Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Cascading Collapses of Wildlife Populations

Here's an article about matching declines in native wildflowers and insects. Many insects rely on flowers for larval and adult food, shelter, etc.  Remove the host plants and you remove the insects.  Conversely, many plants rely on insects for pollination or other services.  Remove the insects and you remove the plants.

Bird species are collapsing too.  Many birds are insectivores.  Remove native plants, which kills off the insects, and the birds starve.  Birds need about 70% native plants to survive.  Most yards are food deserts for them.  

Amphibians are disappearing all over.  Most of those species are also insectivores.  Remove native plants, which kills off the insects, and there go frogs, toads, salamanders, etc.

This is a food web.  Plants fill in the bottom by creating biomass from soil, water, and sunlight.  Without the right plants, the insects that eat them die, and then the amphibians and songbirds that eat those insects die, and then the predators such as snakes, foxes, and birds of prey that eat the amphibians and songbirds will die.  Humans are the top of the food web now.  When too much of the food web collapses, it will take out the top, and then the detritivores like fungi will feast.  None of this is hard to understand, by the way, it's taught in grade school.  Apparently a lot of people slept through all that.

So when you read about plants and insects dying out, remember the food web ... and the fact that small things can knock over much larger things.

Everything is alive; everything is connected.  Whatever we do to the Earth, we do to ourselves.  Mitakuye oyasin.
Tags: environment, nature, news, science, wildlife
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