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This introductory chapter sketches the key research questions: How do changing social-ecological relations and an increasing impact of non-local actors impact the savannah landscape of north-western Namibia? The chapter links the contents of the book with three paradigms: new materialism, environmental history, and political ecology. The chapter also introduces the lead-concept environmental infrastructure and discusses its merits for the study of landscape transformations. The introductory chapter also discusses twenty years of research on north-western Namibia and Himba and Herero pastoralists.
Genetic and linguistic evidence suggests that, after living in the Subarctic for thousands of years, Northern Athabascans began migrating to the American Southwest around 1,000 years ago. Anthropologists have proposed that this partial out-migration and several associated in situ behavioral changes were the result of a massive volcanic eruption that decimated regional caribou herds. However, regional populations appear to increase around the time of these changes, a demographic shift that may have led to increased territoriality, resource stress, and specialization. Building on existing syntheses of cultural dynamics in the region, analyses of excavated materials, and landscape data from Alaska and Yukon, this research shows that the Athabascan transition represented a gradual shift toward resource specialization in both salmon and caribou with an overall increase in diet breadth, indicating a behavioral transition that is more consistent with gradual demographic change. Further, this behavioral shift was already in motion at the time of the volcanic eruption circa 1150 cal BP and suggests that the ultimate migration from the area was the result of demographic pressures. In sum, this research elaborates on the complex dynamics of resilience and adaptation in hunter-gatherer groups and provides a testable model for explaining past migrations.
Knowledge of bio-physicochemical variables is essential to better understand the functioning of tropical marine ecosystems, which are rich in biodiversity and provide nutrition and livelihoods to billions of people in the developing countries. This study analysed the spatial and temporal variability of phytoplankton and zooplankton with chlorophyll, primary productivity, temperature, salinity, oxygen and nutrients in the Bay of Bengal (BoB), collecting data from the World Ocean, and COPEPOD and Aqua MODIS records. The results indicated a strong gradient in bio-physicochemical conditions of the BoB, from the coast to the open sea. Specifically, the spatial variability in chlorophyll was negatively correlated (R2 = 0.59) with temperature and zooplankton, while a positive correlation (R2 = 0.70) was noted between chlorophyll and silicate, nitrate, phosphate, dissolved oxygen and salinity. All the variables exhibited a strong vertical gradient at depths up to 500 m. Temperature, nutrients, zooplankton and to a lesser extent salinity and rainfall had an influence on the annual abundance of phytoplankton. Over the long term, a significant positive trend in temperature and a significant negative trend in primary productivity were observed in the BoB. The findings of this study will be useful to draw insights on the state of fisheries habitats and the overall environmental conditions of the BoB in response to future climate changes.
This chapter introduces the statistical methods commonly applied by ecologists working with community data, by giving a general overview of the available tools. In this way, the chapter places joint species distribution models in general – and Hierarchical Modelling of Species Communities (HMSC) in particular – in the broader context of statistical community ecology. The chapter first introduces the wide variety of ordination methods and the substantial contributions they have made to empirical research in community ecology. The chapter next discusses the approaches of co-occurrence analysis and generalised linear models applied to diversity metrics. The chapter concludes by introducing species distribution modelling, highlighting the differences between single-species and joint species distribution models. Although the statistical methods are explained only verbally in this chapter, they are further discussed elsewhere in the book – namely, Chapters 4–8 give the statistical details on single-species and joint species distribution models, and Chapter 11 illustrates ordinations, co-occurrence analysis and joint species distribution models by applying them to a real data example.
This chapter gives a brief overview of the history of community ecology, starting from the early 20th century debates on how communities should be defined and continuing until the modern conceptual frameworks. The chapter covers the criticism of community ecology, the views and theories that mainstreamed its avenue and the current unifying theoretical frameworks. The chapter discusses how the scale dependency of community processes is one of the main sources of criticism and disagreement among community ecologists. We introduce the early contrasting views and theories, such as the organismic versus individualistic continuum concepts of communities and the niche versus neutral theories. We further discuss the current unifying theoretical frameworks, such as the metacommunity framework, the assembly rules framework and Vellend’s Theory of Ecological Communities. Most importantly, the chapter introduces the concepts and ideas that underlie the ecological assumptions behind species distribution models in general, and Hierarchical Modelling of Species Communities (HMSC) in particular.
This chapter offers an overview of the conceptual framework of queer ecology – which interrogates the relationship between the categories of “queerness” and “nature.” In the first section, Seymour traces this framework’s history and deployment by academics, artists, and activists, and also attends to its oversights. She argues that queer ecology has made foundational, though sometimes underrecognized, contributions to the larger nonhuman turn in the humanities. The second section turns to primary sources, using queer ecology and the related framework of trans ecology to read two works of contemporary US literature, Edward Abbey’s novel The Monkey Wrench Gang (1975) and Oliver Baez Bendorf’s poetry collection The Spectral Wilderness (2015). Seymour shows how Abbey’s novel tries, unsuccessfully, to oppose the transformativity of nature to the transformativity of sex and gender; meanwhile, Bendorf’s poetry offers an alternative to this line of thought by drawing innovative parallels between the category of the vegetal and the transgender human body.
The chief place Norwegian ecologists would meet, train their students, and explore the environment was The High Mountain Ecology Research Station, established at Finse in 1965 and located in one of the most beautiful mountain regions of Norway. When finished in 1972 it was, perhaps, the largest and most expensive ecological research station in Europe. The formative years of ecological research in Norway took place at Finse and were supported by ecologists such as Arne Semb-Johansson, Eilif Dahl, Rolf Vik, Eivind Østbye, and the International Biological Program. The picturesque Research Station at Finse was idyllic in comparison to the ecological destruction described in a growing body of environmental literature. Propelled by the publication of Rachel Carson’s warning against pesticides in Silent Spring (1962), the ecologists at Finse became powerful lobbyists in favor of large-scale national parks in the nation’s periphery. They sought an “eco-politics” founded on science, as our common future depended on the development of a “steady-state” social economy that would mirror the steady-state balance of the zero-growth economy of nature at Finse.
In 1971 Norwegian ecophilosophers Sigmund Kvaløy, Arne Næss, and Nils Faarlund traveled to the periphery, to the faraway mountains of Nepal. It was a transformative experience for them. In the lives of the Sherpa, they saw an alternative environmentally friendly way of living. Upon their return to Norway they wrote about Sherpa life as an Oriental harmony juxtaposed with the harsh Occidental values of their own Western culture. This demarcation between Oriental ecological wisdom and the Occidental stupidity of the West eventually came to frame the deep-ecological debate at home and abroad. Sherpa life was to be a model for all Norwegians, and Sherpa-informed Norwegians were to be a subsequent model for the world.
Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) have been surveyed for at least two decades on the southern Brazilian coast. However, little is known about their distribution and habitat use in lower latitudes of the South-western Atlantic Ocean. Aiming to study the movements and distribution of the species along the south-eastern Brazilian coast, we made a comparison of photo-identified individuals of the species catalogued in 21 cruises conducted between 2012 and 2015. Additionally, we performed stable isotope analyses of carbon and nitrogen in skin samples (N = 35) to provide some insights of dolphin habitat use and trophic ecology through comparisons among individuals of distinct surveyed sectors (northern and southern) and sex. A total of 177 individuals were identified. Re-sightings (N = 24) occurred at intervals from 82 to 979 days at distances from 7 to 179 km. No individual was sighted in both sectors, suggesting spatial segregation. Isotopic comparisons showed no significant differences in carbon and nitrogen signatures between distinct sectors. However, ecological divergences were found when we divided the samples by gender. Wider isotopic niches were found for the northern bottlenose dolphins vs the southern ones, which could be related to temporal and spatial variation in the availability of resources, as well as possible differences in the home ranges of males and females in each region. This study represents a preliminary evaluation of ecological aspects of bottlenose dolphins along the Brazilian south-eastern coast, however, long-term studies on the feeding ecology and habitat use of this species are important to further improve our knowledge.
Resource partitioning is important for species coexistence. Species with similar ecomorphological characters have a high potential for competition, especially when close phylogenetically. The diet and resource partitioning of four snappers (Lutjanus alexandrei, L. analis, L. jocu and L. synagris) was studied in the Tubarão River, north-eastern Brazil, between March and November 2012. Specimens were caught using a beach seine, and a total of 731 stomachs were analysed. The highest abundance of snappers was found near to vegetated habitats in the middle estuary. Crustaceans were dominant in the diet of all four species, being found in over 90% of the stomachs, followed by fish and molluscs. The species did not appear to compete for common resources, probably because there was not always spatial overlap, and differences in the proportions of consumption of items were observed. Ontogenetic comparisons of dietary compositions suggested differences among species, with changes in the diet related to changes in the mouth area as the body size increased. The changes were more evident in L. analis and L. synagris where microcrustaceans (Calanoida, Cyclopoida and Amphipoda) were dominant in the diet of the smaller size classes, and benthic crustaceans (Brachyura) and fish in the diet of larger individuals. The intra- and inter-specific differences in the dietary compositions, differences in the mouth area and feeding strategy contribute to allow the co-existence of these snappers in the study area.
Shifting from shellfish collecting to fishing as a primary coastal foraging strategy can allow hunter-gatherers to obtain more food and settle in larger populations. On California's northern Channel Islands (NCI), after the development of the single-piece shell fishhook around 2500 cal BP, diet expanded from primarily shellfish to include nearshore fishes in greater numbers. During the Medieval Climatic Anomaly (1150–600 cal BP), settlement on the islands condensed to a small number of large coastal villages with high population densities supported largely by nearshore fish species including rockfishes, surfperches, and señoritas. Faunal data from five sites on western Santa Rosa Island (CA-SRI-15, -31, -97, -313, and -333) demonstrate an increase in nearshore fishing through time. We argue that demographic changes that occurred on the northern Channel Islands were accompanied by changes in subsistence strategies that were related in part to risk of failure when attempting to acquire different resources. As population density increased, the low-risk strategy of shellfish harvesting declined in relative importance as a higher-risk strategy of nearshore fishing increased. While multiple simultaneous subsistence strategies are frequently noted among individual hunter-gatherer communities in the ethnographic record, this study provides a framework to observe similar patterns in the archaeological record.
Human influence on ecological niches can drive rapid changes in the diet, behaviour and evolutionary trajectories of small mammals. Archaeological evidence from the Late Neolithic Loess Plateau of northern China suggests that the expansion of millet cultivation created new selective pressures, attracting small mammals to fields and settlements. Here, the authors present direct evidence for commensal behaviour in desert hares (Lepus capensis), dating to c. 4900 years ago. Stable isotope ratio analysis of hare bones from the Neolithic site at Yangjiesha shows a diachronic increase in a C4 (millet-based) diet, revealing, for the first time, the expansion of ancient human-hare interactions beyond the predator-prey relationship.
The extent of intertidal flats in the Yellow Sea region has declined significantly in the past few decades, resulting in severe population declines in several waterbird species. The Yellow Sea region holds the primary stopover sites for many shorebirds during their migration to and from northern breeding grounds. However, the functional roles of these sites in shorebirds’ stopover ecology remain poorly understood. Through field surveys between July and November 2015, we investigated the stopover and moult schedules of migratory shorebirds along the southern Jiangsu coast, eastern China during their southbound migration, with a focus on the ‘Critically Endangered’ Spoon-billed Sandpiper Calidris pygmaea and ‘Endangered’ Nordmann’s Greenshank Tringa guttifer. Long-term count data indicate that both species regularly occur in globally important number in southern Jiangsu coast, constituting 16.67–49.34% and 64.0–80.67% of their global population estimates respectively, and it is highly likely that most adults undergo their primary moult during this southbound migration stopover. Our results show that Spoon-billed Sandpiper and Nordmann’s Greenshank staged for an extended period of time (66 and 84 days, respectively) to complete their primary moult. On average, Spoon-billed Sandpipers and Nordmann’s Greenshanks started moulting primary feathers on 8 August ± 4.52 and 27 July ± 1.56 days respectively, and their moult durations were 72.58 ± 9.08 and 65.09 ± 2.40 days. In addition, some individuals of several other shorebird species including the ‘Endangered’ Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris, ‘Near Threatened’ Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica, ‘Near Threatened’ Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata and Greater Sand Plover Charadrius leschenaultii also underwent primary moult. Our work highlights the importance of the southern Jiangsu region as the primary moulting ground for these species, reinforcing that conservation of shorebird habitat including both intertidal flats and supratidal roosting sites in this region is critical to safeguard the future of some highly threatened shorebird species.
Common gardens are experimental plantations for comparing the performance of tree species while eliminating many of the variables that prevail in natural tree stands. The aim of this study was to evaluate the biodiversity of corticolous lichens on Danish tree species (Acer pseudoplatanus, Alnus glutinosa, Betula pendula, Fagus sylvatica, Fraxinus excelsior, Quercus robur and Tilia cordata) under common garden conditions and to examine the height distribution of particular lichen species. Observations were recorded through regular sampling of at least 36 lichen species on the main stems (from the base of the stem to the treetops) of 44-year-old trees at four common garden sites. Acer pseudoplatanus and Fraxinus excelsior had the greatest lichen species richness and Shannon diversity values while these measures were significantly lower for Betula pendula and Fagus sylvatica. The distribution of lichen species appeared biased among tree species. The general lichen distribution and relative sample height were weakly related (nonmetric multidimensional scaling). However, single lichen species showed a clear differential distribution along the tree stem (P < 0.001, non-parametric multiplicative regression and logistic log-binomial regression). Lepraria incana, Pseudosagedia aenea and Arthonia atra were mainly found at the stem base while Lecanora carpinea, L. chlarotera, Lecidella elaeochroma, Physcia tenella and Xanthoria parietina, were most abundant at around 70% of the total tree height. The differential distribution of single lichen species presumably reflects different specific requirements during spore germination and thallus growth. By isolating the unique effect of key variables (tree species and height), this study contributes to the knowledge base of corticolous lichen ecology.
Chapter 2 examines 6:11–13 where creation had become saturated with violence. The Hebrew חמס often connotes systemic violence, and is thus an appropriate term for capturing the way that violence was understood to fill an environment. Once filled, the land could no longer sustain human, plant, or animal populations. Violence works like termites destroying the wood framing on the house. The house may appear reasonably solid from the outside until the moment before it collapses. There are several auditory terms writers use to describe creation in this crisis state. Some describe it in terms of acoustic tumult or uproar. The sound of violence also reverberates horizontally throughout creation in an ever increasing ‘tumult’, bringing creation to its breaking point. But the tumultuous sound of the violent also sends out shockwaves that reach God, because the basic impulse of violence is heavenward arrogance. This undermines the power of the arrogant because God responds decisively against arrogant claimants to Yhwh’s throne.
Hairy fleabane [Conyza bonariensis (L.) Cronquist] is a problematic weed in Australian no-till cropping systems. Consequently, a study was conducted to examine the effect of temperature, light, salt stress, osmotic stress, burial depth, and sorghum crop residue on germination and emergence in two populations (C and W: collected from chick pea [Cicer arietinum L.] and wheat [Triticum aestivum L.] fields, respectively) of C. bonariensis. Both populations were able to germinate over a wide range of alternating day/night temperatures (15/5 to 35/25 C); however, the C population had optimum (and similar) germination over the range of 20/10 and 30/20 C, while the W population showed maximum germination at 25/15 C. A negative relationship was observed between osmotic potential and germination, with 31% and 14% germination of the C and W populations at −0.6 MPa, respectively. These observations suggest that population C was more tolerant to higher osmotic potentials than population W. Seeds of both populations germinated when exposed to a wide range of sodium chloride levels (NaCl, 0 to 200 mM); however, beyond 200 mM NaCl, no germination was observed in either population. Maximum germination of the C (70%) and W (41%) populations was observed on the soil surface with no emergence from a burial depth of 1 cm. The application of sorghum residue at an amount of 6,000 kg ha−1 reduced emergence of the C and W populations by 55% and 58%, respectively, compared with the no-residue treatment. Knowledge gained from this study suggests that the following strategies could be used for more efficacious management of C. bonariensis: (1) a shallow-tillage operation to bury weed seeds in conventional tillage systems, and (2) retention of sorghum residue on the soil surface in no-till systems.
Political theory and philosophy need to widen their view of the space in which what matters politically takes place, and I suggest that integrating the conditions of sustainability of all affected—that is, all participants in nature's relations—is a necessary first step in this direction. New materialists and posthumanists have challenged how nature and politics have traditionally been construed. While acknowledging the significance of their contributions, I critically examine the ethical and political implications of their ontological project. I focus particularly on how the decentering of human agency that they advocate for raises a set of concerns that need to be addressed in developing an appropriate ecological ethics. I argue that the latter must be attuned to the vulnerability of living beings who participate in relationships that sustain life on earth. This brings me to conclude that qualitative distinctions between the worlds of bios and techne are necessary. This is because we need to think critically about ways of evaluating types of relationships so that we can assess them and establish which are worth nurturing and protecting and which are not.
Greenhouse experiments were conducted in 2016 at Pontotoc and Verona, MS. On March 3 (Pontotoc) and March 7 (Verona), landscape fabric was placed in the bottom of polyethylene lugs, each 0.22 m2, then approximately 5 cm of a 1:1 (v/v) blend of soilless potting media and masonry sand was added. ‘Beauregard’ sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L). Lam.] storage roots weighing between 85 and 227 g, and several with emerging sprouts ≤1 cm, were placed longitudinally in a single layer on the substrate, then covered with an additional 3 cm of the substrate. Sprouted yellow nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus L.) tubers were transplanted equidistantly into sweetpotato-containing lugs at six densities: 0, 18, 36, 73, 109, and 145 m−2. Trials were terminated 55 and 60 d after planting at Pontotoc and Verona, respectively. Predicted total sweetpotato stem cuttings (slips) decreased linearly from 399 to 312 m−2 as C. esculentus density increased from 0 to 145 m−2. Predicted total slip dry weight at a C. esculentus density of 145 m−2 was reduced 21% compared with 0 m−2. Predicted rotten sweetpotato storage roots increased from 2.6 to 11.3 m−2 as C. esculentus density increased from 0 to 145 m−2. In response to increasing C. esculentus density, sweetpotato seed roots exhibited increased proximal-end dominance.
Small mammals can be used as environmental indicators and have been intensively studied in fragmented landscapes of Atlantic Forest, with a wide range of field methods. Our aim in this study was two-fold: we tested for the effects of methods and for the effects of the main environmental variables on observed small mammal richness in fragments of Atlantic Forest. We gathered information on small mammal richness, methods and environmental variables from 122 fragments of Atlantic Forest through literature review. These data were analysed using linear models and model selection based on AIC values along with a regression tree analysis. We found that studies will record more species with bigger trapping effort, using pitfall traps and sampling all forest strata. We also confirmed two important ecological assumptions: fragments at lower latitudes and bigger fragments were the ones with higher species richness. Methodological and environmental variables were analysed together on a regression tree, where trapping effort was the most important variable, surpassing any environmental effect. Considering that a significant number of the studies on Atlantic Forest fragments did not use pitfall traps or sample all forest strata, their results on forest fragmentation were affected by sampling bias.
This chapter combines the modelling approaches of Chapters 4 – 7 to investigate how and why species can coexist. For this the chapter presents main arguments and concepts that have been presented in the literature over the past few decades, which include, among others, niche separation, the competition-colonisation trade-off and the intermediate disturbance hypothesis. Modelling examples from the literature that introduce and investigate these concepts are outlined. Some of the models are stochastic, most of them contain spatial structure and all of them, of course, consider individual variability, either through equation-based models or individual-based models. Various models, expecially the more recent ones contain all three features. Species coexistence is one of, or may be even the most, important question analysed in the research fields of (meta) community ecology.