Good evening all,
We've made it a point several times during class this term to highlight how behavioral knowledge could be applied to conservation efforts. Here's a link to a recent (and lengthy) discussion of how captive breeding in cheetahs has been enhanced by applying more-naturalistic methods than simply pairing together single males and females. It's quite striking the lengths to which breeders have gone in order to improve the success rate of their breeding programs!
Forest farms could create market for ginseng, other herbs | Penn State University
Good morning all,
Hot off of the presses this morning is a news report about sustainable "forest farms", efforts to use environmentally-friendly propagation methods, in naturalistic-type settings, to commercially produce native plants that are of economic value. It's an interesting idea, and one that is quite different (by necessity) from the mass-production, highly-intensive, large-scale format of most of our modern agricultural production.
Many find these small scale, low-impact 'farming' methods attractive for their reduced reliance upon chemicals and their shortened supply chains, with products often moving from producer to consumer with few or no intermediaries. As these authors note, these practices may provide a bit of 'social justice' as well, by providing more-direct benefits and controls to producers. As such, these methods could represent a 'win-win' situation: valued and sustainable production, and well-served consumers. This ties in very nicely with the concepts in our last chapter, including the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices.
A Population of Billions May Have Contributed to This Bird’s Extinction - The New York Times
As part of our discussions of sociality for Thursday, we'll need this short reading. It suggests that passenger pigeons, which once numbered in the billions, were driven to extinction over the course of a few decades in part because their large population size made them more at risk from extinction than if they had existed in smaller populations. This argument is directly counter to what we normally think of, in terms of how population size relates to extinction risk.
The article references a piece of original scientific literature, linked here: