According to their research last year, nearly 10 percent of the 753 plants listed as threatened and endangered under the US Endangered Species Act are being sold — or, at least, advertised — online. Many buyers are horticulturalists who want flowers for their gardens.
But increasingly, anecdotal evidence suggests that online shoppers include individuals and citizen groups involved in 'assisted colonization' projects. Here, species or genetic subtypes at risk of extinction are moved to non-native environments in which they might thrive — in the face of climate change, for instance.
Some private groups who want to protect the plants, such as the Torreya Guardians, are legally planting seedlings of the Florida torreya outside its current range to aid species conservation. However, Shirey urges government agencies to take more of a leadership role to monitor translocations because of the risks associated with introducing new species. The widespread transfer of endangered or threatened plants poses both environmental and economic risks.
Shirey and Lamberti cite other studies reporting that damage from invasive plant species costs more than $30 billion in the United States by damaging crops, pastures and ecosystems. One example is the Australian paperbark tree which is a noxious weed in the United States that causes millions of dollars of damage, although its native habitats in Australia are considered threatened due to coastal development. The transfer of plants to new environments can also spread plant pathogens and pests.
Shirey and Lamberti warn of the dangers of unchecked species redistribution and urge the US Fish and Wildlife Service to better monitor the movement of plants around the world and enforce existing legislation. Shirey says, "Environmental agencies and governing bodies must better enforce existing species protection laws, and establish new legal frameworks to monitor and manage this rising tide of species redistribution."
As a first step in enforcing existing legislation, Shirey says that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service should establish surveillance teams to monitor online transactions. Secondly, the agency should restrict consumer's ability to purchase hybrids bred from endangered species which have serious implications—good and bad—for wild populations. On a worldwide scale, exporting and importing countries should ensure that domestic laws are enforced such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
Further information is available on the laboratory's Web site: http://www.nd.edu/~strmeco/
Contact: Patrick Shirey, biological sciences, firstname.lastname@example.org, (574) 631-0580
Patrick Shirey | EurekAlert!
Successful calculation of human and natural influence on cloud formation
04.11.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy