The Effect of Mangrove Forest Depletion on Biodiversity in Southern Florida Stephenie Lazarus...
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The Effect of Mangrove Forest Depletion on Biodiversity in Southern FloridaStephenie Lazarus Brittany Lewis Amelia Clapp
BackgroundThe planet has lost 35% of its mangrove forests over the last twenty years. The rate of loss of mangroves each year tops the loss of the rainforest at 2.1%At the current rate of destruction all of the worlds mangroves will disappear in 50 years (Wells, 2006)
The Mangrove Problem
BackgroundWorld Distribution of Mangroves(Coastal and Marine Habitats, 2005)
BackgroundNatural and unnatural factors Recent tsunami activity in south-east AsiaReasons for Mangrove Depletion Ongoing human coastal development (Stone, Richard, 2006).Costal development of mangrove forest
BackgroundThe American AlligatorAlligator mississippiensis Keystone species of mangrove forests Alligator holes Estimated 1,000,000 in Florida(Mazzotti, 2006)
HypothesisCurrent natural and anthropogenic factors will deplete the mangrove forests and biodiversity of Southern Florida due to the elimination of the keystone species
MethodData Used1 acre= 4,046.8564 m^2469000 acres of Mangroves exist in Florida (FMRI, 2006)Net primary production (NPP) of swamps and marshes = 9000 k cal/ m2/yr (Kling, 2006) =2.22394842 k cal/ acre/yrRate of mangrove loss= 2.1% (Wells, 2006)Average plant efficiency= 35% (Kling, 2006)Average American Alligator per km^2=1.6916 (Mazzotti, 2006) = 0.00685 alligators/acre
MethodProcedure to Test HypothesisConstruct Stella Models from given dataDetermine future amount of Florida mangrove forest coverageDetermine future population of American Alligator in FloridaDetermine whether models support the loss of mangroves coverage and elimination of American Alligator population
AnalysisProjected Mangrove Forest AcreageMangrove Acreage Stella Model
Analysis Projected Mangrove Forest Acreage
AnalysisAmerican Alligator Population ModelAssumptionsAlligator population only effected by habitat depletion (birth rate = death rate)Alligators require mangrove acreage to live (0.00685 alligators can live in one acre of mangroves)3211 American Alligators exist in the 469,000 acres mangroves analyzedBecause alligators are the keystone species of the southern Florida mangrove ecosystem the elimination of alligators will cause the extinction of other species and the decline of biodiversity
AnalysisAmerican Alligator Population Model
AnalysisAmerican Alligator Population ModelProjected American Alligator Population with Decline of Mangrove Forests
DiscussionProjected Mangrove Forest AcreageMangrove acreage halved by 2009Mangrove acreage crash by 2032Acreage so minimal significant re-growth almost impossible
DiscussionProjected American Alligator Population with Decline of Mangrove Forests2030 mangrove acreage dips below 2000Alligator population levels off at 218
DiscussionEffect Mangrove Forest Acreage on Biodiversity If trends continue the mangrove cover in southern Florida will be depleted beyond natural rebound abilityThis loss of habitat results in an immense reduction of the American AlligatorThe reduction of the American Alligator will cause the collapse of biodiversity in the southern Florida mangrove ecosystem (loss of alligator holes = loss of habitat)
ImplicationsThe loss of mangroves in southern Florida would have a negative effect on both the sport and commercial fishing industries since many fish either live in or use the mangrove forest as a nursery. Natural buffering capacity of mangroves will disappear resulting in loss of protection from natural disastersNumerous endangered/ threatened species currently relying on mangroves will likely go extinctEcotourism would decline resulting in a loss of income in the economy of southern Florida
SolutionsMangrove PropaguleCollect and plant propagules Re-growth usually quickRehabilitated mangroves lack the biodiversity they once had (Wells, 2006) Human conservation and education efforts (prevention is better than compensation) Currently many organizations implement mapping and monitoring programs (Vaiphasa, Skidmore, and de Boer, 2006)
ConclusionRecap Mangrove forests in southern Florida projected to crash by 2032Loss of mangrove acreage will result in the population crash of the keystone species in the southern Florida ecosystemA loss of the keystone species results in the loss of biodiversityOur analysis affirms our hypothesis
ConclusionTake Home MessageSouthern Floridas Mangrove ecosystem is in serious danger, but steps to preserve these mangroves still can be taken!