies that over-fish generally do not take into consideration the size of the fish species, the effects of over-fishing on other organisms, the laws of the area that they are fishing in and the size and age of the fish they are catching.
The over fishing of marine organisms
can have disastrous effects on the marine biodiversity
. There have been many incidents of over-fishing that have occurred on a
local and international scale
. Some of these include:
the super-trawler of Seafish Tasmania, the Cod War and the over fishing of animals such as Wild Salmon in the USA, Sharks, Turtles, Whales and Swordfish
The Cod War occurred between the United Kingdom and Iceland
consisted of several confrontations when fishing in the Atlantic Ocean
. It occurred in the
and ended with the British accepting that Iceland had a 200 nautical mile exclusive fishing zone. The arrival of steam engines meant that transport on land and water was much easier and as a result the
British fishers explored new waters
The British fished much of the Cod from Icelandic waters
and this became a problem for
the Icelandic fishers, whose countries' population relied strongly on the fishing industry
The Cod population declined immensely and as a result Iceland struggled to catch the required amount of fish to support trade
Conflict between the two ships occurred several times, these instances include: colliding of two ships, British ships being shot at by Icelandic Gun-ships and nets being cut
The Cod industry suffered very much from the over-fishing by the two countries combined with more than 30 million pounds of it being caught of it anually by the British alone.
In this case the Loss of Biodiversity not only had strong impacts on that species but also on the people that relied on it.
In 1893 Iceland claimed waters up to 50nmi around the island as their own, however the British continued to fish there despite this.
The exclusion zone
was then increased a last time to
200nmi around the island of Iceland
To help the Cod population re-establish and to help Iceland's fishing industry the following rules were put in place
against the British:
24 out of 93 trawlers were allowed in the 200nmi exclusion site at a time, a limit of 50,000tons of Cod was allowed to be caught annually and 4 Cod conservation sites were created; in which the British were banned to fish
. These enforcement lasted 6 months, after which Britain was not allowed to fish inside the 200nmi zone.
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The Orangutan Project. (2013). What is Palm Oil?. Available: http://www.orangutan.org.au/palm-oil. Last accessed 12/8.
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By Eleanor Clapham
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