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!
Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
A new indicator for marine ecosystem changes: the diatom/dinoflagellate index
21.08.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde
At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.
Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
25.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
25.09.2017 | Health and Medicine
25.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy