Pulkit Sharma and Shaka Geier

Mr. Philen

Global Issues Network

September 16, 2011

Biodiversity and it’s Loss

2) Biodiversity loss is the decrease of number, or extinction, in the various species of animals or organic materials we have on Earth. We lose our biodiversity mainly because of our luxuries and our needs, for example we chop down trees, kill fishes and animals, destroy flowers and other natural materials for thing like power, variety in food, products for sale for money. Loss of biodiversity is starting  to become a become a business rather than a global issue. People don’t care about the nature that much when it comes to business, which is why we have face the extinction, or decrease in number of various species of animals, fishes, and plants on Earth. Biodiversity is important for the world not only for its attractiveness, but also as it’s important for many of our natural procedures. For example, bees, although the numbers of bees are slowly decreasing, bees are very important for pollination of plants, and plants are very important for our survival as they provide us with food. If there will be no bees, there will be no pollination, if no pollination, no food, if no food, the global hunger problem will increase even more.

3)      Title of Article: Alligator Gars

Date: 2011

This article is basically documenting the habitat and lifestyle of the rare and endangered Alligator Gar. The Alligator Gar lives in the waters of the south eastern region of the United States and Central America. This species of fish is descended from one of the ancient mega-fish that inhabited the earth’s oceans. The alligator gar does not attack humans, but its eggs are poisonous if ingested. Because of this, their eggs are often removed from freshwater sources to make the water safe. Unfortunately, this means that the eggs can’t hatch, which is contributing to their low numbers. They have also been over fished in parts of the United States. Moreover, the construction of dams and dykes in river systems has eliminated a lot of their spawning grounds, which is also contributing to the huge population decline. Though the dams have not been removed, the species is now protected by law, meaning that no one without proper authorization can fish for these creatures.

4) Country: Brazil

Biodiversity in Brazil is a very major issue for the people and the government of their country. Mainly this issue rises in Brazil due to their economy, in order to have to stable, they have to use processes like deforestation to support their economy. Although  it would seem a sensible choice to have them change their economy patterns,  such a strategy is not an option. Some reverted economy patterns would take long term structural adjustments, which could end up messing up the economy. The Atlantic forest is the eco system that is most negatively affected by the deforestation in Brazil. By 1990, the forest covered about 8% of its original area. Such immense loss of territory was a result of agricultural expansion and urban development on the east coast of Brazil . Many species of wildlife, such as the jaguar, the three toed sloth, and the ocelot depend on the rainforest’s climate and dense vegetation in order to live and provide nourishment for themselves. Because of this, rainforest species are heavily affected by habitat loss. Without shelter and food, these animals quickly perish, either because they are hunted by farmers and poachers or because they starve to death.

To deal with this pressing issue, the government of Brazil passed several laws forbidding any form of deforestation or human tampering in the Atlantic forest area. Anyone caught poaching or removing trees without the explicit consent of the Brazilian government is subject to severe penalties that include huge fines and even time in prison. They’ve also limited the amount of land that can be cleared for farming in other forests in the country to 20% of its original value. However, the Brazilian government have not taken any steps to implement reforestation efforts.

5) Animals

– Asiatic Lions: Asiatic lions are generally smaller than African lions, and the most noticeable difference is the long fold of skin running along the Asiatic lion’s belly that is rarely found on the African lion. Adults can reach up to eight feet in head and body length, their tails reaching up to three feet in length. Females are smaller than males. They prefer living in grassy plains, savannas, and open woodlands. They have mainly suffered due to the hunting sport season in the 1800’s, but it was later outlawed. Also due to the deforestation for loggings and other uses, many Asiatic lions lost their habitats.

– Tasmanian Tigers: The Tasmanian Tiger is also known as the Tasmanian wolf. Most scientists believe that this mammal is extinct, but there has been many cases of unconfirmed sightings of it in what is now believed to be their habitat, in dense forests. This species is called tiger (named for its stripes) and wolf (due to its canid-like appearance), it is not a member of the cat or wolf family. The last known living Tasmanian Tiger was found to be seen in a zoo in 1936. That is where it died, due to unconfirmed reasons. It came up to this point mainly because of the natives hunting them.

– Western Lowland Gorrila: The gorilla is the largest of all living primates and consists of two species, the Eastern gorilla or mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringei) and the Western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla). The Western lowland gorilla is listed as endangered and is found in the tropical forests of western Africa, from southern Nigeria to the Congo River. They are  found deep within lowland tropical rainforests. Gorillas are mainly active in the morning, and they are peaceful and very social and prefer to live together in family groups or troops with 2 to 20 individuals. Gorillas are threatened by illegal hunting by humans mainly for their meat, and some young gorillas are captured and sold. Destruction of habitat due to logging and over-collection by zoos and research institutes also pose a threat.

– Sika Deer: The Sika deer inhabits much of East Asia, and has also been introduced in several countries, including Australia, Austria, Denmark, France, Ireland, New Zealand, and the United States. The species as a whole is not in danger of extinction, but five Asian subspecies are listed as endangered and four are said to be critically endangered. Sika deer are mainly forest dwellers, but they are able to adapt quite well to various types of habitat, such as freshwater marshes and grasslands. Five Sika deer subspecies are endangered in total. The main threats to these subspecies are hunting, loss of forest habitat and predation by other animals.

– Addax: The addax is a large antelope with long and thin spiral horns with two and sometimes three twists. Its coat is greyish brown in the winter and changes to nearly white in the summer. There is a patch of black hair on its forehead and it has a black tuft on its tail. The addax prefers to travel through the desert at night in search of sparse vegetation in the desert that manages to grow during rainfall. They are able to thrive in the desert with no water source. They are only found in north-eastern Niger, northern Chad, and along the Mauritanian/Mali border. There are only a few hundred left in the wild. Excessive hunting for its flesh and hide seems to be the main cause of decline for the addax. And although it is legally protected, hunting is still a threat.

 

Plants

– Palo Barroso: Chloroleucon chacoense, or Palo Overo, is a species of legume in the Fabaceae family. It is found in Argentina, Bolivia, and Paraguay. It is threatened by habitat loss in each of these three countries.

– Quercus Species: They are small white oak trees. Their acorns mature in 6 months, and are sometimes sweet or slightly bitter. Alabama, Arkansas, Belize, California, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Florida, Georgia, Guatemala, Honduras, Louisiana, Mexico, Mississippi, Nicaragua, Oklahoma, Panama, South Carolina, Texas are the countries in which Quercus is endangered due to its habitat loss, and deforestation.

– Acacia: They are genus of shrubs and trees belonging to the subfamily Mimosoideae of the family Fabaceae, first described in Africa by the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus in 1773. Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, British Virgin Islands, Cuba, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Hawaii, India, Jamaica, Mozambique, Papua New Guinea, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Yemen are the countries in which Acacia is endangered due to loss of habitat.

– Shorea: They are part of about 196 species of mainly rainforest trees in the family Dipterocarpaceae. The group is named after Sir John Shore, the Governor-General of the British East India Company. Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam are the countries in which Shorea is endangered. Few of its species have been reported to be extinct, either due to loss of habitat, or due animal population characteristics.

– Anthurium: They are a large group of about 1,000 species, belonging to the arum family (Araceae). Anthurium can also be called “Flamingo Flower” or “Boy Flower”, both referring to the structure of the spathe and spadix. Anthurium grows in various forms, mostly evergreen, bushy or climbing epiphytes with roots that can hang from the canopy all the way to the floor of the rain forest. There are also many terrestrial forms which are found as understory plants, as well as hemiepiphytic forms. Anthurium is mostly endangered in Ecuador due to loss of its habitat by either natural causes of deforestation.

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