Yet another sick and disturbing part of what has happened to the American federal government over the last year. It’s disturbing to know how many people still support the immensely harmful Trump regime — as it continually enacts policies against their interests (such as the latest corporate welfare package for Wall Street) no less.
Instead of appointing scientists or conservation experts, the International Wildlife Conservation Council is composed almost entirely of celebrity hunting guides, representatives from rifle and bow manufacturers and, of course, wealthy trophy hunters who like to boast about all of their “Big Five” souvenirs.
After reviewing the backgrounds of the new council’s 16 board members, The AP found ten members of the council are high-profile members of Safari Club International, which is a hunting organization that lobbied hard against the (recently overturned) federal ban on elephant and lion trophy imports.
Yet several recent studies have suggested trophy hunting leaves already vulnerable animal populations significantly weakened. Even still, with such a one-sided council, it seems inevitable that the wildlife advisory council will come to the same conclusion as Zinke.
The story of damaging vulnerable animal populations often means that humans miss valuable potential insights about them. There are countless examples of these insights being beneficial, from venom being used to create medicine to the study of bats leading to the development of radar.
There’s been a lot of wildlife losses over the past several decades and a tenth of the wilderness has disappeared since the 1990s. This research on forests and birds is a reminder that that there’s still much that needs to be done to get human activities on a better track.
Old, complex tropical forests support a wider diversity of birds than second-growth forests and have irreplaceable value for conservation, according to an Oregon State University-led exhaustive analysis of bird diversity in the mountains of southern Costa Rica.
During their surveys, researchers found similar numbers of bird species in secondary stands compared to stands comprised entirely or in part of old-growth forest. However, the bird community in secondary forest was clearly shifted towards non-forest species, and only old-growth forest stands tended to include rare birds and to benefit biodiversity across the entire landscape. Scientists reported their results this week in the Journal of Applied Ecology.
The findings are important because in some cases, conservation programs have focused on the potential benefits of secondary forests. Although secondary forests do have value for conservation, the study suggests that primary forests are necessary as sources of biodiversity and as a refuge for species that can colonize other sites that are being restored. Thus, these results suggest that a strategy focussing only on second-growth forests may not benefit conservation-relevant species. Indeed, such stands tend to support only a few common species that can survive in highly disturbed areas.
Effective conservation efforts should include maintenance of large old-growth forest tracts, the scientists wrote, and insure that human activities in the forest do not drive away species that depend on such areas. The results also suggest that restoring forests is likely to be most effective for forest birds if such efforts are performed in the vicinity of primary forest. This is likely because primary forest will provide a source for forest birds that may colonize the restored forest. Relying on secondary forests alone may create “potentially misleading expectations,” researchers wrote, that landscapes significantly modified by people can still accomplish conservation goals.