JBrown MDSS sustainability

Information about JBrown MDSS sustainability

Published on November 20, 2007

Author: Alfanso

Source: authorstream.com

Content

SUSTAINABILITY: ASSUMPTION, HYPOTHESIS, OXYMORON?:  SUSTAINABILITY: ASSUMPTION, HYPOTHESIS, OXYMORON? James H. Brown Department of Biology University of New Mexico Mojave Desert Science Symposium November 2004 Slide3:  Benchmarks: Ecological Society of America: 1998 Lubchenco et al. The sustainable biosphere initiative 2004 Palmer et al. Ecological science and sustainability for a crowded planet Science: 2001 Kates et al. Sustainability science 2003 McMichael et al. New visions for addressing sustainability Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, USA: 2003 Clark and Dickson. Sustainability science: the emerging research paradigm Books: 1997 Daily. Nature’s services: societal dependence on natural ecosystems 2003 Hall. Quantifying sustainable development 2003 Millenium Ecosystem Assessment. Ecosystems and human well-being Concepts of Sustainability:  Concepts of Sustainability Long history in the environmental sciences Sustainable biosphere: maintenance of “ecological goods and services” to support human population, ecosystem function, and biodiversity Sustainable development: economic progress without social or environmental damage Sustainable agriculture: food and fiber production for human use Sustained yield of natural resources: fisheries, wildlife, timber, livestock forage What is meant by sustainability?:  What is meant by sustainability? Ecological system: productivity biodiversity landscape heterogeneity human population and economy Equilibrial exchange: energy materials organisms humans Input subsidies: energy materials organisms humans Output losses: energy, materials, organisms Sustainable biosphere?:  Sustainable biosphere? Ecological system: 6 billion people modern technological economy agricultural productivity biodiversity “ecosystem services” Input subsidies: fossil fuel energy Output losses: heat Degrading transformations: dispersion of concentrated materials production of toxins and pollutants Sustainable development?:  Sustainable development? Ecological system: improved standard of living modern technological economy agricultural productivity biodiversity “ecosystem services” Input subsidies: fossil fuel energy material resources Output losses: products pollutants Degrading transformations: dispersion of concentrated materials production of toxins and pollutants Sustainable agriculture?:  Sustainable agriculture? Goals: food and fiber production primary production nutrient cycling Input subsidies: fossil fuel energy fertilizers water pesticides human, animal, and machine labor Output losses: harvested products soil erosion pollutants Degrading transformations: altered soil and water regime biodiversity loss Sustainable yield of natural resources?:  Sustainable yield of natural resources? Ecological system: resource productivity “ecosystem function” biodiversity Input subsidies: fossil fuel energy human and machine labor Output losses: natural products timber/fish/meat Degrading transformations: diverse “environmental impacts” Assessment of Sustainability:  Assessment of Sustainability Sustainable biosphere with 6 billion humans? oxymoron energy subsidy from finite supply of fossil fuels Sustainable development? oxymoron inputs of energy and material subsidies outputs of pollutants Sustainable agriculture? hypothesis even with energy, material, and labor subsidies? Sustained yields of natural resources? hypothesis with minimal energy and labor subsidies? Example: Sustainable ecology and ranching on the borderlands :  Example: Sustainable ecology and ranching on the borderlands Place: Malpai Borderlands: ~ 2500 km2 in New Mexico and Arizona adjoining U.S.-Mexico Border Stakeholders: Malpai Borderlands Group: ~20 ranching families, Government agencies and NGOs, scientific advisors Goals: Ecologically and economically sustainable livestock ranching Preserve open space, biodiversity, ecological processes Threats Rural subdivision Overgrazing Endangered species Slide13:  Example: sustainable livestock grazing on Malpai Borderlands Slide15:  Rural subdivision Slide16:  Overgrazing Slide17:  Ridge-nosed rattlesnake Slide18:  Jaguar Slide19:  Chiricahua Leopard frog The model: Ecology dictated by four primary processes: :  The model: Ecology dictated by four primary processes: 1) Spatial variation in topography, geology and soils 2) Temporal variation in climate and weather 3) Grazing by large herbivores (now mostly domestic livestock) 4) Fire Adaptive management tomanipulate two processes: 1) Livestock grazing 2) Fire Slide21:  Spatial variation in topography, geology and soils Slide22:  Temporal variation in climate and weather Slide23:  Megaherbivore grazing Slide24:  Fire Successes to date :  Successes to date Initiated ecological and economic ranching practices Adoption of adaptive management practices Natural and prescribed burns Permanent vegetation monitoring plots to track changes Grass bank to prevent overgrazing during droughts Experimentation with cattle breeds and marketing Preservation of open space Conservation leases to prevent subdivision into rural ranchettes Alternative livelihoods: biotourism, photo and hunting safaris Limited loss of biodiversity reintroduction/recovery of many endangered species (bighorn, prairie dog, bison, jaguar, turkey) aquatic and riparian ecosystems: continued loss of native species and invasions of exotic species Long-term prognosis? Most uncertainties are external:  Long-term prognosis? Most uncertainties are external “Sustainable” ranching at local to regional scales requires energy, material, and economic subsidies Fossil fuels to power vehicles, machinery and households Income from livestock and other commodities Development pressure from growing populations in Tucson, Sierra Vista, and surrounding areas Changing livestock markets, material and transportation costs, taxation and societal incentives External threats to biodiversity Reduction or loss of source populations, habitat and dispersal corridors in surrounding regions Time frame for “sustainability”? 50 years? Bottom line (regional to local scale): :  Bottom line (regional to local scale): Some degree of sustainability of is possible, BUT IT WILL REQUIRE Consideration of ecological and human factors Energy, material and economic subsidies Continual monitoring and adaptive management Protection from degrading external processes Bottom line (national to global scale): :  Bottom line (national to global scale): Sustainability of human civilization with current population and standard of living is threatened by “five horsemen of the apocalypse” energy disease food water pollution but energy is by far the most important – and global oil supply is being depleted

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