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Do We Need So Many Other Animals on Earth?


Dekan
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As this is the field I work in , I can honestly say that I have never encountered this, ever.

 

Perhaps it is the other way around, then.

 

 

There are plenty of ecologists around the area who hold views that particular invasive plant species are bad and must be removed from the area at once. They hold the view that we need to keep the country's plants the same while attempting to maintain genetic diversity.

 

AKA: Everything must be the same all the time except the underlying genetics in order to preserve how everything looks.

 

It's like never moving the furniture around your house, bringing new furniture in, or removing furniture. It's like not living in your house, touching anything, yet having a programmatic way for everything to maintain itself in pristine order.

 

No, that's unrealistic, and I find it to be another form of human selection. I believe it's natural for humans to start introducing plants to foreign lands. Bugs land on plenty of travelling animals in order to get new areas. As such, it's unrealistic to say that asian plants shouldn't be in America. Some kind of travelling is going to occur and ecologists tend to have a habit of saying what is good/bad in nature. Getting grants to support their views can only help to justify their belief systems.

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The issue with invasive non-natives depends on ones perspective of 'natural'. To some people genetic engineering is natural as it's done by humans who are a product of nature. However, most of us conservationists draw a distinction between factors induced by (modern) man and naturally occurring factors.

 

So, if a species colonizes (say) another continent without the intervention of man, that's 'natural', but if it colonizes a continent because man has transferred it by mistake or deliberately it would be classed as 'non-natural'. the other issue is whether that species has a significant effect on native and naturalized species.

 

For example, little owls were deliberately introduced to Great Britain, and have naturalized, but have no noticeable detrimental effect on other species, so are deemed OK. American Grey Squirrels, however, have wiped out the native Red Squirrel from much of Great Britain so if we could get rid of them we would.

 

It is the effect they have on biodiversity that determines whether we consider them 'good or bad', not necessarily whether they are native or non-native (as many of our so-called native wild flowers were actually introduced to Britain by neolithic farmers, celts and Romans).

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No, that's unrealistic, and I find it to be another form of human selection. I believe it's natural for humans to start introducing plants to foreign lands. Bugs land on plenty of travelling animals in order to get new areas. As such, it's unrealistic to say that asian plants shouldn't be in America. Some kind of travelling is going to occur and ecologists tend to have a habit of saying what is good/bad in nature. Getting grants to support their views can only help to justify their belief systems.

 

As has been covered earlier in the thread. Functioning ecosystems provide services fundamentally crucial to human life. Ecosystem function is reliant on an as yet, poorly documented diversity of organisms and maximized diversity makes these systems resilient to environmental fluctuations. As a result, if a human induced species introduction reduces the biodiversity and therefore function of an ecosystem, as is usually the case with introduced species, it is in our utilitarian best interest to prevent that reduction in diversity and function.

 

There is no need to invoke any ethical or moral argument to strongly support concept of anthropogenic causes of species extinction being disadvantageous - and that doesn't discount ethical and moral arguments either.

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As has been covered earlier in the thread. Functioning ecosystems provide services fundamentally crucial to human life. Ecosystem function is reliant on an as yet, poorly documented diversity of organisms and maximized diversity makes these systems resilient to environmental fluctuations. As a result, if a human induced species introduction reduces the biodiversity and therefore function of an ecosystem, as is usually the case with introduced species, it is in our utilitarian best interest to prevent that reduction in diversity and function.

 

There is no need to invoke any ethical or moral argument to strongly support concept of anthropogenic causes of species extinction being disadvantageous - and that doesn't discount ethical and moral arguments either.

I don't disagree, (ecology isn't my strong suite) but I'm wondering, wouldn't that be interfering with natural selection? If so, how would that be good for us, as I thought that natural selection was good?

 

If not, aren't we just as natural as any other animal?

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Again, not to disagree. But won't it generally choose animal/plants that are better suited for the environment? How is that bad?

 

Biological systems recover from extinction events, sure. Only it occurs over geological time scales and the system does not identically replicate the previous in function or form. Using the purely utilitarian argument, as a species we don't have the luxury of waiting for systems providing us with critical services that we disturb to return to equilibrium before we either go extinct or find an alternative.

 

Given we have these systems which support our existence by providing suitable breathing air, food, clean water, climactic conditions conducive to human civilization that need us to do nothing and are effectively free. Disrupting them through introductions and the removal of species demonstratively reduces their ability to provide those services to us. As such, it is in our best interests to conserve them in their most biodiverse and thus the state in which they are most efficient and resilient to environmental fluctuations.

Edited by Arete
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  • 1 year later...

This is what happens when the ecology goes out of whack....

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azolla_event

 

I grow this stuff in my ponds, it grows at a rate that has to be seen to be believed but it can't stand cold... If the Earth was warm every standing body of fresh water would be covered by this stuff. If the Arctic ocean was covered by this stuff the earth would no white snow covered poles, but a huge emerald green expanse, the climate of the entire planet was changed by one simple fern.

 

It's pretty much native to the entire earth, in the tropics larger floating plants grow over it but in the temperate zones nothing can compete with it. The good news is that species of carp love to eat it. It's absolutely humbling to think a fern and a fish might control the climate. <_<

 

When we eliminate even one species i think it can be asserted that the entire earth suffers in some way.

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I know CharonY doesn't subscribe to that, but surely we must be, as no other animals are capable of having discussions like this

 

my immediate reaction to this was "yes, only humans could be so stupid"

1. do we know animals cant communicate? (actually they can, we are just to stupid to understand them)

2. humans need food, food=animals/plants, plants need animals to survive, animals need plants to survive

3. if there was only cows, humans, and grass on earth, 1 virus would evolve and kill us all in a matter of years(HIV 2.0)

4. evolution likes diversity (actually it just doesn't like cleaning up the mess)

5. humans are the most poorly evolved, redundant, stupidly designed, inefficient beings on earth. (their only redeeming trait is that they are stubborn furless monkeys)

6. if you are looking for the top creature on earth, look at a tree, possibly the most cleverly made creature on earth

 

also when we reach the point where we control the weather, freely manipulate planet wide ecosystems, have flying tanks, and can shoot plasma bolts from our eyes, we will be more machine then biology, so species wont mater that much to us, nor will planets, the only thing we will be interested in is fuel for power plants, cooling systems, and how many yottaFLOPS we can fit into 1mm^3 so we can run even faster simulations.

Edited by dmaiski
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... So i'll ask you; do we need less?

 

yes... on second thought we do! go forth and kill them all to the last unborn egg and salt the earth and blacken the skies!

 

actually if your planning a mass genocide, aim to kill of 90% of H. sapien first, those pesky buggers are clogging up the planet as it is

 

[insert mad scientist laguh here]

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Rainforest wildlife are typically rather colourful, often utilizing them as defensive shield versus much larger predators. A wide selection of these animals already have camouflage printing upon them that will put other types of wildlife off target, for instance butterflies that have eyes like ornamentation to their wings. Some animals like to unite in with the background to go hunting at the same time, just like the stick insect. Rainforest animals definitely take part in the most critical function of dispersing plant seeds and pollens through the forest to support retain its environment.

 

Among the list of rainforest animals, birds and also snakes already have a healthy and well balanced relationship i.e. both of them feed on the second type. This simply leaves the larger predators for example tigers, anacondas, crocodiles. Typically if a rainforest is blooming, most of these predators are in huge numbers because they are going to have plenty of foodstuff to take care of themselves.

 

Rainforest wildlife always play a role in their very own environment maybe even after passing away, because of their bodies changing into natural food for herbs. The continual moisture content and greenhouse effects also develops a range of much bigger than common small animals over these forests which aren't documented. Despite the fact that people are eliminating the rainforests daily, there continually remain a large number of mysterious rainforest wildlife whose share for their environment we won't ever be aware of.

 

 

More Information : http://www.amazonrainforestanimals.org/

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  • 11 months later...

Hi I´m just a simple lawyer but consider this wildly proposition:

 

What if billions years from now another species evolves so much that they match us in congnitive abilities (even asking to be refer as humans and having the consequential rights), should we banish all non-useful life from earth, wouldnt it be a shame to deny them from ever existing?

 

Now on a more concise opinion: Reducing bio diversity its denying the infinite amount of opportunites that universe has to offer. Its like sending all kids who didnt had good grades in their childhood to the farms and saying that there is no need to educate them any further. But I wonder, how many einstein would we be costing to humankind.

 

 

Forgive my lack of proper grammar, I beg of you.

PS: ([joke] What if having children with those "new" humans would make us inmortals [/joke])

PS2: Sry for resucitating this threath, please mods do not hate me, but this was in the first page of my google search so many may yet see this discussion.

Edited by somanymike
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Very simple what happens if a predators prey dies off. The extinction of 'worthless' prey species may lead to the extinction of an important predator species. This 'worthless' species may also have useful part/parts for medicine/other branches of science/other areas. I'm not really into religion but probably from a religious view point this may be immoral, certainly unethical by animal rights groups. If these animals that are going extinct are put in a zoo (PROVIDING THEY ARE CARED FOR WELL) then it lets the younger generation/whole world be interested in biology. I don't see why killing off very rare numbers of animals would do anything good since they aren't taking up much space or going to do severe damage. If it is a pest species then maybe monitoring it's location and making sure it doesn't cause havoc apart from that I cannot see any reason to kill animals if they might actually help us someway in the future.

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We are just now, after several tens of thousands of years of investigation into the uses of the relatively few minerals on this planet (an entire "stone age" of human civilization, for starters) getting a hint of the possible value to us of formerly mere decorations such as rubies or dull and unimpressive stuff such as germanium.

 

That was assuming, of course, that decoration and enjoyment and entertainment are not valuable to humans - one wonders whether the people who find the variety of beings on the planet a hindrance to their plans would draw the line at getting rid of the hummingbirds, and if so why.

 

There are a lot more different living beings on this planet than there are different kinds of rock. And we have been investigating them carefully for much less time.

 

I'm not sure what the agenda for human life would be, that was hampered rather than enhanced by great variety in other living beings.

 

The image I have is of an illiterate janitor finding the books in the library shelves a hindrance to efficient dusting, and throwing them out.

Edited by overtone
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Heres a thing to think about.

 

The house cat before becoming demesticated was most likely considered to be a pest. Then agriculture started and the cats were excellent at keeping the rodent population down.

 

But then in the black plague started and people killed dogs and cats because they thought they were helping to spread the disease and they helped the disease spread by killing off the rats predators.

 

Another example; We are forces to hunt deer because we killed off the wolves.

 

If you kill off the top predator then you create an explosion of the prey item which in turn over eats on its prey item (including plants) In the case of the deer it is the farmers crops it over eats on.

 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

WOW

I don't know what to say. Hard to believe there are people like Dekan that think any animal that doesn't benifit mankind should be exterminated? ! ? !

One big city over the world? Animals only in parks if they are harmless like ducks in a pond?

That would be hell. I live in Colorado. I love getting out into the mountains and into the "wilderness". There really isn't much wilderness left. I hope to see lots of wild animals when I'm out. Animals such as bear, wolfs and if I'm lucky mountain lions. There is very little danger. No animal hunts down humans for prey.

We humans have overpopulated this world. Earth needs more wilderness.

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I base my actions on how much of the modern support system I have access to. Don't kill unnecessarily, but be willing to kill if your own survival depends on it.

 

 

Broadly speaking we need other life to provide us with novel genetic variations. No easy way to simulate it all, nor see the compound interactions that occur as a result.

 

Other life can act as a disease vector, but our own farm animals are some of the worst threats. We could eliminate that risk at present and will, literally, have more palatable options in the future. I don't see that as a viable reason.

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Broadly speaking we need other life to provide us with novel genetic variations.

 

So your stance is that the whole world with all it's wildlife are only here for our enjoyment. It any animal does not bring us enjoyment or food it has no purpose?

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So your stance is that the whole world with all it's wildlife are only here for our enjoyment. It any animal does not bring us enjoyment or food it has no purpose?

 

 

No, my stance is that other species are here for their own sake. We should keep them around to help ensure our own survival.

 

More than reasonable considering it includes every genome on the planet.

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  • 1 year later...

The Earth is swarming with all kinds of animals. Most of these don't seem to help human survival. Why do we want them hanging around?

 

Recently I found a leaflet in my weekly Science magazine. The leaflet was about the Siberian tiger, or some kind of tiger. These tigers are apparently getting scarce. Only 700 left, or something like that.

 

The leaflet exhorted me to pay some money to "sponsor" one of these things, so they wouldn't die out. Well, frankly I don't really care whether they die out or not. They don't seem to be contributing anything to my life. Or human life in general. Who'd miss them?

 

The only animals we'd miss, are the ones we eat. Like cows, pigs and chickens. If these died out, our diet would suffer. To ensure this doesn't happen, we keep plenty of them on our farms. But most animals outside our farms, are irrelevant to our needs.

 

I wonder then, why some people have this obsession with preserving useless animals. Of course, these people call it "Protecting the Environment", or "Preserving Ecological Diversity", or some similar buzz-phrase.

 

But isn't it a bit irrational really?

1. William Beebe said: "The beauty and genius of a work of art may be reconceived, though its first material expression be destroyed; a vanished harmony may yet again inspire the composer; but when the last individual of a race of living beings breathes no more, another heaven and another earth must pass before such a one can be again."

 

2. You can never predict what may be useful in the future.

 

3. The more species in the system the more stable the system. Lots of species reduce the effects of large outside perturbations.

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