Going Green

Friday, May 16, 2008

Species Loss

This topic has headlined numerous publications and news services since the release of the report. Many of them are blaming "global warming" for the loss of biodiversity. The globe just hasn't warmed that much. (see this graph) Human activity certainly is a contributing factor to species decline. Loss of habitat, wars and other conflict, hunger, pollution, exploitation of some species (such as fish), and other similar activities contribute to the decline. Sometimes there is a cascading effect with species. If a key species is decimated it may cause other species that are dependent on that species to also decline. There are also species that are filling many of those niches. Two animals that have made tremendous comebacks in my area are coyotes and jackrabbits. For many years during the 1980's and 1990's, jackrabbits became extremely scarce. They were wiped out by disease and by habitat loss. The advent of the Conservation Reserve Program caused their numbers to explode and today they are a nuisance. The coyote population, although abundant during the 1980's and 1990's, declined severely during the early 2000's due to disease. They are very adaptable animals and habitat changes don't generally pose a serious problem for them. Today they have come back and population levels are growing. I just wish they did a better job of controlling the rabbitts. My point is that although human activity is a contributor, there are naturally occurring cycles of disease that periodically decimate populations. Blaming "global warming" is just an attempt to play on the media hype. Since 1880 we have seen an approximately 0.6 degree Fahrenheit rise in the average global temperature. I don't think that is enough to have been the problem. Especially given that the rise is likely part of a cyclical temperature pattern that appears to be entering a cooling phase of the cycle.

An epidemic of extinctions: Decimation of life on earth

Species are dying out at a rate not seen since the demise of the dinosaurs, according to a report published today – and human behaviour is to blame.

Emily Dugan counts the cost

The world's species are declining at a rate "unprecedented since the extinction of the dinosaurs", a census of the animal kingdom has revealed. The Living Planet Index out today shows the devastating impact of humanity as biodiversity has plummeted by almost a third in the 35 years to 2005.

The report, produced by WWF, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and the Global Footprint Network, says...(complete article here).

No comments: