Conservation: Species interactions and biodiversity

Sumatran Tiger – a critically endangered species (Photo by Rebecca Campbell on Unsplash)

Hey you guys!

Right now I’m participating in a summer school held by University of Gothenburg. Everything is held online and I am participating in their “Biodiversity in Western Sweden” program. It’s my second week now and I learn a lot (and have so much fun, of course!). I just wanna share a little bit of what I learned in the class because I find it very interesting. It is about how the species itself contribute to the biodiversity.

Disclaimer: I am a layman in this topic so please dont refer to my post as your sole source of information. This is solely information and take away that I get from my class. Please do your own research as well ūüôā

Okay so first of all, when you think of conservation, what is the first word that came up in your mind?

So during our second discussion session, the lecturers asked us that. Well, as you can see the picture that I used, Sumatran Tiger is the first thing that came up in my mind. Why? Simple. I like cats (big cats are included of course) and I donated for Sumatran Tiger conservation before. Mostly, when we talked about conservation what we have in mind is big mammals or endangered species or those that often appear in the media such as panda, elephants and orang utan.

But have you ever thought about the so-called common species?

For our discussion, we had to read this paper: A case for conserving common species (Frimpong, 2018). This paper elaborate how we overlook common species and interaction between this common species and other species. An example from Frimpong (2018) is the nest construction of bluehead chub, Nocomis leptocephalus. Apparently, the nesting activity done by this species attracts and benefits other species such as rosyside dace (Clinostomus funduloides), blacknose dace (Rhinichthys atratulus), rock bass (Ambloplites rupestris) and so on. However, according to Frimpong (2018), the aquatic strategy in freshwater realm on understanding the importance of positive interdependence among species is not widely known. In addition, conservation of mutualism has become vital as many rare species rely on positive interaction with common species.

There is also lectures and other discussions that we had regarding how birds and big mammals distribute seeds in the region, which I find really fascinating. For example, bigger birds able to bring bigger seeds compared to smaller birds so they can shift vegetation composition in their region. The same case also applied to big mammals. An example from Macdonald et al. (2013) is Rhinos’ feeding behaviour that shift vegetation composition and structure. The fruit removal and seed dispersal by greater one-horned rhinoceros could shift tall grasslands to riverine forest by manuring the seeds of the shade-intolerant common tree Trewia nudiflora into grassland latrines. These latrines become outposts of woody vegetation in a sea of elephant grass. And without the annual mortality of Trewia seedlings by monsoon floods and annual-unpredictable fires, rhino mediated seed dispersal could lead to the succession from grassland to woodland and forest within decades.

Another interesting species interactions that we learned is the re-introduction of wolves in Yellowstone National Park, USA. By influencing the distribution and behaviour of herbivores (the risk of predation influences the spatial distribution and habitat selection also their vigilance), the wolves change the ecosystem in the national park. So, previously they were gone from the park for around 70 years. Because there’s nothing to hunt the deers, their population piled up and they reduced the amount of vegetation in the park. Because of the wolves, the deers’ behaviour changed ie, avoiding certain parts of the park. Then, the areas that they avoided regenerate, means the park had more vegetation. This attracts other species such as birds and beavers. The beavers then built dams, which provided habitat for other species such as otters, reptiles, ducks. Interestingly, the wolves also changed the river due to the regenerating forest and vegetation.

I used to think conservation and biodiversity are basically endangered species, big-overly discussed in media kind of species and species richness. I wont lie, I mostly focus only on animals and never really think about plants and fungi (until this class!). Apparently there are so much more than that! What’s really interesting and often forgettable is that:

all species is equally important.

The ones that we overlook could have a big contribution in saving other species which are threatened or maybe they could also be actually in danger. From this class, I learn that we have so many things to do and how complex the situation is.

Soooo I know that many of you are more expert in this area (well, I am a layman in this topic hehe) and I would love to discuss about it more with you if you like ūüôā So anyway, feel free to connect with me!

Cheers,

Kemmy

Sources of materials that I used in this post can be found on the post itself (you can find and click the link right in the post).

(This post was written during Summer School of Sustainability at University of Gothenburg, Sweden. The summer school was taken while studying the¬†M.Sc. ‚ÄúEnvironmental Management‚ÄĚ at¬†Christian-Albrechts Universit√§t (CAU) in Kiel, Germany)

Indonesia’s Jurassic Park and Environmental Valuation

Rinca Island (Photo by Azis Pradana on Unsplash)

Hey you guys!

So last semester I took a class called “Economic Valuation of Ecosystem Services.” One of the assignments that we needed to submit and present was to find a news on the internet and correlate it with environmental valuation and how the valuation can help in this regards. As someone who is really interested in environmental economics, I was, of course, really enjoyed the class and the assignments.

In this post I would like to tell you a bit about the paper that I have wrote in 2020. So here you go, the short version of my assignment:

Komodo National Park, which aims to conserve the unique Komodo dragon and its habitat, is located in the center of Indonesia archipelago at East Nusa Tenggara Province. However, the government unveiled controversial plans to turn part of the site (Rinca island) into a Jurassic Park-style tourist attraction as a premium tourism site in October 2019. In addition, it is reported that the Komodo dragon will be lured into the site after the project is finished as the main attraction of the island.

This project will damage the overall ecosystem of the island due to landscape changes and concrete heavy system. This, of course, will affect the Komodo dragons’ survival rate and behavior. For instance, the intentional feeding will make the accustom to receiving food from humans and act aggressive towards human. Furthermore, this project might contaminate groundwater from drilling wells and produce CO2 emissions from diesel generator. This project affects not only wildlife, but also locals. Despite the opposition by many, this project is still ongoing and is predicted to be finished by June 2021.

The government did not provide the monetary value projection which will be gained from this project and there is no information on the value of the damaged ecosystem. In other words, there is no information that can be used to compare the two. Hence, environmental valuation can help the decision-makers to measure the effects of environmental change on monetary scale. In this case, cost benefit analysis (CBA) can’t be done as it is typically conducted before a project is implemented and it is unlikely that the government suddenly decide to stop the construction. Therefore, technical use can be applied to assess the natural resource damage after the project is completed. In addition, informative use to see the value of the national park in general can also be done to increase awareness of the value of nature.

If you wanna find out more about the news, you could read it here:

  1. BBC: Viral photo sparks concerns about Indonesia‚Äôs ‚ÄėJurassic Park‚Äô
  2. TEMPO: Facts Behind the Jurassic Park-esque Project at Komodo’s Habitat
  3. TEMPO: Locals Strongly Reject ‚ÄėJurassic Park‚Äô Project at Komodo National Park Area
  4. Jakarta Post: Govt denies ‘Jurassic Park’ claims amid controversy surrounding Rinca Island project
  5. ABC Australia: Indonesia’s Jurassic Park-inspired tourist attraction worries Komodo dragon fans

(This academic paper was written while studying the¬†M.Sc. “Environmental Management” at¬†Christian-Albrechts Universit√§t (CAU) in Kiel, Germany)

Cheers,

Kemmy

# 13 Momo

Hey you guys!

I am back with my 30 days writing challenge with 7 months of delay. HAHA.

Eh. I just gonna post the challenge whenever i want.

I have posted about my number 1 favorite book actually it’s the Book of Lost Things. It’s literally my favorite as I have bought it again when I am in Germany. I could not find it in ID so I was so happy when I found it on amazon!

Well, since I have talked about it before I guess I could just post about other book. It’s an old novel by Michael Ende (1973) called Momo or The Grey Gentlemen or The Men in Grey. I first found out about this book from a friend during our class in last summer term. So we had to bring one thing and explain it why it correlates with you. And he showed this book. At that time, I was heart broken (uwu~) and I just bury my sorrow with books. Yea, when I was heart-broken I accomplished more than now. ahahaha sad.

Anywaaay, I dont usually read novel and I dont particularly enjoy novel (though my fave book is a novel (????)) but this book seemed interesting. So i just gave it a try. And oh boy, the story is just muach. *chef’s kiss.*

I wont say many about this book so you can check it out yourselves but if you have read the Little Prince, then yea, the lessons kinda remind you of Little Prince. You can reaaaally relate the story with your life especially when you’re currently adulting. Momo is telling you the concept of time and how it is used. I have many fave quotes from this book, but I’ll pick three of them:

People never seemed to notice that, by saving time, they were losing something else

Most of us take for granted and never think twice about, is time

Why should I care as long as I get my wages at the end of the week

For me these quotes relate with my daily life. A LOT. Oh how I just go with my life without paying attention of time, thinking as long as my work is done and i’m paid a decent amount of money everything will be fine.

So, what do you think? I hope you’re interested in the book as I am! Lemme know if you read the book and tell me what do you think ūüėÄ

Cheers,

Kemmy