How eco-agriculture can restore wildlife habitats
What happens to an endangered species?
The answers to these questions have long been elusive and remain a matter of conjecture, but a growing body of research suggests that they are not as simple as they appear.
While it may seem obvious that wildlife can’t live without humans, there is some evidence that suggests it’s not always so simple.
To understand how and why some species are being harmed, researchers turned to the science of ecology, a branch of evolutionary biology that studies how and how closely a species adapts to its environment.
One study looked at how a bird species adapted to its new environment, finding that the population was reduced to less than 10 percent.
Another study examined the impact of habitat destruction and found that wildlife populations were reduced to almost zero in some areas, even though some species that are critical to human survival were found to be thriving in other areas.
“We’re finding that there’s more to ecological changes than simply habitat,” said Sarah Binder, a senior fellow at the American Museum of Natural History and co-author of a new study on the effect of habitat loss on wildlife populations.
“A lot of that is due to human actions, but it’s also due to natural systems changing.”
The studies show that changing ecosystems can affect wildlife, not just species.
In fact, changes to an ecosystem can be as dramatic as the ecological change itself.
“You have to think about the human impact on ecosystems, but also the ecosystem impact,” Binder said.
“How can we make sure that we are not changing that for wildlife that we’re trying to protect?”
Binder is a member of the team that has been tracking the impacts of climate change on wildlife.
The first of her studies looked at the impact climate change has had on bird populations, and she found that changes to a bird’s habitat caused declines in their populations.
In the case of a white-throated parrot, the number of white-headed birds dropped by about 25 percent.
In other words, the loss of habitat caused by climate change led to declines in the population.
The birds, who were found in areas of northern Georgia, were in the middle of a dramatic change in the climate.
In order to stay in the area, the birds had to relocate from their preferred habitats and spend more time in remote areas.
This led to a decrease in white-tailed parrots and other bird species.
This happened even though there were many other species that were thriving in these new habitats.
The impact of climate changes on wildlife is not limited to the birds.
Binder’s work also shows that the impact is much more subtle.
For instance, the impact that climate change had on an endangered Florida panther population had the opposite effect on a species that was only found in the southern part of the state.
The panthers were found living in the coastal wetlands in the western part of Florida, where it’s harder to move them from the wetlands.
As the weather changed, the panthers became more isolated from their natural habitat, which made them less able to find food and mates.
The researchers found that the panther’s population was significantly lower than the populations of other panther species, including those that live in the southeastern and western parts of the island state.
“Climate change is just one of the factors that affects the health of wildlife,” Binders said.
These studies point to the importance of understanding how ecosystems change to better protect wildlife.
“Our hope is that this kind of research will continue to inform conservation decisions and help us to make better decisions on conservation,” Bnder said.
But while these studies are encouraging, Binder stressed that they’re just a beginning.
“There’s a lot more that needs to be done to understand how these systems work,” she said.
This isn’t just a question of protecting species.
It’s also about preserving habitat.
“It’s about maintaining wildlife in the long run,” Bender said.
The bottom line is that we need to think strategically about the future and protect wildlife for generations to come.