Principles Ecology

Information about Principles Ecology

Published on January 3, 2008

Author: Aric85

Source: authorstream.com

Content

Principles of Wetlands Ecology for Forestry, Fisheries, and Wildlife Management:  Principles of Wetlands Ecology for Forestry, Fisheries, and Wildlife Management Robert J. Gates NRE 319 Introduction to Forestry, Fisheries, and Wildlife October 6, 2006 Topics covered in this lecture:  Topics covered in this lecture Wetland status and trends, causes of losses. Definitions and criteria used to identify and delineate wetlands. Wetlands functions and values. Overarching theme: the interplay of science, public policy and natural resource values The way that wetlands are viewed has evolved over time::  The way that wetlands are viewed has evolved over time: During settlement of the U.S., wetlands were considered “bug-infested, disease- ridden wastelands that impeded settlement and economic development. Slide4:  Federal policies toward wetlands has evolved from policies and programs that encouraged drainage and filling of wetlands…… …. to a federal policy of “no net loss” of wetlands, including subsidy and technical assistance to restore and create wetlands.:  …. to a federal policy of “no net loss” of wetlands, including subsidy and technical assistance to restore and create wetlands. Slide12:  Estimated rate of wetlands loss 1950s – 1990s Wetlands Status and Trends 2000 458,000 Average annual net wetland loss for the conterminous United States 1950s – 70s 1980s – 90s 1970s – 80s 290,000 58,500 Acres The way that wetlands are viewed has evolved over time::  The way that wetlands are viewed has evolved over time: The public, especially user groups, began to recognize the resource values of wetlands. Concern began to grow in the 1950’s and 1960’s over an alarming rate of wetland loss in the U.S. Consequently, appreciation of wetlands increased… ”don’t it always seem to go you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til its gone”—Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi Slide22:  More recent programs and legislation provide indirect protection and incentives to conserve and restore wetlands; Section 404 of the Clean Water Act Conservation provisions of the 1985-2000 Farm Bills (Food Security Acts) Coastal Zone Management Act No net loss policies (executive orders) North American Wetlands Conservation Act Wait a minute… what are wetlands anyway?:  Wait a minute… what are wetlands anyway? Until the 1980’s, wetlands were mostly viewed as a transitional stage in a sequence of ecosystem development (i.e. succession) from pond/lake to climax grassland or forest. Slide24:  Wetland science emerged as a subdiscipline of ecology in the late 1970’s; conservation groups became concerned over wetlands losses, public began to appreciate the unique ecological functions and social values that wetlands provide, driven by policy debate, managers needed a scientifically-based definition and criteria to delineate and classify wetlands. Slide25:  Wetland scientists and others now recognize wetlands as distinct ecosystems that are highly connected with, but distinct from aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Nevertheless, delineating the boundaries between wetlands and aquatic and terrestrial systems involves drawing a somewhat arbitrary (but scientifically defensible) line along an ecological continuum. Definition and delineation of wetlands is difficult and highly contentious::  Definition and delineation of wetlands is difficult and highly contentious: We would like to have a clear black and white definition of wetlands, with criteria that can be unambiguously applied in any situation. Our definition and criteria are used to make decisions about what is right and wrong with respect to how society protects and utilizes wetlands. Definition and delineation of wetlands is difficult and highly contentious::  Definition and delineation of wetlands is difficult and highly contentious: What we have instead are somewhat complicated and highly nuanced definitions and criteria for wetlands delineation that are difficult to apply unambiguously in any situation. Wetlands definition and criteria, although grounded in science seek some balance among competing social demands (protection vs. utilization). How do we define (delineate) wetlands? Wetland scientists provide the answer (3-legged stool).:  How do we define (delineate) wetlands? Wetland scientists provide the answer (3-legged stool). Hydrology Hydric soils Hydrophytes Let’s briefly examine each of these criteria: Hydrology Criterion:  Hydrology Criterion Lands that are inundated or saturated to within 18” of the soil surface for > 7 consecutive days during the growing season. Hydric Soil Criterion:  Hydric Soil Criterion Soils, recognizable by their color, physical structure, and chemical characteristics, that have developed under anoxic conditions associated with saturation or inundation by water. Hydrophytic Vegetation Criterion:  Hydrophytic Vegetation Criterion Lands that support a preponderance of plants that are adapted to growing under conditions of substrate inundation or saturation. The devil is in the details: specific criteria to satisfy different purposes::  The devil is in the details: specific criteria to satisfy different purposes: Scientific definition (USFWS) serves an heuristic purpose objectively broad one or more criteria must be present generally liberal Parameters tied to function (e.g. 7 days inundation. Regulatory definition (USACE) serves social, political, or economic purposes subjectively narrowed all three criteria must be present more restrictive parameters (e.g. 21 days inundation) Slide33:  The issue of wetlands definition and delineation illustrates the interplay of science, public policy and values. liberal, strictly scientifically-based definition provides maximal protection of wetlands, but with social, economic, and political costs. USFWS definition describes the unique conditions under which wetlands perform ecological functions that humans value. more restrictive definition preserves individual property rights, allows more flexibility to accommodate social and economic pressures, but at the cost of certain ecological services and resource values that are not accounted for in our economic system. OK, makes sense, but why these three criteria?:  OK, makes sense, but why these three criteria? Let’s look at what happens when a soil is saturated or inundated: water acts as a barrier to diffusion of O2 into pore space from the atmosphere aerobic respiration by soil organisms depletes O2 within 7 days when the temperature is above biological zero Slide35:  Respiration continues via alternative pathways in which soil microbes oxidize organic matter by using a sequence of different molecules as electron acceptors. oxidation-reduction potential declines as soil becomes more anoxic and alternative electron acceptors are used in anaerobic respiration this changes the chemical and physical properties of the soil (leaching of ferrous compounds, accumulation of nitrous and sulfurous compounds, methane, etc.) OK, so what happens to terrestrial plants and animals?:  OK, so what happens to terrestrial plants and animals? Macrophytes and metazoan animals respire aerobically (O2 is final e- acceptor in respiration). Reduced compounds are generally more toxic than oxidized compounds. So lack of O2 is a stressor that wetland-dependent species must be adapted to. Some adaptations of wetlands-dependent species:  Some adaptations of wetlands-dependent species Plants rigid, highly vascularized stems active diffusion of O2 to roots carbohydrate storage alternative metabolic pathways reproductive strategies— seed dispersal, germination and growth requirements Animals morphology-locomotion in water morphology-feeding in water anaerobic respiration (diving reflex) seasonal movement and/or aestivation strategies reproductive strategies— oviposition and development and care of young What are the ecological functions (services) and resource values that wetlands provide?:  What are the ecological functions (services) and resource values that wetlands provide? Wetlands dogma::  Wetlands dogma: …wetlands are among the most productive ecosystems in the world… …wetlands act as “sponges” on the landscape… …wetlands are the “kidneys” of the landscape… …wetlands are hotspots of biodiversity… A caveat and caution:  A caveat and caution …..’believe none of what you hear and only half of what you see’….. (including this lecture) Purported ecological functions and values of wetlands::  Purported ecological functions and values of wetlands: Hydrology: discharge and recharge groundwater, regulate surface water flows and sedimentation; Nutrient cycling: transform or sequester nutrients and chemical contaminants; Habitat: support biological diversity, recreation; Trophic support: provide food and fiber products. Hydrology Functions: regulation of surface water flow and sedimentation::  Hydrology Functions: regulation of surface water flow and sedimentation: Hydrology Functions: groundwater recharge::  Hydrology Functions: groundwater recharge: Water Quality Functions: biogeochemical cycling::  Water Quality Functions: biogeochemical cycling: Habitat and trophic support functions::  Habitat and trophic support functions: Wetlands are detrital-based systems. Decaying plant matter supports invertebrates that are utilized by consumers. Habitat and trophic support functions::  Habitat and trophic support functions: Slide50:  Moist Shallow Deep Open soil marsh marsh water Plant diversity 2 1 3 4 Invasive species 1 2 3 4 Wildlife diversity 3 1 2 4 Migratory birds 1 2 3 4 Resident birds 3 2 1 4 Herptiles 2 1 3 4 Furbearers 3 2 1 4 Fish 4 3 2 1 1 = high, 4 = low

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