Brand, 4-21 - [Stewart Brand, president of the Long Now Foundation and co-founder of the Revive and Restore project in San Francisco, 4-21-2015, Rethinking Extinction: The idea that we are edging up to a mass extinction is not just wrong – it’s a recipe for panic and paralysis, aeon, http://aeon.co/magazine/science/why-extinction-is-not-the-problem/] Jeong
The trends are favourable. Conservation efforts often appear in the media like a series of defeats and retreats,but as soon as you look up from the crisis-of-the-month, you realise that, in aggregate, conservation is winning. The ecologist Stuart Pimm at Duke University in North Carolina claims that conservationists have already reduced the rate of extinction by 75per cent. Getting the world’s extinction rate back down to normal is a reasonable goal for this century. Restoring full natural bioabundance in most of the world will take longer, however. It would mean bringing wildlife populations back up to the marvellous level of ecological richness that existed before human impact. That could be a two-century goal. But a perception problem stands in the way. Consider the language of these news headlines: ‘Fuelling Extinction: Obama Budget Is Killer For Endangered Species’ (Huffington Post, February 2015). ‘“Racing Extinction” Sounds Alarm On Ocean’s Endangered Creatures’ (NBC News, January 2015). ‘“Extinction Crisis”: 21,000 Of World’s Species At Risk Of Disappearing (Common Dreams, July 2013). ‘Australian Mammals On Brink Of “Extinction Calamity”’ (BBC, February 2015). ‘The Sixth Extinction Is Here – And It’s Our Fault (Re/code, July 2014). The headlines are not just inaccurate. As they accumulate, they frame our whole relationship with nature as one of unremitting tragedy. The core of tragedy is that it cannot be fixed, and that is a formula for hopelessness and inaction. Lazy romanticism about impending doom becomes the default view. No end of specific wildlife problems remain to be solved, but describing them too often as extinction crises has led to a general panic that nature is extremely fragile or already hopelessly broken.That is not remotely the case. Nature as a whole is exactly as robust as it ever was – maybe more so, with humans around to head off ice ages and killer asteroids. Working with that robustness is how conservation’s goals get reached. How does nature’s prodigious robustness actually work? We don’t know yet! Not in detail. For instance we’ve just begun to glimpse how microbes work, and how the ocean works. Ecology is not yet a predictive science, and conservation biology is still a young discipline. With every increment of improvement in scientific tools, data and theory, and every single project expanding the breadth of conservation practice, we learn more about nature’s genius, and we increase humanity’s ability to blend in with nature, to the everlasting benefit of both.
No extinction – bio-d’s resilient and intervening factors check
Gray 15 [Richard, "The amazing chart that shows that far from heading for a mass extinction, life is flourishing like never before - and is likely to continue to do so for millions of years", DailyMail.com, 4/22/15, www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3050597/Stop-worrying-extinctions-Life-Earth-actually-FLOURISHING-diverse-before.html] // SKY
The diversity of life on Earth is increasing despite dire warnings that the planet is facing a mass extinction, a leading writer has claimed. Stewart Brand, president of the Long Now Foundation and editor of the Whole Earth Catalogue, believes the focus on widespread extinctions may actually be harmful. Instead he argues it is highly unlikely that the planet is facing a sixth mass extinction as many threatened species are recovering. This chart shows the increase in marine biodiversity from the fossil record and the five mass extinction events His views are likely to be controversial with conservationists who have been warning that human activities risk killing off a large proportion of species on Earth in an event to rival the extinction of the dinosaurs. Mr Brand, who campaigns for long term solutions to the world's problems rather than short term policy decisions, said that the rate of discovery of new species was currently outstripping the loss of species to extinction. Writing for Aeon, he said: 'Viewing every conservation issue through the lens of extinction threat is simplistic and usually irrelevant. 'Worse, it introduces an emotional charge that makes the problem seem cosmic and overwhelming rather than local and solvable.' Instead he argues that the trends for conservation are actually 'looking bright' as depleted ecosystems are being enriched and damage in others is slowing. He said: 'The five historic mass extinctions eliminated 70 per cent or more of all species in a relatively short time. That is not going on now.' Mr Brand points to recent research by the ecologist Mark Costello at the University of Auckland who found that the number of new species being recorded was now at around 18,000 a year. They said that the current extinction rate of one per cent of species per decade was far lower than the discovery rate of three per cent per decade. Fossil records also indicate that biodiversity in the world has been increasing for the past 200 million years and is now at its highest level ever. The black rhino, pictured, was considered to be one of the most endangered species in the world and intensive efforts have been made to help conserve the species and its numbers are slowly beginning to rise again Mr Brand also points to the efforts that have taken place on many islands around the world - where species are most vulnerable to extinction. He said that schemes to eradicate invasive species like rats and goats had been hugely successful and allowed many island species to bounce back. He also pointed to the example of cod, which the ICUN Red List describes as being threatened with extinction, but many cod fisheries are now recovering. Mr Brand, who is also a campaigner to reintroduce extinct species such as woolly mammoths and passenger pigeons, believes biotechnology could also help to bring other species back from the brink by allowing their genetic diversity to be improved. He said that some wild animals are moving back into areas where they have long been absent by themselves. Salmon for example have moved back into the Rhine, Seine and the Thames as the water has becoe cleaner. Wolves, lynx and brown bears are also spreading in many parts of Europe. He said that even with climate change, it is unlikely that all of the 23,214 species currently deemed as threatened with extinction would die out. There are more than 1.5 million known species in the world. Mr Brand said he did not believe climate change is likely to have much impact on the loss of wildlife as many species will evolve and adapt to cope. He said: 'My own prediction is that climate change will be deemed intolerable for humans long before it speeds up extinction rates, and even if radical steps have to be taken to head it off, they will be taken.'
Bastasch 14 [Michael, "Global Warming Is Increasing Biodiversity Around The World", The Daily Caller, 5/15/14, dailycaller.com/2014/05/15/global-warming-is-increasing-biodiversity-around-the-world/] // SKY
A new study published in the journal Science has astounded biologists: global warming is not harming biodiversity, but instead is increasing the range and diversity of species in various ecosystems. Environmentalists have long warned that global warming could lead to mass extinctions as fragile ecosystems around the world are made unlivable as temperatures increase. But a team of biologists from the United States, United Kingdom and Japan found that global warming has not led to a decrease in biodiversity. Instead, biodiversity has increased in many areas on land and in the ocean. “Although the rate of species extinction has increased markedly as a result of human activity across the biosphere, conservation has focused on endangered species rather than on shifts in assemblages,” reads the editor’s abstract of the report. The study says “species turnover” was “above expected but do not find evidence of systematic biodiversity loss.” The editor’s abstract adds that the result “could be caused by homogenization of species assemblages by invasive species, shifting distributions induced by climate change, and asynchronous change across the planet.” Researchers reviewed 100 long-term species monitoring studies from around the world and found increasing biodiversity in 59 out of 100 studies and decreasing biodiversity in 41 studies. The rate of change in biodiversity was modest in all of the studies, biologists said.But one thing in particular that shocked the study’s authors was that there were major shifts in the types of species living in ecosystems. About 80 percent of the ecosystems analyzed showed species changes of an average of 10 percent per decade — much greater than anyone has previously predicted. This, however, doesn’t mean that individual species aren’t being harmed by changing climates. The study noted that, for example, coral reefs in many areas of the world are being replaced by a type of algae. “In the oceans we no longer have many anchovies, but we seem to have an awful lot of jellyfish,” Nick Gotelli, a biologist at the University of Vermont and one of the study’s authors, told RedOrbit.com. “Those kinds of changes are not going to be seen by just counting the number of species that are present.” “We move species around,” Gotelli added. “There is a huge ant diversity in Florida, and about 30 percent of the ant species are non-natives. They have been accidentally introduced, mostly from the Old World tropics, and they are now a part of the local assemblage. So you can have increased diversity in local communities because of global homogenization.” The study comes with huge implications for current species preservation strategies, as most operate under the assumption that biodiversity will decrease in a warming world. But if biodiversity is increasing, then conservationists may need a new way to monitor the effects of global warming on ecosystems.
Bio-d loss is exaggerated – the decline is gradual and reversible
The way the public hears about conservation issues is nearly always in the mode of ‘[Beloved Animal] Threatened With Extinction’. That makes for electrifying headlines, but it misdirects concern. The loss of whole species is not the leading problem in conservation. The leading problem is the decline in wild animal populations, sometimes to a radical degree, often diminishing the health of whole ecosystems. Viewing every conservation issue through the lens of extinction threat is simplistic and usually irrelevant. Worse, it introduces an emotional charge that makes the problem seem cosmic and overwhelming rather than local and solvable. It’s as if the entire field of human medicine were treated solely as a matter of death prevention. Every session with a doctor would begin: ‘Well, you’re dying. Let’s see if we can do anything to slow that down a little.’ Medicine is about health. So is conservation. And as with medicine, the trends for conservation in this century are looking bright. We are re-enriching some ecosystems we once depleted and slowing the depletion of others. Before I explain how we are doing that, let me spell out how exaggerated the focus on extinction has become and how it distorts the public perception of conservation. Many now assume that we are in the midst of a human-caused ‘Sixth Mass Extinction’ to rival the one that killed off the dinosaurs 66 million years ago. But we’re not. The five historic mass extinctions eliminated 70 per cent or more of all species in a relatively short time. That is not going on now. ‘If all currently threatened species were to go extinct in a few centuries and that rate continued,’ began a recent Nature magazine introduction to a survey of wildlife losses, ‘the sixth mass extinction could come in a couple of centuries or a few millennia.’ The fossil record shows that biodiversity in the world has been increasing dramatically for 200 million years and is likely to continue. The two mass extinctions in that period (at 201 million and 66 million years ago) slowed the trend only temporarily. Genera are the next taxonomic level up from species and are easier to detect in fossils. The Phanerozoic is the 540-million-year period in which animal life has proliferated. Chart courtesy of Wikimedia. The range of dates in that statement reflects profound uncertainty about the current rate of extinction. Estimates vary a hundred-fold – from 0.01 per cent to 1 per cent of species being lost per decade. The phrase ‘all currently threatened species’ comes from the indispensable IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), which maintains the Red List of endangered species. Its most recent report shows that of the 1.5 million identified species, and 76,199 studied by IUCN scientists, some 23,214 are deemed threatened with extinction. So, if all of those went extinct in the next few centuries, and the rate of extinction that killed them kept right on for hundreds or thousands of years more, then we might be at the beginning of a human-caused Sixth Mass Extinction.
No impact to Bio-D loss – Multiple checks on escalation
Biello, 14 – [David Biello, Editor at Scientific American on the Environment and Energy, 7-25-2014, Fact or Fiction?: The Sixth Mass Extinction Can Be Stopped, http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fact-or-fiction-the-sixth-mass-extinction-can-be-stopped/] Jeong
Biologists and paleoecologists estimate that humans have driven roughly 1,000 species extinct in our 200,000 years on the planet. Since 1500 we have killed off at least 322 types of animals, including the passenger pigeon, the Tasmanian tiger and, most recently, the baiji, a freshwater dolphin in China. Another 20,000 or more species are now threatened with extinction according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, which keeps a list of all the known endangered plants and animals on the planet. The population of any given animal among the five million or so species on the planet is, on average, 28 percent smaller, thanks to humans. And as many as one third of all animals are either threatened or endangered, a new study inScience finds. In the jargon it's an "Anthropocene defaunation," or sixth mass extinction, and one caused by humans. Scientists can't be sure of the current die-off rate, perhaps because much of it is happening to beetles and other insects that are notoriously overlooked. But according to that new study in Science, the total number of such invertebrates fell by half over the past 35 years while the human population doubled. Other recent studies suggest that the current extinction rate is roughly 1,000 times faster than the average pace in Earth's history. That makes this the fastest extinction event on record, even if it is not yet a mass die-off. The biggest, fiercest animals still left on the planet—elephants, tigers, whales, among others—are most at risk. And we humans have shown no inclination to stop the activities—overexploitation for food, habitat destruction and others—that drive extinction. And yet it's not too late.In the past few decades humans brought the black-footed ferret back from just seven individuals; vaccinated and hand-reared condors to relative abundance; and battled to preserve and restore populations of hellbender salamanders, to name just a few in just North America alone.According to another new analysis in Science, people have physically moved 424 species of plants and animals to protect them from extinction. For such assisted migration efforts to succeed, careful attention must be paid both to genetics and habitat. There is no point in bringing back the baiji, for example, if the Yangtze River remains polluted and overfished. But conservation efforts can work. Fishes can rebound when fishing pressure is removed, just as Maine haddock and Washington State coho salmon both have. The reforesting of the U.S. eastern seaboardshows that when farms go away, woodlands return, and coyotes, deer, turkey and other wildlife move back in. The animals and plants of the Amazon rainforest have benefited from Brazil's efforts to curb deforestation. And in what might prove an enduring lesson in conservation, paleoecologists have shown that 20 out of 21 large mammals in India—from leopards to muntjac deer—have survived there for the past 100,000 years alongside one of the largest human populations on the planet. To avoid the sixth mass extinction we will probably have to employ more aggressive conservation, such as moving species to help them cope with a changing climate. Think re-wilding: reintroducing species like wolves or beavers that were once present in a given ecosystem but have since disappeared. Aggressive conservation might also mean killing off newcomer species to preserve or make room for local flora and fauna; in New Zealand, rat extirpations have helped kakapos survive. In the most extreme case aggressive conservation could involve bringing in new animals to fill the role of animals that have gone extinct. For example, European sailors ate their way through the Indian Ocean islands of Mauritius, killing off the dodo and the local tortoise species. But closely related tortoises from the neighboring Seychelles archipelago have been imported recently, and they have helped restore the island ecosystem, including bringing back the endangered local ebony trees. As a result of that success, similar projects are being considered from Caribbean islands to Madagascar. There is even some hope of bringing back entirely extinct species in the future using the new tools of synthetic biology. (De-extinction or even ecological replacement could cause some of the same problems as invasive species, so careful management is required.)