Can the World Really Set Aside Half of the Planet for Wildlife? Tony Hiss; Smithsonian Magazine; Sept 2014
- The eminent evolutionary biologist E.O. Wilson has an audacious vision for saving Earth from a cataclysmic extinction event
Rewilding: Who are we to dictate what species live where? John Burnside; New Statesman; 28 Aug 2013
- The idea of “rewilding” the environment with depleted species seems sound. But, warns John Burnside, we mustn’t manipulate the world — which wasn’t built around us — just to suit our impractical fantasies.
Thinking Like an Elephant George Monbiot; 15 Jun 2015
- Large carnivores face serious threats and are experiencing massive declines in their populations and geographic ranges around the world. We highlight how these threats have affected the conservation status and ecological functioning of the 31 largest mammalian carnivores on Earth. Consistent with theory, empirical studies increasingly show that large carnivores have substantial effects on the structure and function of diverse ecosystems. Significant cascading trophic interactions, mediated by their prey or sympatric mesopredators, arise when some of these carnivores are extirpated from or repatriated to ecosystems. Unexpected effects of trophic cascades on various taxa and processes include changes to bird, mammal, invertebrate, and herpetofauna abundance or richness; subsidies to scavengers; altered disease dynamics; carbon sequestration; modified stream morphology; and crop damage. Promoting tolerance and coexistence with large carnivores is a crucial societal challenge that will ultimately determine the fate of Earth’s largest carnivores and all that depends upon them, including humans.
When wolves return to the wild, everything changes Yao-Hua Law; BBC Earth; 17 May 2017
- Account of reintroduction of top predators in various parts of the world - not just the Yellowstone wolves - and discussion of the pro and cons of interfering with top predtor / mesopredator relationships.
How Wolves Change Rivers George Monbiot
HAS THE REINTRODUCTION OF WOLVES REALLY SAVED YELLOWSTONE? Emily Gertz; Popular Science; 14 Mar 2014
Is the Wolf a Real American Hero? New York Times
Maybe Wolves Don’t Change Rivers, After All Richard Conniff; Strange Behaviours (blog); 10 Mar 2014
- ... reintroducing wolves to their former home range across the American West is a major benefit to wildlife and healthy habitats. It is also essential. All this article says is that the results are not as quick or simple as some environmentalists want to believe:
Pine Martens and squirrels
Devon beavers are officially working their magic Rewilding Britain; 12 Jun 2016
- The latest data from Okehampton reveal incredible results. Sara King and Cain Blythe from ecological consultancy Ecosulis, and Mark Elliott from the Devon Wildlife Trust, describe the boom in biodiversity seen at the Devon Beaver Trial
- How Whales change climate narrated by George Monbiot
- references in the video description; also (from a comment):
- It has previously been asserted that baleen whales compete with fisheries by consuming potentially harvestable marine resources. The regularly applied “surplus-yield model” suggests that whale prey becomes available to fisheries if whales are removed, and has been presented as a justification for whaling. However, recent findings indicate that whales enhance ecosystem productivity by defecating iron that stimulates primary productivity in iron-limited waters. While juvenile whales and whales that are pregnant or lactating retain iron for growth and milk production, nonbreeding adult whales defecate most of the iron they consume. Here, we modify the surplus-yield model to incorporate iron defecation. After modeling a simplistic trajectory of blue whale recovery to historical abundances, the traditional surplus-yield model predicts that 1011 kg of carbon yr−1 would become unavailable to fisheries. However, this ignores the nutrient recycling role of whales. Our model suggests the population of blue whales would defecate 3 × 106 kg of iron yr−1, which would stimulate primary production equivalent to that required to support prey consumption by the blue whale population. Thus, modifying the surplus-yield model to include iron defecation indicates that blue whales do not render marine resources unavailable to fisheries. By defecating iron-rich feces, blue whales promote Southern Ocean productivity, rather than reducing fishery yields.
- Whales Keep Carbon out of the Atmosphere Kavya Balaraman, Scientific American / E&E News from Climate Wire; 11 Apr 2017
- Whales facilitate carbon absorption in two ways. On the one hand, their movements — especially when diving — tend to push nutrients from the bottom of the ocean to the surface, where they feed the phytoplankton and other marine flora that suck in carbon, as well as fish and other smaller animals. The other ... is by producing fecal plumes. “In other words, pooing,” ... “That also introduces nutrients that create marine plants in the area. These plants use photosynthesis, which absorbs carbon, thus enhancing the carbon capture process.”
- But as waters steadily grow warmer, whales may not be able to survive in the region. It’s difficult to predict just how climate change will affect the species, said Barefoot, because they’re part of a complicated ecosystem with many interlinked species.
Recovery: The Miracle on Palmyra TED WILLIAMS; Cool Green Science; 15 Dec 2015
- Elimination of rats and recovery of native wildlife on Palmyra Atoll, a thousand miles south of Hawaiʻi
Artificial reefs / subway cars
What Ever Happened to All Those Subway Cars We Dumped into the Atlantic? Starre Vartan; Mental Floss; 28 Nov 2015
- Simon Thorrold, a scientist in the biology department at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, told mental_floss, “There is no doubt that if you put subway cars into areas with little hard structure, they will attract invertebrates, and then they will attract fish.”
- But it’s hard to know whether that additional habitat is increasing fish populations or just moving them around, “The question is: Are you increasing productivity? Or just aggregating fish that are [already] there?" Thorrold says. "If it's the latter, you just make the fish easier to catch. Which is not necessarily bad, but you can't claim that the reef is adding fish."