研究:全球大型瀕危哺乳動物消失 最終原因是人口激增

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研究:全球大型瀕危哺乳動物消失 最終原因是人口激增
研究:全球大型瀕危哺乳動物消失 最終原因是人口激增

2020年06月15日 環境資訊中心外電;姜唯 翻譯;林大利 審校;稿源:ENS 環境資訊中心外電;姜唯 翻譯;林大利 審校;稿源:ENS

西藏野氂牛(Wild Yak,學名:Bos mutus)、巴塔哥尼亞馬駝鹿(Patagonian Huemul,學名:Hippocamelus bisulcus)、不丹的羚牛(Takin,學名:Budorcas taxicolor)、越南的中南大羚(Saola,學名:Pseudoryx nghetinhensis)等世界各地特殊大型哺乳動物正在悄悄消失。過去的幾十年間,連非洲的三種斑馬和牛羚也大幅度減少。

研究人員指出,造成這些哺乳動物消失的原因不僅僅是疾病和棲息地破碎化、森林砍伐或野生動植物貿易。最終原因是人口激增。

而且,除非人類行為大幅度改變,否則科學家認為,這些哺乳動物未來的族群狀況將永遠回不去了。

科學家分析全球大型哺乳動物角色改變的原因 答案正是人口激增

科學家將這些發現發表在《生態與演化前線(Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution)》期刊上,題目是「破碎的食物網和混亂的未來:面對地球人口不斷成長的現代有蹄類(Disassembled food webs and messy projections: modern ungulate communities in the face of unabating human population growth)」。

研究主要作者、科羅拉多州立大學教授伯傑(Joel Berger)說,是付諸行動的時候了,吹捧過去的保育成就對改善人類的未來沒什麼幫助。

在這項研究中,科學家們分析了導致全球生態系統中哺乳動物角色改變的直接和間接原因,同時也指出生態交互作用的本質如何產生根本性的變化,甚至在未來幾十年內更大規模地發生。

他們研究了巴塔哥尼亞馬駝鹿、不丹的羚牛,北美沙漠的野馬、狼和郊狼的變化,以及大型食肉動物就地滅絕後大生態系統改變的必然性。

科學家認為,隨著人口在陸地上的分布越來越廣,這些改變是現在進行式。

「即使是在喜馬拉雅山脈的偏遠地區,人類入侵帶來流浪狗和野狗,嚴重破壞了高經濟價值和文化象徵意義的野生和圈養物種。」不丹基金會的Wangchuk說。

2020年世界人口已接近80億 地球上的哺乳動物有97%是牲畜和人類

人類定居喜馬拉雅山部分地區還是近年暖化融冰後的事。科學家們還指出全球人口的劇烈變化。1830年,海軍中將羅伯特.斐茲洛伊(Robert Fitzroy)乘著小獵犬號穿越南美洲麥哲倫海峽(Magellan Straits)時,地球人口不到12億。到1970年世界地球日,已超過35億。

僅50年後的今天,世界人口已接近80億,牲畜和人類占了地球哺乳動物生物量高達97%。

研究團隊指出,全世界的食物網已被人類大幅改變無法回頭了,重建過去的條件或恢復曾經由原生種創造的生態功能幾乎是不可能的。例如今日除南極洲外,在每個大陸以及美國70%的州中都有野化的家豬。這些動物影響了魚類、爬行動物、鳥類以及其他小型哺乳動物,甚至植物和土壤。

此外,氣候變遷使海洋暖化,導致海洋藻類增生,漁獲量減少。相對魚類的需求減少,陸地上盜獵野生生物的情況隨之增加。

科學家們還記錄下時尚需求如何增加從蒙古、印度和中國輸出至西方的喀什米爾羊毛,導致更多中亞沙漠牧民飼養山羊。這些山羊與原生物種競爭食物,同時也因當地狗越來越多而身處險境。

這些狗不僅是掠食者,還攜帶疾病,傳染雪豹(Snow Leopard,學名:Panthera uncia)、西藏野驢(Kiang,學名:Equus kiang)和普氏原羚(Przewalski's gazelle,學名:​​​​​​​Procapra przewalskii)等瀕臨滅絕的物種。

但作者們認為,儘管形勢嚴峻,並非沒有機會挽回。像是在極地,適應寒冷氣候的物種仍是人類重要的文化資產,我們仍然有時間保存僅存的生態。

全世界還有許多保護區,如非洲的塞倫蓋蒂和克魯格國家公園、北美黃石公園和朗格-聖伊利亞斯國家公園暨保護區、玻利維亞麥迪迪國家公園、智利和阿根廷的巴塔哥尼亞冰原、中國長塘自然保護區以及世界最大國家公園東北格陵蘭國家公園。

儘管大型哺乳動物食物網將與過去有所不同、有著不同以往的運作方式,但對於未來的走向還有許多選擇。

作者表示:「現在還不算太晚,我們沒有時間為失去哀悼。必須將生態悲痛化為行動,尊重仍然存在的特殊生物多樣性,並透過保護地球的大片原野地來實現。」 Wildife Suffers Humpty Dumpty Effect as Humans MultiplyFORT COLLINS, Colorado, June 9, 2020 (ENS)

Some of the world’s largest, most spectacular and unheralded mammals are silently slipping away – species like Tibetan wild yaks and Patagonia’s huemul, Bhutan’s takin and Vietnam’s saola. Even Africa’s three species of zebras and wildebeest have suffered massive reductions over the last several decades.

The reasons for these losses are more than disease and habitat fragmentation, deforestation or wildlife trade, according to researchers. Ultimately, the cause is rampant human population growth.

And unless human behavior changes in unprecedented ways, these scientists warn that future communities of these mammals will never resemble those of the recent past or even today.

The findings are based on a new study, “Disassembled food webs and messy projections: modern ungulate communities in the face of unabating human population growth,” published June 9 in the journal “Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution.”

Joel Berger, lead author of the study and a professor at Colorado State University, said that the time for action is now, and that touting past conservation achievements does little to better humanity’s future.

In this study, the scientists analyzed direct and indirect disruptions that lead to the changing roles of mammals in global ecosystems and noted how the nature of ecological interactions has changed and will do so, on an even larger scale, in the coming decades.

They looked at what has happened with the huemul in Patagonia, takin in Bhutan, wild horses in deserts, wolves and coyotes in North America, and the inevitability of change in big ecosystems as large carnivores are extirpated.

They said this is happening as the human population increases its footprint on land.

“Even in the remote reaches of the Himalayas, stray and feral dogs, a direct result of human intrusions, wreak havoc on wild and domestic species of high economic value and cultural importance,” said Wangchuk of the Bhutan Foundation.

Humans only recently colonized parts of the Himalayas, areas where ice has receded due to warming temperatures. Yet, the authors also point to human population change at a global scale. In 1830 when Vice-Admiral Robert Fitzroy captained his ship, the Beagle, through the Magellan Straits of South America, fewer than 1.2 billion people inhabited Earth. By Earth Day in 1970, there were more than 3.5 billion.

Today, only 50 years later the world’s population approaches eight billion. Livestock and humans now constitute a staggering 97 percent of the planet’s mammal biomass.

The research team explained that worldwide food webs have become irretrievably altered by humans, with little hope to reconstitute even recent past conditions or to put back the ecological functions once created by native species.

Feral pigs, for instance, exist today on every continent except Antarctica, and in 70 percent of the states in the United States. These animals disrupt fish, reptiles, birds and other small mammals, plants and soils.

In addition, climate change warms the oceans, which in turn foments marine algal blooms, reducing fishery catches. With less demand for fish, a consequent uptick in wildlife poaching on land occurs.

The scientists also documented how an appetite for fashion like cashmere increases imports to the west from Mongolia, India and China, resulting in economic incentives for desert pastoralists to produce more domestic goats in central Asia. These goats compete for food with native species and are in danger due to increasing numbers of dogs in these areas.

The dogs are not only predators but also carry diseases, which jeopardizes endangered species like snow leopards, kiang and Przewalksi’s gazelle.

Berger and the study authors suggest that despite the grim findings, all is not yet lost.

Prospects for ecological integrity and the conservation of unheralded species improve greatly toward the world’s edges where the planet’s cold-adapted species remain important to the human spirit and we still have time to save what we have.

The world has remarkable protected areas including Serengeti and Kruger National Park in Africa, Yellowstone and Wrangell-St. Elias National Park Preserve in North America, Madidi National Park in Bolivia, the Patagonia Ice Fields of Chile and Argentina, the Chang Tang Nature Reserve in China, and Northeast Greenland National Park, the world’s largest national park.

And although food webs with large mammals will be different from those of the past and operate differently today, there are options to shape the future.

“It is not too late and we simply do not have the luxury of time to mourn what we have lost,” said Lambert. “We need to use our ecological grief to implement action and honor the exceptional biodiversity that remains. This can be done by protecting large tracts of the planet’s wild places.”

※ 全文及圖片詳見:ENS 保育類野生動物哺乳動物人口國際新聞生態保育 作者 姜唯

如果有一件事是重要的,如果能為孩子實現一個願望,那就是人類與大自然和諧共存。 林大利

於特有生物研究保育中心服務,小鳥和棲地是主要的研究對象。是龜毛的讀者,認為龜毛是探索世界的美德。