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Human Interaction. Chapter 12. W O R K T O G E T H E R. “ Sustainability” is a popular idea these days. What does “sustainability” in the ecosystem mean? What does “sustainability” in human communities mean?. The term “ecological footprint” means:. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation
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Human Interaction Chapter 12

Species Concept

Human InteractionChapter 12Sustainability is a popular idea these days. What does sustainability in the ecosystem mean?What does sustainability in human communities mean?WORK

TOGETHERThe term ecological footprint means:

The ecological services of a natural area.The complete bio-capacity of Earth.The land and water area needed to sustain humans.The risk of a species to extinction.Natural CommunitiesNatural, self-renewing communities share several features:Stable populations at or below carrying capacityBiological diversityRecycling of all raw materialsReliance on sustainable energy (solar)Human CommunitiesHow well does our community score on each of these four points?Stable populations at or below carrying capacityBiological diversityRecycling of all raw materialsReliance on sustainable energyHuman Population

DateTechnical andcultural advancesIndustrial andmedicaladvancesAgricultural advances123BillionsTime to addeach billion(years)All of humanhistory131213143318042012199919871974196019271234567**projectedbubonic plaguebillions of people2012*1830197519601930198719992006We know that human population is increasing exponentially. Our resources are not.Poll: The human species:

Is approaching carrying capacity.Has overshot carrying capacity.Can never reach carrying capacity.

0timeConsequences of exceeding K.K(original)K(reduced)Populationovershootscarryingcapacity;environmentis damaged.Extremedamage;populationdies out.Low damage;resources recover,population fluctuates.High damage;carrying capacitypermanently lowered.The problem is, we dont know for sure where we are on this graph.

Bear in mind that this is what overshoots carrying capacity looks like.

When resources are highly limited, most individuals have access to only a small share of those resources.

developed countries2006: 6.5 billionpopulation (billions)yeardeveloping countriesPresently, populations in developing nations are increasing, while developed nations are stabilizing.

Developing countries average: 1.4%World regionsnatural increase per year (percent)Europe: 0.1%N. America: 0.6%Developed countries average: 0.3%China: 0.6%Asia (excluding China): 1.6%Latin America/Caribbean: 1.6%Africa: 2.2%World average: 1.2%Breakdown of population increases in different parts of the world.

femalemalePopulation pyramids for MexicopercentMexico 2007

femalemalepercentPopulation pyramids for SwedenSweden 2007High birth rates increase population, but also provide many young people to support their elderly relatives.Low birth rates reduce or level off the population, but leave less support for the aging segment of the population.

U.S. population (in millions)yearEven with a modest 0.6% increase in the population each year, the U.S. shows exponential growth.In which area of Earth is the human population growing the fastest?

North AmericaEuropeAfricaAsiaOn which continent are natural resources being used the fastest?

North AmericaEuropeAsiaAfrica

While populations in developed nations are increasing slowly, individuals in developed nations use many times the amount of resources as individuals in developing nations.What happens if developing nations adopt the U.S. lifestyle?

In some countries, such as the United States, population control is a highly controversial issue.This group promotes zero population growth, birth control, and social justice as means to improve society.This group rejects birth control, believes people should have as many children as possible, and supports the rights of the individual.

In some developing nations, womens education programs have taught women to read, write, and run small businesses. Where women are educated and most people have meaningful work, birth rates slow down and the quality of life improves.

Growth curves for the human population show that our species is experiencing:

Logistic growthS-shaped growthExponential growthDeclining growthAge structure diagrams show that human population is declining in which part of the world?

ChinaLatin AmericaUnited StatesAfricaEuropeHumans affect natural populationsWe are living in the middle of a mass-extinction event, and we are the cause.We humans change our environment to meet our needs for food, shelter, and other resources. In doing so, we impact other species dramatically. The larger our population gets, the faster we use up limited resources.Extinction RisksSpecialization and resource partitioning increase diversity. However, the tradeoff is that organisms become more vulnerable to extinction if the environment drastically changes.Localized DistributionBy living in a limited area, a population avoids competition with other populations.The risk is that a natural disaster will destroy the limited habitat.

The Devils Hole Pupfish lives in a single waterhole in Nevada.OverspecializationOrganisms that have specialized feeding habits reduce competition with other species.If the limited food source goes extinct, so does the species feeding on it.

Fenders Blue Butterfly feeds only on Kinkaids Lupine.InteractionsIsolation reduces competition and predation.If a new predator or competitor is introduced, a formerly isolated species may be hunted or out-competed to extinction.

Many Hawaiian birds were driven to extinction by introduced predators.Habitat LossThe greatest cause of extinction is habitat loss.Organisms with highly specialized habitat needs may avoid competition, but risk extinction if their habitat is threatened.

Tropical rain forests are being logged at an alarming rate, mostly for grazing cattle.HIPPO and ExtinctionsHumans activity can contribute greatly to species extinction.The acronym HIPPO can help us remember the major contributors to human-caused extinctions.Habitat destructionHumans plow up land for farms and housing developments, strip soil from mountains to mine minerals, damage ocean bottoms with deep-water nets, and cut down forests for wood products. All of these are habitats for wildlife.

HInvasive SpeciesHumans have introduced species into areas where they have no natural predators. Without natural controls, the invasive species overpopulate rapidly, crowing out native species.

Kudzu theres a house under there.


Purple Loosestrife


PollutionDebris, oil spills, and toxic chemicals pollute waterways, air, and soil. Pesticides and herbicides used on farms, lawns gardens, and golf courses contribute to local pollution.

PPopulationHuman population has increased exponentially and is still climbing. Large populations need large amounts of resources, but at the same time occupy land that might otherwise have supplied resources.


OverharvestAncient bison in North American may have been hunted to extinction. The dodo, the passenger pigeon, and the Great Auk have all gone extinct due to overhunting.

OOf the five HIPPO factors, which causes extinctions the fastest?

Habitat destructionInvasive speciesPopulation (human)PollutionOverharvestSo why dont peoplesimply stop polluting, reproducing excessively, and start using resources wisely?The Tragedy of the Commons scenario helps explain the human mindset that interferes with this simple solution.Common Pool ResourcesThese are resource that: 1) are available in limited supply (either they do not renew, or renew more slowly than they are being used)2) are openly available for use, and3) it is costly to prevent people from using the resources.

When it comes to Common Pool Resources:It is in the communitys best interest to control how the resource is used so that the resource will not be depleted and will be available for all.It is in the individuals best interest to get as much of the resource as possible.

Part of the problem is that nations all over the world have economies that rely on a linear system of resource extraction and disposal. Our linear system relies on over-exploitation of common pool resources.Linear systems are not sustainable. Material extraction MUST be tied to material recovery and re-use, just like a natural ecosystem, to be sustainable.

The current situation was no accident. In the 1950s, the U.S. made a deliberate move from being a nation of producers to being a nation of consumers in order to grow the economy.It has been estimated that if everyone in the world lived as people do in Western nations, we would need about 4 Earths to sustain us.

We dont have these.We only have this.

In 2013, Earth Overshoot Day fell on August 20 the day when the world has used as much of Earths resources as Earth can replace in one year.Victor Lebow, U.S. economist under Eisenhower.This is the definition of overshooting carrying capacity.Is it hopeless?Never in the history of the Earth has one species had such an enormous effect.However, unlike other organisms, humans have choices about how they live and how they use resources. Our past decisions have gotten us into this mess. Our future decisions can solve the problem.Lessons from NatureRemember the features of a renewable, self-sustaining natural community:Stable populations at or below carrying capacityBiological diversityRecycling of all raw materialsReliance on sustainable energy (solar)Stable populations at or below carrying capacityHumans, unlike other organisms, have the ability to choose whether to reproduce or not. Some societies have created laws to regulate populations. Others have relied on incentives, or have left the issue to individual choice. The issue becomes complex if a society depends on a large number of young people to support the aged.

Okay, not like this.

What are some unexpected effects of small families? Biological diversityPreserving biological diversity in nature, in agriculture, and even in our human communities is becoming increasingly important.

Ecosystem servicesIndirect, beneficial services maintaining soil fertility pollination seed dispersal waste decomposition regulation of local climate flood control erosion control pollution control pest control wildlife habitat repository of genesDirectly used substances food plants and animals building materials fiber and fabric materials fuel medicinal plants oxygen replenishmentEcosystem services are direct and indirect benefits humans receive from the environment.

Humans have directly benefitted from biodiversity.Drugs derived from plants and animals.

Andean PotatoesForest mushroomsTropical fruitsA diverse ecosystem yields a diversity of foods.

Natural rivers meander, creating a richly diverse wetland ecosystem. Humans also benefit indirectly from intact, diverse ecosystems.

Channelizing rivers, reducing wetlands, and cutting down trees along rivers changes the ecosystem.Loss of wetland diversity means loss of species. Sediments that would be deposited along the river system and in islands around the mouth of the river flows straight out to sea.

New Orleans was once protected by the many islands in the Mississippi Delta.Much of the sediment that built those islands now runs out to the sea. The islands have eroded, leaving less protection against hurricanes.

The term ecosystem services refers to:

Direct and indirect benefits humans receive from the ecosystem.How the ecosystem supplies our needs even when we extract resources at a high rate.When humans do service projects to help restore ecosystems.

YellowstoneNational ParkOn a large scale, National Parks, the wildlife refuge system, and public lands can contribute to the preservation of habitat and biodiversity.

transitionareaAllows developments andtourism, as well as sustainablefishing, forestry and agriculture.Allows experimental research,education, training, tourism,and low impact development.Protected; may allowanimal monitoring andlow impact development.corereservebufferzoneBiologists are studying how biological reserves can co-exist with human communities and allow for multiple uses.

buffer zonescore reservecore reservecorridorssmallreserveConnecting reserves with wildlife corridors vastly increases the value of individual reserves. Animals can make use of a much larger area of land, which benefits top carnivores that need large territories.Wildlife preserves in our current Wildlife Refuge system can be considered:

CorridorsCore reservesBuffer zonesRoutes that are maintained between preserved habitat are called:

Core zonesPreservesCorridorsTransits

Modern agriculture relies on vast monocultures of crop plants; the exact opposite of diversity. Monocultures are easier to harvest, but more vulnerable to diseases and pests than mixed crops.

Sustainable agricultural practices help preserve topsoil, reduce the need for pesticides and fertilizers, and can help support natural diversity as well.Most sustainable agriculture is currently practiced on a small scale, but sustainably-grown food can be found at farmers markets, U-pick farms, and from Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms.

Permaculture and mixed-crop agriculture supports a diverse soil food web, which supports the crops. These methods tend to be more labor-intensive.A good place to buy sustainably grown food is:

McDonaldsA major grocery storeA farmers marketA mallRecycling of all raw materialsIn nature, all materials are recycled. Humans can also recycle raw materials. Making new products from recycled materials uses much less energy than making products from raw materials from nature. BUT recycling only works if there is a market for recycled products.

Besides recycling to conserve natural resources, reusing items, repairing items, and reducing overall consumption are important: Reduce, Reuse, Repair, then Recycle.

Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without

Not buying stuff in the first place helps reduce material consumption and resource over-exploitation. When you shop for gifts or are thinking of what to do with the weekend, think of doing rather than consuming.

Movie or concert ticketsZoo or museum memberships

Take someone outdoors and do something fun.

Help someone with their cleaning or gardening.

Reliance on sustainable energyWind, solar, and geothermal energy are available from nature in unlimited supply. Using these in a sustainable way means developing energy-harvesting methods that are efficient, cost-effective, have a low impact in nature, and produce far more energy than the energy required to manufacture them.

Harvest of renewable energy can be practiced on a community-wide or individual basis.

New material technologies make alternative energy more reliable, accessible, and feasible. Solar glass and roof tiles, for example, integrate solar energy collection into building design, turning entire structures into electricity generators.And hey Solar freakin roadways!

Real change requires more than just recycling your pop cans. Real change requires a change in thinking from More is better to Better is better. Better stuff rather than more stuff. Better energy sources rather than more energy use. Better, more active living rather than more shopping.What can I do?You may hear: Its impossible to be a locavore and eat only locally-grown food. Give it up and just eat regular food.But you can think, I can eat some locally-grown food. I can commit to buying a pound of produce each week at the farmers market.You may hear: Organic food and recycled products are too expensive. You should save money.But you can think, I can save money lots of ways. And I can buy some organic food and recycled products.You may think: I live in an apartment. Theres no way I can install solar panels and go solar.But you can think: But hey, heres this really cool crowd-funded project for a green company Im interested in.You may hear: Money talks. Lobbyists have the money, and politicians listen to them.But you can think: I can write to my representatives, and join a group working on an issue, until they DO hear us.There is always something you can do, no matter how small. Lots of small actions add up to a big effect.

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are, right now.THIS project was started by a student in college.

Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall makes the point that to save the environment, we must also help the people who depend on that environment.Jane Goodall talk on the TED siteDiscuss and list specific ways in which your community contributes to:Preservation of biodiversityRecycling materials (also, Reduce, Reuse, Repair) Using renewable energyWhich of these have you participated in?


TOGETHERRecapHumans as a species have a huge and devastating effect on biodiversity worldwide.The Tragedy of the Commons scenario pits long-term benefits to the community against short-term benefits to the individual.Humans can make conscious choices. We can choose to contribute or not contribute to environmental destruction.