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Garry Rogers
Natural history news and information for animals, plants, and habitats.  See more at http://garryrogers.com.
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Vulnerability of biodiversity hotspots to global change

Vulnerability of biodiversity hotspots to global change | Garry Rogers | Scoop.it

 http://t.co/t5iYsfgr7D

Results

Our findings show that hotspots may experience an average loss of 31% of their area under analogue climate, with some hotspots more affected than others (e.g. Polynesia–Micronesia). The greatest climate change was projected in low-latitude hotspots. The hotspots were on average suitable for 17% of the considered invasive species. Hotspots that are mainly islands or groups of islands were disproportionally suitable for a high number of invasive species both currently and in the future. We also showed that hotspots will increase their area of pasture in the future. Finally, combining the three threats, we identified the Atlantic forest, Cape Floristic Region and Polynesia–Micronesia as particularly vulnerable to global changes.

Main conclusions

Given our estimates of hotspot vulnerability to changes, close monitoring is now required to evaluate the biodiversity responses to future changes and to test our projections against observations.

Garry Rogers's insight:

GR:  Invasive species and climate change threaten biodiversity everywhere. Invasive plants have already overrun one of my desert research areas in the central Great Basin Desert.  Invasive species are spreading in other desert areas now.

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Invasive Palm Threatens Java Rhino To Extinction

Invasive Palm Threatens Java Rhino To Extinction | Garry Rogers | Scoop.it
The last of Indonesia’s critically endangered Javan rhinoceroses have survived poachers, rapid deforestation and life in the shadow of one of the archipelago’s most active volcanoes. But an invasive plant is now posing a new threat to the world’s rarest species of rhino.

Once the most common of the Asian rhinoceroses, the Javan rhino (Rhinoceros sondaicus) started its decline at least 3,000 years ago with the growth of human populations and increased hunting pressures. With its horn fetching $30,000 on the black market, poaching is considered the driver of much of its decline in modern times.

"As few as 58 Javan rhinos exist in the world today, and the species is quite possibly the rarest large mammal on earth. All are found in one small population in Ujung Kulon — a sprawling 1,200-square-kilometer (463-square-mile) national park on the westernmost tip of West Java and the island of Panaitan. In addition the rhinos, the park is home to dozens of other mammals, more than 270 species of birds and 57 rare plant species.

"But a single species of plant is threatening the park’s fragile ecosystem.

“The issue in Ujung Kulon is not deforestation — but an invasive species called the arenga palm,” said Elisabeth Purastuti, WWF’s Ujung Kulon leader.

"Once covered in old-growth forest, the cataclysmic eruption of nearby Krakatoa in 1883 wiped out much of Ujung Kulon’s primary forest cover, creating a patchy network of secondary forest where the rhino thrived."

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Garry Rogers's insight:

GR:  Conservation biologists have been saying that construction (total habitat elimination) and invasive species are the greatest threat to Earth ecosystems.  Though we now must place climate change in the number two spot, invasive species continue to be one of humanity's greatest destructive achievements.  Read more:

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Invasive Plants Are Destroying North American Desert Ecosystems

Invasive Plants Are Destroying North American Desert Ecosystems | Garry Rogers | Scoop.it

Introduction to Invasive Plants in Deserts


One or a few species of invasive plants can replace native plant communities across entire landscapes. Biodiversity and stability of vegetation, soils, and wildlife decline dramatically. Once the replacement is complete, it is difficult to restore the original species. In some instances, the replacement is so widespread there are not enough resources available to achieve restoration. The loss is permanent.


Invasive non-native species are a central management concern for all wild land managers because they “threaten biodiversity and other ecological functions and values” (Warner et al. 2003). This statement represents a consensus by the scientists and land managers concerned with natural ecosystems (e.g., Mau-Crimmins et al. 2005). Native vegetation is more diverse, resilient, and persistent than invasive plant vegetation; it provides food and cover for wildlife, absorbs precipitation, increases water storage, protects soil, reduces flooding and sedimentation, and helps maintain air and water quality. According to the Sonoran Institute: “Invasive species are the second most significant threat to biological diversity after direct habitat loss”.

Garry Rogers's insight:

GR:  Invasive species, like storm troopers leading the surging ruin of global warming, are demolishing Earth’s ecosystems.

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How should "Flathead National Forest 2.0" look? | Conservation

How should "Flathead National Forest 2.0" look? | Conservation | Garry Rogers | Scoop.it
Montana's Flathead Forest is one of the most biologically diverse areas of our country, but it needs some work to become more effective for conservation.

"In the northwestern corner of Montana just next to Glacier National Park sits the 2.4 million acre Flathead National Forest. It’s a part of the massive and biodiverse “Crown of the Continent” ecosystem, and is part of a broader collection of protected areas stretching all the way down to Yellowstone. It’s home to more than one thousand native plant species, 70 mammals, and 260 birds. It’s home to iconic American megafauna, like grizzly bears and grey wolves, along with mountain lions, wolverines, lynx, and fishers.

"Starting in the 1930s, concerned citizens and government officials have worked to protect this region, and while it remains mostly unaffected by development, it is starting to suffer the effects of climate change. As glaciers disappear from nearby Glacier National Park, the region will see warmer winters and summers, decreasing snowpack, earlier spring melts, reduced stream flows, and a longer, more severe wildfire season. The animals there will increasingly need more space to roam as their food sources and habitats change with the climate."

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