In a new paper appearing in the journal Bioscience, the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) examines the current hodgepodge of population target levels (PTLs) being used by wildlife managers, and proposes a simpler, four-tiered system to measure conservation success. The paper cataloged 18 different approaches currently used to set PTLs, and showed the diverse ways in which they apply to national laws and international treaties.
According to the paper's author, WCS ecologist Dr. Eric Sanderson, 'minimum viable populations' – the goal commonly used by wildlife managers that aims to have self-sustaining populations – should be seen as the beginning, not the end, of conservation.
'People want much more from wild animals than to see them just persist: we want animals to interact with their environment, evolve over time, be beautiful and useful to us, and to satisfy ethical teachings regarding respect for nature,' said Dr. Sanderson.
Sanderson's system argues that once demographic sustainability has been achieved, conservation efforts should aim next for 'ecological functionality,' which means a species will serve its role in ecosystems, such as Pacific salmon providing marine-derived nitrogen to watersheds, or predators reducing pest species, or birds dispersing seeds.
'Sustainable human use' represents the next tier, where there are enough animals that they can be used by humans, consumptively (as in hunting or fishing) or non-consumptively (as in tourism.) Most models for sustainable use only conserve animals at the level of demographics, not ecology, Sanderson says.
The highest standard for animal populations is achieving 'historical baselines' where species are restored to when humanity as a whole had significantly less impact on the world as it does today. Dr. Sanderson writes that achieving this goal can be difficult due to lack of baseline data, though well-managed protected areas, with all the species present, can provide the examples that scientists and managers need.
'Having animals acting like animals in the fullest sense, seems the standard conservationists should seek, whether it's bison on the Great Plains or Asia's forests with tigers and their prey,' said Sanderson.
Stephen Sautner | EurekAlert!
Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel
Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
21.02.2018 | Life Sciences
21.02.2018 | Life Sciences
21.02.2018 | Materials Sciences