According to Professor Norman Myers earth is experiencing the largest mass extinction in 65 million years with the loss of species more severe than the five mass extinctions of the geological past.
As mentioned at a previous blog post, Tasmania has been listed as one of the hotspots in Australia.
Thinksy provided this link to a list of critically endangered bird species. The list includes three species from Tasmania – the masked owl, the azure kingfisher and the wedge-tailed eagle. Habitat clearing including for pine forest (1), competition with brown trout which have reduced the availability natural prey (2), and shooting (3), are listed as the most likely reasons for decline of the three species respectively.
Alan Ashbarry who describes himself as a Tasmanian researcher with Timber Communities Australia sent in the following note:
“Recent media reports on a new list of 20 hot spots for species extinction of terrestrial mammals are based on a new report published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Unfortunately such an important report is available by subscription only and the general public has to rely on snippets fed to it by the media.
Lead author Marcel Cardillo uses phylogenetics to answer questions in ecology and conservation. Phylogenetics treats a species as a group of lineage-connected individuals over time. On this basis it is hardly surprising that the isolated islands of Bass Strait and Tasmania would have a “latent extinction risk”.
The media reports refer to the Convention on Biological Diversity to reduce the rate of world biodiversity loss by 2010, as part of this plan the Conference of Parties to the convention has adopted the following target:
Goal 1. Promote the conservation of the biological diversity of ecosystems, habitats and biomes
Target 1.1: At least 10% of each of the world’s ecological regions effectively conserved.
In Tasmania this target has been achieved and exceeded with the State having 42% of its land mass in conservation reserves. There is no indication that the authors of the Hot Spot report accounted for this outstanding achievement.
If there was it would be unlikely for the report to conclude that “Human population growth in hotspot areas is one of the greatest threats to vulnerable animals,” for Tasmania as human population development is banned in these areas.
The media reports also refer to an environmental scientist Professor Norman Myers claiming that Earth is experiencing the largest mass extinction in 65 million years.
The media report Myers as claiming 33 extinction hotspots around the world, 13 more than the report in the Proceedings of National Academy of Science.
Professor Myers says if governments do not do more, the planet will continue to lose 50 species per day compared to the natural extinction rate of one species every five years. Yet the Professor fails to state that his trip to Australia is partly sponsored by the Federal Government as part of it biological diversity program. He also fails to quote sources for this alarmist claim to determine if it is a real, or a theoretical claim based upon un-described and notional species.”
Alan also sent a couple of links that he said showed that Tasmania and the Bass Strait islands and those other hotspots have the lowest attrition rates for terrestrial mammals.
And see also commentary here: http://audit.ea.gov.au/anra/vegetation/vegetation_frame.cfm?region_type=AUS®ion_code=AUS&info=bio_asses.