Left Menu
Development News Edition

Researchers believe mega-conversation important to protect biodiversity

Researchers believe mega-conversation important to protect biodiversity
A key take-home message is that shared cross-border science for widespread keystone systems can facilitate effective, global-scale, biodiversity. Image Credit: Pixabay

While the conservation of charismatic creatures like pandas, elephants and snow leopards are important in their own right, there may be no better ecological bang-for-our-buck than a sound, science-based effort to save widespread keystone systems. And the majestic aspens could be a perfect start for such an endeavor.

That's the conclusion of the researchers behind the first-ever compendium of world aspen communities. In their new publication, the researchers advance the idea of "mega-conservation," where the conservation of widespread, common, species -- like aspen -- may have a strategic advantage over traditional, single-species conservation. "The significance of aspen is that they support large numbers of dependent species, meaning aspen are truly keystone species," said Paul Rogers, the director of the Western Aspen Alliance at Utah State University and a co-author of the report. "There are six species of aspen that span much of the northern hemisphere and similarities in these aspen ecosystems allow us to employ continental conservation practices with enormous benefits to world biodiversity."

Aspen forests have been directly and indirectly impacted by human actions, including forest management favoring high-value timber trees, domestic and wild herbivore mismanagement, fire suppression, land development and mining, and extended droughts related to climate warming. A vast array of species depend on intact aspen forests; as aspen thrive or decline, so do those species dependent on their status. Previous research, for example, has demonstrated localized declines in bird species, insects, lichens, and small mammals when aspen forests are denuded. A healthy aspen forest, on the other hand, can support thousands of other species, forming a "protective bubble," of sorts, around many vulnerable or endangered species at once.

"While we don't advocate choosing one strategy only, we do suggest considering the broader benefits inherent in preserving world biodiversity by using keystone ecosystems, or mega-conservation," said Bradley Pinno (Univ. Alberta, Canada), another co-author of the paper, which uses regional experts to synthesize the best-available aspen science for use by government, commercial, and non-profit research and restoration institutions.

Fourteen leading aspen ecologists from eight countries across North America and Eurasia were assembled to review aspen science, threats, and restoration practices, including an examination of 200 published papers in the field. In all regions, the group found healthy aspen enhance biodiversity, facilitate rapid recolonization in natural and damaged settings like abandoned mines, and provide adaptability in changing environments.

A key take-home message is that shared cross-border science for widespread keystone systems can facilitate effective, global-scale, biodiversity. "Moving forward, we hope to expand our burgeoning Aspen Conservation Consortium will include more national experts and will continually improve the quality of world aspen science and management," Jan Šebesta (Mendel Univ., Czechia) said, "Using aspen forests as a proxy for a mega-conservation approach, we believe that an internationally focused research and conservation management approach may be the most effective way to preserve total species numbers."

Aspen forests aren't the only potential "keystone communities," Rogers suggests. Other potential widespread keystone communities are sage-steppe lands in Europe and North America, vast taiga forests of Eurasia, or Eucalypt forests across Australia.



Hyderabad Encounter: Time to review modern judiciary and restore people’s confidence

Its probably for the first time in the history of independent India, the parliamentarians, chief ministers and ministers in the Union and State governments are openly supporting an encounter. This indicates the people from top to bottom hav...

What happens to your outstanding loans if the bank falls?

... ...

Time for a change! Innovations to stop the growing plastic pollution

As the planet is drowning in plastic pollution, many new innovative approaches and solutions have emerged to effectively deal with the menace....

How to avoid fake universities and fishing bait like Farmington

As education sharks are roaming around to prey, we present a guide on how to mitigate hunters and reach to a genuine universityinstitute. In this era of commercialization of education, the fake universities and economic frauds in educationa...


Latest News

Chiefs RB Damien Williams (ribs) ruled out vs. Patriots

Kansas City Chiefs running back Damien Williams has been ruled out for this weekends road game against the New England Patriots. LeSean McCoy, rookie Darwin Thompson and the returning Spencer Ware are expected to handle the backfield respon...

UPDATE 14-Saudi airman suspected in shooting at U.S. Navy base that killed four

A member of the Saudi Air Force visiting the United States for military training was the suspect in a shooting that killed four people and injured eight at a U.S. Navy base in Florida on Friday, the state governor and other officials said. ...

Soccer-Watford name Pearson as head coach until end of season

Watford has appointed Nigel Pearson as their new head coach until the end of the season to replace the sacked Quique Sanchez Flores, the struggling Premier League club said on Friday. Former Leicester City manager Pearson, 56, is the Hornet...

Greek youths demonstrate in memory of teen slain by police

Greek youths and far-left groups demonstrated in Athens and other cities on Friday in memory of a teenage boy killed in 2008 by a police officer, an act that sparked weeks of riots. In the capital, police counted almost 2,500 protesters in ...

Give Feedback