[permaculture] Anti-ageing compound set for human trials after turning clock back for mice | Science | theguardian.com

Lawrence London lfljvenaura at gmail.com
Sat Jan 11 15:17:56 EST 2014

On Sat, Jan 11, 2014 at 1:58 PM, John D'hondt <dhondt at eircom.net> wrote:

> Thing is that I have seen so much destruction in my life and that is only
> speeding up. The North Pacific ocean is already a dead zone thanks to
> Fukushima. In ten years time there will be no more lions, elephants,


*Contact: William Ripple bill.ripple at oregonstate.edu
<bill.ripple at oregonstate.edu> 541-737-3056 Oregon State University
<http://www.orst.edu> Loss of large carnivores poses global conservation

CORVALLIS, Ore. – In ecosystems around the world, the decline of large
predators such as lions, dingoes, wolves, otters, and bears is changing the
face of landscapes from the tropics to the Arctic – but an analysis of 31
carnivore species published today in the journal *Science* shows for the
first time how threats such as habitat loss, persecution by humans and loss
of prey combine to create global hotspots of carnivore decline.

More than 75 percent of the 31 large-carnivore species are declining, and
17 species now occupy less than half of their former ranges, the authors

Southeast Asia, southern and East Africa and the Amazon are among areas in
which multiple large carnivore species are declining. With some exceptions,
large carnivores have already been exterminated from much of the developed
world, including Western Europe and the eastern United States.

"Globally, we are losing our large carnivores," said William Ripple, lead
author of the paper and a professor in the Department of Forest Ecosystems
and Society at Oregon State University.

"Many of them are endangered," he said. "Their ranges are collapsing. Many
of these animals are at risk of extinction, either locally or globally.
And, ironically, they are vanishing just as we are learning about their
important ecological effects."

Ripple and colleagues from the United States, Australia, Italy and Sweden
called for an international initiative to conserve large predators in
coexistence with people. They suggested that such an effort be modeled on
the Large Carnivore Initiative for Europe, a nonprofit scientific group
affiliated with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

The researchers reviewed published scientific reports and singled out seven
species that have been studied for their widespread ecological effects or
"trophic cascades." This includes African lions, leopards, Eurasian lynx,
cougars, gray wolves, sea otters and dingoes.

Ripple and his Oregon State co-author Robert Beschta have documented
impacts of cougars and wolves on the regeneration of forest stands and
riparian vegetation in Yellowstone and other national parks in North
America. Fewer predators, they have found, lead to an increase in browsing
animals such as deer and elk. More browsing disrupts vegetation, shifts
birds and small mammals and changes other parts of the ecosystem in a
widespread cascade of impacts.

Studies of Eurasian lynx, dingoes, lions and sea otters have found similar
effects, the authors reported.

Lynx have been closely tied to the abundance of roe deer, red fox and hare.
In Australia, the construction of a 3,400-mile dingo-proof fence has
enabled scientists to study ecosystems with and without the animals, which
are closely related to gray wolves. In some parts of Africa, the decrease
of lions and leopards has coincided with a dramatic increase in olive
baboons, which threaten farm crops and livestock. In the waters off
southeast Alaska, a decline in sea otters through killer whale predation
has led to a rise in sea urchins and loss of kelp beds.

The authors call for a deeper understanding of the impact of large
carnivores on ecosystems, a view that they trace back to the work of
landmark ecologist Aldo Leopold. The classic concept that predators are
harmful and deplete fish and wildlife is outdated, they said. Scientists
and wildlife managers need to recognize a growing body of evidence for the
complex roles that carnivores play in ecosystems and for their social and
economic benefits.

Leopold recognized such relationships between predators and ecosystems,
Ripple said, but his observations on that point were largely ignored for
decades after his death in 1948.

"Human tolerance of these species is a major issue for conservation,"
Ripple said. "We say these animals have an intrinsic right to exist, but
they are also providing economic and ecological services that people value."

Among the services that have been documented in other studies are carbon
sequestration, riparian restoration, biodiversity and disease control.

Where large carnivores have been restored — such as wolves in Yellowstone
or Eurasian lynx in Finland — ecosystems have responded quickly, said
Ripple. "I am impressed with how resilient the Yellowstone ecosystem is. It
isn't happening quickly everywhere, but in some places, ecosystem
restoration has started there."

In those cases, where loss of vegetation has led to soil erosion, for
example, full restoration in the near term may not be possible, he said.

"Nature is highly interconnected," said Ripple. "The work at Yellowstone
and other places shows how one species affects another and another through
different pathways. It's humbling as a scientist to see the
interconnectedness of nature."

Editor's Note: A video and digital images are available to illustrate this

Video, "As Predators Disappear, Ecosystems Suffer," shows the consequences
of wolf elimination and reintroduction in Yellowstone National Park.
YouTube version: http://bit.ly/1cO0vEo
High resolution version for download or B-roll: http://bit.ly/1khimsV

Photos of some of the most well-understood large-carnivore species:
Leopard: http://bit.ly/1crVUDa
Dingo: http://bit.ly/19QzWdh
Gray wolf: http://bit.ly/1i2Mi7C
Sea otter: http://bit.ly/1lFx7kO
Eurasian lynx: http://bit.ly/KnJqad

> gorillas and rhinos in the wild in Africa. And I can see the destruction
> going on everywhere in Ireland which was not too bad until a few years ago.
> Pollinators gone, severe damage from weather events, hundreds of excavators
> clearing the last hedges.

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