Friday, December 24, 2010


                             Wish you a very happy X'mas and New Year 

Next blog post will be only on 1st of January. Have a great time.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Roadsides Vegetation can be used as a Carbon Sink

I read the other day a very interesting paper on the possibility of using roadside vegetation as carbon sink.
The study was carried out through GIS techniques and two regions were considered. A set of equations was used to estimate the rate of occupancy over the study areas, as well as amounts of fixed C under the above scenarios. The authors say the average occupancy rate was 0.06%. The simulation showed a higher potential for C sequestration in scenario 2, being the estimated amounts of CO2 sequestered from the atmosphere per km of roadside: 131 tons of CO2 km-1 of highway to native species and 655 tons of CO2 km-1 of highway for exotic species (over period of 10 years for both estimates).  The authors claim that it is possible to predict the very high potential for C sequestration if managers and planners consider roadside as area for afforestation.

Roadside vegetation: estimation and potential for carbon sequestration
 Braga Alves C , Alves SH 
Journal of Biogeosciences and Forestry 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Delayed Legacy of Invasive Species

I am posting this in between my break

I read yesterday a very interesting paper titled “Socioeconomic legacy yields an invasion debt”

Globalization and economic growth are widely recognized as important drivers of biological invasions. Recent studies have demonstrated that on broad spatial scales, the impact of human activities overwhelms the influence of climate and geography on species invasions.   The new research demonstrate that socioeconomic legacies on alien-species richness are important across a broad array of taxonomic groups and might extend back at least one century. The authors say “However, many of the most problematic alien species are not recent arrivals but were introduced several decades ago. Hence, current patterns of alien-species richness may better reflect historical rather than contemporary human activities, a phenomenon which might be called “invasion debt.” Their results suggest that the consequences of the current high levels of socioeconomic activity on the extent of biological invasions will probably not be completely realized until several decades into the future.
Socioeconomic legacy yields an invasion debt

Freely available online through the PNAS open access option

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Cross Post from

We don't usually post the same thing on Highrange Tidings and Tahrcountry. Here is something that is of great interest to wildlife mangers. So I am posting here also, what I had posted on Tahrcountry. This is to facilitate better readership from the mangers.

A Must Read Paper for Wildlife Managers

I am still in the midst of my break. I just read this interesting paper on human leopard conflict and thought it is worth an immediate post.

Translocation as a Tool for Mitigating Conflict with Leopards in Human-Dominated Landscapes of India


Conservation Biology,

A few years back, I was pilloried by self styled environmentalists for opposing vehemently the translocation of a leopard from Wayand to Parmabikulam.  For the men at the top and for the uninitiated politicians it is a quick fix method for alleviating the man animal conflict. They never bother about the ecological impacts. A release without a comprehensive study of all factors involved is fraught with lot of imponderables.

VIDYA ATHREYA,     MORTEN ODDEN JOHN D. C. LINNELL and  ULLAS KARANTH  have  come up  with an excellent paper on the impacts of translocation of leopards based on their study in the Junnar region (4275 km2, 185 people/km2), Maharashtra, India. The authors’ report that prior to the large-scale translocation program, there was an average of four leopard attacks on humans each year between 1993 and 2001. Surprisingly after the translocation program was initiated, the average increased to 17 attacks.

The attacks decreased when leopards were removed for releases far away. According to the authors potential explanations for the aberrant behavior include increased aggression induced by stress of the translocation process, movement through unfamiliar human-dominated landscapes following release, and loss of fear of humans due to familiarity with humans acquired during captivity.

The study emphasize the potential ineffectiveness of translocation to reduce human–carnivore conflict   The authors suggest that making improvements to the administration of compensation programme for wildlife attacks and linking this to some form of insurance scheme that can be administered by local communities might help increase tolerance for low intensity, chronic predation on livestock by leopards. This is likely to decrease the demand for management action to remove leopards.

I feel this paper is a must read for the wildlife managers. So guys go ahead and read it.

I am thankful to Dr Ullas Karanth for sending me a copy of the paper.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Taking a Break

I am taking a break for the next 10 days. Consequently, there won't be any updates during this period.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Climate talks - Legally binding commitments not acceptable Jairam Rameshji

Dear Jairam Rameshji,
                                  I am writing what an ordinary citizen of the country feels. Remember it is these guys that have put politicians like you on the driver's seat.
                                 Legally binding commitments are not acceptable right now. May be at a distant future date, when things have been sorted out we can think about it. Your intention may be to give India's image a boost but it has proved counterproductive in the mind of the ordinary citizen He feels it is a sellout of country's interests.  We don't want any instrument that is against the present tenets of Kyoto protocol.

                               I am repeating here what I had written in one of my early blogpost. 
If each person on the planet has the right to the same carbon footprint, the scale and speed of emissions cuts required by developed nations is far greater than the commitments governments are currently willing to make
If the world is to have a 2-in-3 chance of staying within the 2 °C rise between now and 2050 no more than 750 billion tonnes of carbon can be released between these two dates. If this calculated emission is distributed according to population levels, many developed nations would face almost immediate carbon bankruptcy.
At current rates and with 4.6 per cent of global population, the US would receive a 35 billion tonne allowance between now and 2050. US would use it up in around six years. The European Union's budget would run out in 12 years and China's in 24.  India and Brazil's allowances would last 88 and 46 years respectively at current rates.
Industrialized countries are duty bound to carry out rapid and comprehensive decarbonisation if there is any credibility in their utterances. So take up the cudgel Rameshji instead of going on the defensive

Post Script: This is not about climate talk: This is about the pat down of Indian Ambassador in US. The ordinary citizen on the street feels that US ambassador to India also should also be subjected to same kind of searches. He does not want any statements like “We are taking up the matter with US”. If I am the external affairs minister I would keep quiet and put a probe up the arse of US ambassador on his next visit to an Indian airport.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Tools for modeling wildlife corridors

A couple of my friends asked me the other day details about tools available for modeling wildlife corridors. To the best of my knowledge the ideal source of information for the job is

The copyright for the entire description belong to

Here is what is available at  They are best suited for designing corridors in a heterogenous landscape at a regional (e.g. 2 - 500 km long) scale.
CorridorDesigner  provides one method of modeling wildlife corridors with ArcGIS.

Here are some other free tools for modeling wildlife or ecological corridors, connectivity, or habitat.
Circuitscape is a stand-alone Python program which borrows algorithms from circuit theory to predict patterns of movement, gene flow, and genetic differentiation among populations in heterogeneous landscapes. It uses raster habitat maps as input, and predicts connectivity and movement patterns between user-defined points on the landscape. Circuitscape is distributed by Brad McRae of the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) at University of California, Santa Barbara.
The Connectivity Analysis Toolkit provides conservation planners with newly-developed tools for both linkage mapping and landscape-level 'centrality' analysis. Centrality refers to a group of landscape metrics that rank the importance of sites as gatekeepers for flow across a landscape network. The Toolkit allows users to develop and compare three contrasting centrality metrics based on input data representing habitat suitability or permeability, in order to determine which areas, across the landscape as a whole, would be priorities for conservation measures that might facilitate connectivity and dispersal. The Toolkit also allows application of these approaches to the more common question of mapping the best habitat linkages between a source and a target patch.
FunConn is a functional connectivity modeling toolbox for ArcGIS, distributed by Dave Theobald and the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory at Colorado State University. The goal of the functional connectivity model is to allow landscape connectivity to be examined from a functional perspective. Functional connectivity recognizes that individuals, species or processes respond functionally (or behaviorally) to the physical structure of the landscape. From this perspective, landscape connectivity is specific to a landscape and species/individual/process under investigation.
Formerly called ArcRstats, the HabMod/ConnMod toolboxes produce multivariate habitat prediction rasters using ArcGIS and the open-source R statistical package for implementing classification and regression (CART), generalized linear models (GLM) and generalized additive models (GAM), and includes a connectivity modeling toolbox. The toolbox is distributed by Pat Halpin and the Marine Geospatial Ecology Laboratory at Duke University
Conefor Sensinode quantifies the importance of habitat areas for the maintenance or improvement of landscape connectivity. It is conceived as a tool for decision-making support in landscape planning and habitat conservation, through the identification and prioritization of critical sites for ecological connectivity.
Path Matrix is a tool for ArcView 3 to compute matrices of effective geographic distances among samples, based on a least-cost path algorithm. It was developed by Nicholas Ray of the Computational and Molecular Population Genetics Lab, University of Bern, Switzerland.
openModeller aims to provide a flexible, user friendly, cross-platform environment where the entire process of conducting a fundamental niche modeling experiment can be carried out. The software includes facilities for reading species occurrence and environmental data, selection of environmental layers on which the model should be based, creating a fundamental niche model and projecting the model into an environmental scenario.
StatMod is an extension for ArcView 3.3 that helps users create logistic regression and CART models using the statistical packages SAS and S-PLUS. It is distributed by Chris Garard of Utah State University.
Maxent provides a maximum-entropy approach for species habitat modeling. The software takes as input a set of layers or environmental variables (such as elevation, precipitation, etc.), as well as a set of georeferenced occurrence locations, and produces a model of the range of the given species. It is distributed by Princeton University.
GRASP (Generalized Regression and Spatial Prediction) is a package for the statistical softwares R and S-PLUS for creating predictive models of species distributions using Generalized Additive Models (GAMs). It is distributed by A. Lehmann, J.R. Leathwick and J.McC. Overton at the Landcare Research Institute, New Zealand.
BioMapper is a stand-alone package for developing ecological niche and habitat suitability models using only a species presence data. It is distributed by Alexandre Hirzel of the Laboratory For Conservation Biology, University of Lausanne, Switzerland.
DesktopGarp is a software package for biodiversity and ecologic research that allows the user to predict and analyze species distributions using presence data. The package is distributed by the University of Kansas Natural History Museum.
Spatial Data Modeler is a collection of geoprocessing tools for adding categorical maps with interval, ordinal, or ratio scale maps to produce a predictive map of where something of interest is likely to occur. The tools include the data-driven methods of Weights of Evidence, Logistic Regression, and two supervised and one unsupervised neural network methods, and a knowledge-driven method Fuzzy Logic.
PatchMorph is an extension for ArcMap which delineates habitat patches from a habitat suitability or land cover map.
Marxan delivers decision support for reserve system design. Marxan finds reasonably efficient solutions to the problem of selecting a system of spatially cohesive sites that meet a suite of biodiversity targets.
PANDA is a stand-alone application developed to provide a user friendly framework for systematic protected areas network design to ArcGIS users. Through the use of P.A.N.D.A. the designer can explore different hypothetical configurations of a system of protected areas in the planning area.
CLUZ is an ArcView GIS interface that allows users to design protected area networks and conservation landscapes. It can be used for on-screen planning and also acts as a link for the MARXAN conservation planning software. It is currently being developed at DICE and is funded by the British Government through their Darwin Initiative for the Survival of Species.
LINK is a set of ArcGIS tools designed to analyze habitat patterns across a landscape. LINK uses species habitat matrices to model potential species habitat and habitat diversity. What sets LINK apart from its predecessors is that it uses raster data sources—raster data sources allow LINK to model habitat over a much larger area than its vector based ancestors.
Jenness Enterprises has created many extensions for ArcView 3.3 useful to ecological applications. Jeff Jenness created the CorridorDesigner ArcMap extension.
Hawth's Analysis Tools is an extension for ArcGIS (specifically ArcMap). It is designed to perform spatial analysis and functions that cannot be conveniently accomplished with out-of-the-box ArcGIS. Most of these analysis tools have been written within the context of ecological applications such as movement analysis, resource selection, predator prey interactions and trophic cascades.

New Trends in Monitoring Tigers

The other day I read a very interesting  paper “Monitoring tigers with confidence” authored by Matthew LINKIE,Gurutzeta GUILLERA-ARROITA,Joseph SMITH, and D. Mark RAYAN.
The paper gave me insights in to the latest trends in tiger monitoring. With the tiger population on the decline, conservationists urgently need to know whether or not the management strategies currently being employed are effectively protecting these tigers. This knowledge depends on the ability to reliably monitor tiger populations.

2 seminal methodologies, camera traps and occupancy surveys have enabled the monitoring of tiger populations with greater confidence. The paper discusses in detail these two methodologies.

The authors say only 2 published camera trap studies have gone beyond single baseline assessments and actually monitored population trends. .For low density tiger populations obtaining sufficient precision, from camera trapping remain a challenge. This is because of insufficient detection probabilities and/orsample sizes. Occupancy surveys have overcome this problem by redefining the sampling unit. They go for grid cells and not individual tigers.

Use of genetic information for identifying and monitoring tigers opens up exciting possibilities. The impact of the different threats to tiger populations and their response to varying management intervention is made much more feasible with the adoption of these complementary studies.

The authors say for most priority tiger conservation areas, tiger population trend data and associated threat and environmental correlates remain unknown. They wind up the paper with the following sentence” Thus, the repeated implementation of the rigorous approaches described in this paper are essential to demonstrate to protected area managers, donors and policy-makers alike those strategies that work and, just as importantly, those that do not work, so that systematic evaluations can be made for improved management of tiger and other endangered species in the wild (Sutherland et al. 2004).”

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Here Comes Natural Pest Control of Coffee Berry Borer

Here is something that is sure to enthuse coffee growers.

Coffee berry borer is a big threat for coffee growers. It is the most widespread coffee pest in coffee producing countries.  The female coffee borer drills galleries into the coffee berries where she deposits her eggs. The larvae then feed on the coffee berries.  The losses are enormous. Yearly coffee losses are pegged at US $500 million.

Now, Dr. Juliana Jaramillo from the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology in Kenya, Dr. Eric Chapman from the University of Kentucky, and colleagues have come up with a biological control of the pest.  They have identified a previously unknown predatory thrips (Karnyothrips flavipes ). These thrips feed on the eggs and larvae of the coffee berry borer Hypothenemus hampei.

The researchers believe that their findings provide coffee growers and coffee scientists with new insights into a biological control agent that could be conserved and augmented in coffee growing regions.

Details of the research appear in the journal Naturwissenschaften.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Unfulfilled Dream of Ratan Tata – A Post Script

Again we are veering a wee bit from wildlife. A few days back we had published a blog post, titled " The Unfulfilled Dream of Ratan Tata". We had extolled the virtues of the Tatas, highlighting their social commitment. Lot of water has flowed down the bridge since then. Fast paced developments involving 2G has surfaced and allegations have flown thick and fast.


The 2G 'tapegate' has rocked the nation questioning the very sincerity of Tata business house. The transcripts of Radia's conversations, with politicians, industrialists and journalists, published by Outlook have taken a heavy toll of the credibility of lot of people.  A central government-ordered inquiry into the Radia tapes is in full swing.


We still hold Tata in great esteem. We feel that the social commitment of Tatas is unparalleled. What Ambanis and other corporate houses have done for the society pale in to insignificance when compared to what the Tatas have done.


While extolling the virtues of Tatas, we feel that the Supreme Court petition filed by Ratan Tata asking the question whether the publication of the Radia tapes aren't a violation of privacy rights, was a bad ploy. His comments of India becoming a banana republic are also uncalled for. These two events have left a bad taste in the mouth of lot of people.


What Ratanji should have done was to acknowledge the mistake. To err is human. He should have said sorry and vowed never to repeat these mistakes. His stock would have gone up in the minds of the people of India.


I have interacted with Ratan Tata on his first visit to Munnar. We had only shook hands and exchanged couple of sentences, but what struck me was the humility of the great man. I was bowled over by the unassuming manner of Ratanji.


Ratanji may have overstepped the boundary in the mad rat race of survival in the corporate world, at the behest of his advisors. It is quite pardonable against the backdrop of what he has done for the society. At the same time there was no need for him to hide behind the cloak of Supreme Court petition. He has some bad advisors around him. It is quite possible that there is a Trojan horse lurking somewhere.


We wish Ratanji all the best. We are sure that he will come out of this difficult time unscathed.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Untrained Wildlife Wardens, Here is a Piece of Advice For You

Many of our wildlife reserves are managed by officers, who have no formal training in wildlife management. This creates lot of impediments in properly managing wildlife reserves.

I agree that it may not be a feasible proposition to train all officers in wildlife management techniques. Let me ask you a small question. What prevents you from reading wildlife literature? Read everything that you can lay your hands on, concerning the species that you manage. If you are thorough with ecology and behaviour of the species, you will not go wrong in your assessment of ecosystem needs. You will not go about building check dams where it is not needed. You will not go about scraping grass in a pristine grass land ecosystem. I am giving two examples. The list is lengthy.

Reading literature also empowers you. You will be able to talk on equal terms with scientists. You will create a great image about the department in the minds of people interacting with you. The name of the state also gets a boost in the process.

So guys go ahead and read pertinent literature. This is not sermon; it is a sane piece of advice from a man who has spent 30 years in wildlife and has gone around the world after retirement on the strength of experience gained in the field. I can assure you, it is big bonus that you gain in the field. People sit up and take notice of what you are talking and they do it with rapt attention.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hummingbirds and Gusty Winds

                                                         Image Courtesy: New Mexico State University.

I have always been fascinated by hummingbirds and wondered how the small birds tackle gusty winds. Now the scientists have come up with an answer. A team of researchers at New Mexico State University, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Technische Universiteit Eindhoven, and Continuum Dynamics Inc. has built a robotic hummingbird wing to discover the answer.

The wings of hummingbirds oscillate in a figure eight pattern to produce lift on both the downstroke and upstroke. This way they achieve that extra lift they need to hover by creating a vortex on the leading edges of their wings. The Scientists explain that the wings create the vortex with a high angle of attack on the downstroke. Then they flip their wings around on the upstroke, so as they shed one vortex, they create another on the other side of the wing, thereby managing to maintain high lift forces. Thus hummingbirds continually readjust their wing angles to maintain high lift forces.

The researchers hope to identify robust algorithms that will allow the creation of stable ornithopters that can operate reliably under real-life conditions for surveillance and other applications.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Biggest Zoological Discoveries of All Time

BBC wildlife magazine has selected a list of the biggest zoological discoveries of all time. I found it very interesting. The list is given below, in forward order.
10) Tool use by chimps
In 1960, Jane Goodall discovered that chimps in Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania stripped leaves from twigs and inserted them into termite mounts to fish for grubs. The discovery challenged anthropologists' description of humankind as "man the toolmaker".
9) Symbiosis in coral
What we call coral is the hard shells of animals called polyps. But these marine creatures would die were it not for a symbiotic relationship with photosynthesising algae called zooxanthellae. The algae take up residence inside the polyps, trading the products of photosynthesis for a safe haven.
8) How the giant squid hunts
The giant squid is the largest invertebrate on the planet, but lives at such inaccessible depths that little was known of its behaviour in the wild. In 2004, Japanese scientists Tsunemi Kubodera and Kyoichi Mori lowered a bait-laden video camera 900 metres under the sea and snapped around 50 images of the beast in action. The footage showed the squid lunging, tentacles first, out of the gloom.
7) Migration routes
Modern tagging techniques have provided researchers with detailed knowledge of where birds migrate to with the change of the seasons, but for thousands of years their whereabouts was shrouded in mystery. Outlandish speculations ranged from the birds hibernating at the bottom of ponds, flapping up to the moon, or simply staying put but morphing into new species.
6) Mendelian inheritance
It took the patience and perseverance of Gregor Mendel, a 19th century monk, to discover that traits were passed on from one generation to the next. Mendel, who grew thousands of pea plants and painstakingly observed their inherited characteristics, showed that each new generation received "elements" from both of its parents, and that some were recessive and others dominant, thereby laying the foundations of genetic inheritance.
5) Death of the dodo
The extinction of the dodo stands as the most striking example of the human impact on wildlife. The last of its kind were alive in the late 17th or early 18th century.
4) Hydrothermal vents
The discovery of marine creatures living around geothermally heated water that gushed from cracks in the seabed overturned the notion that sunlight sustained all life on Earth.
3) Photosynthesis
The process by which plants use sunlight to convert carbon dioxide and water into sugars and oxygen underpins most of life on Earth. It is hard to credit any one researcher with the discovery, though key findings were made by the Dutchman Jan Ingenhousz in 1779, who revealed the crucial role of sunlight in driving the process.
2) Microscopic life
The 17th century Dutch scientist Antonie Philips van Leeuwenhoek made some of the best microscopes of his time, using them to discover microorganisms, or "animalcules". His work led to dramatic re-evaluations of the causes of disease and improvements in hygiene.
1) Transitional species
The most impressive breakthough of all, according to the judges, was the discovery of the fossilised remains of Archaeopteryx, a creature that shares some features with ancient reptiles and others with modern birds. The transitional species – often misleadingly called a missing link – lived around 150 million years ago and had wings and feathers, but also claws, teeth and a long, bony tail. More than any other discovery, Archaeopteryx helped drive the idea of evolution into the public consciousness.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Take Action to Ban Dangerous Endosulfan

Endosulfan is an extremely hazardous and outdated agro-chemical banned in over 70 countries, including all EU countries, the US, Australia.lia and Brazil

Environmental justice Foundation(EJF) is spearheading a movement around the world, to force the arm of Government of India, to ban this dangerous chemical. India is one of the few countries sticking on to this outdated chemical .You can make a difference with your strident voice. Click HERE  to read about the efforts of EJF and sign a petition.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Unfulfilled Dream of Ratan Tata

This blog usually blogs about wildlife matters. Today I am making an exception.

 I am an unabashed admirer of Tatas. No other business house in India has their social commitment. While I was working as Assistant Wildlife Warden and Wildlife Warden of Eravkulam National Park, I have received unstinted support from Tatas for wildlife conservation. One of the General Mangers of Tata Tea, Mr. M.R.P Lappin had left standing instructions that when the wildlife warden come calling, even if there is an important meeting the wildlife warden should be ushered in.

I was fortunate to realize my dream of flying when I was young.  Flying solo in the small Pushpak aircraft of Trivandrum Flying Club was an exhilarating experience. I had read so much about the pioneering effort of JRD Tata to bring in civil aviation to India, in those days. I had always wondered why Tatas did not enter the civil aviation field when the field was opened up in India, even though they were instrumental in forming Air India in the 1930s, which was later on taken over by the Government. Now the reason has come out straight from the horse’s mouth. Tatas indeed wanted to start an airline in cooperation with Singapore airlines. A minister asked for a bribe of 15 crores which Ratan Tata was not willing to pay. What a shame........    Mr Rattan Tata divulged the information while answering questions after delivering a lecture on 'India in 21st Century: Opportunities and Challenges' in Dehra Dun.  In any other country he would have been a hero and the key for starting the airline handed over to him on a gold platter.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

US wildlife officer killed by poacher

In a rare incident of its kind in USA, a Pennsylvania wildlife conservation officer, David Grove, 31, was killed on 12th of this month in a shootout with a man using a spotlight for illegal hunting. He is the first wildlife officer to die in the line of duty in the state since 1915. The last Pennsylvania Game Commission officer to be shot and killed in the line of duty was Joseph McHugh in Weatherly, Carbon County, on Nov. 7, 1915.
Grove had served as volunteer deputy for several years before becoming a fulltime conservation officer two years ago. He was a very dedicated officer going after poachers with single-minded purpose. This month's Pennsylvania Game News includes an article by Grove, "A Shot in the Dark," where he describes an encounter with poachers while he was on patrol with a cadet.

We at High Range Tidings  doff our hats in memory of this brave wildlife conservation officer.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

International Conference on Forestry Education and Research for the Asia Pacific Region, Manila, Philippines

International Conference on Forestry Education and Research for the Asia Pacific Region
Manila, Philippines
November 23-25 2010

This international conference aims to strengthen the contribution of forestry education and research towards sustainable forest management against the backdrop of the changing priorities and needs of the Asia Pacific Region. It plans to act as a forum linking education and research to ensure that would-be foresters are constant recipients of vital research information that they need in the execution of their duties and functions.
Key objectives are
(1) To assess the state of forestry education and research in the Asia-Pacific Region;
(2)To identify major issues and challenges confronting the forestry education and research sectors; and
(3) To initiate the process of charting the future direction of forestry education and research

For further details, please contact:
Forestry Development Center
College of Forestry and Natural Resources
University of the Philippines Los Baños
College, Laguna 4031, PHILIPPINES
Telephone: +64 49 536-3097 | 536-2341

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What Do Ecological Paradigms Offer to Conservation?

International Journal of Ecology
Volume 2010, Article ID 250754, 9 pages

Here is a good paper worth perusing. I found it very interesting. I am giving below the abstract as it is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License

Ecological theory provides applications to biodiversity management—but often falls short of expectations. One possibility is that heuristic theories of a young science are too immature. Logistic growth predicts a carrying capacity, but fisheries managed with theLotka-Volterra paradigm continue to collapse. A second issue is that general predictions may not be useful. The theory of islandbiogeography predicts species richness but does not predict community composition. A third possibility is that the theory itself may not have much to do with nature, or that empirical parameterization is too difficult to know. The metapopulation paradigmis relevant to conservation, but metapopulations might not be common in nature. For instance, empirical parameterization within the metapopulation paradigm is usually infeasible. A challenge is to determine why ecology fails to match needs of managers sometimes but helps at other. Managers may expect too much of paradigmatic blueprints, while ecologists believe them too much. Those who implement biodiversity conservation plans need simple, pragmatic guidelines based on science. Is this possible? What is possible? An eclectic review of theory and practice demonstrate the power and weaknesses of the ideas that guide conservation and attempt to identify reasons for prevailing disappointment.

Copyright © 2010 S. B. Ale and H. F. Howe.
SomB. Ale1, 2 and Henry F. Howe1, 3
1Department of Biological Sciences (m/c 066), University of Illinois at Chicago, 845 W. Taylor Street, Chicago, IL 60607, USA
2Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology, University of Minnesota, 200 Hodson Hall, 1980 Folwell Avenue,
St. Paul, Minnesota, MN 55108, USA
3Department of Zoology, Field Museum of Natural History, 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605, USA