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Thread: Post-globalization climax ecology

  1. #1 Post-globalization climax ecology 
    Time Lord
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    I'm sure we've all noticed that certain species take over wherever humans wittingly or unwittingly introduce them. And some plants and animals thrive in the growing rural/suburban landscape.

    Can we predict the ultimate ecology for a region (say, Florida) assuming that every species on Earth has a chance at it? Will the present wave of colonizations resolve after hundreds, or thousands of years?


    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  3. #2  
    Forum Freshman jjmckane's Avatar
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    If the ecologists have anything to do with it (probably), then the world will become some sort of well tended park. Like present day trends, this park will stress native species. Since most have not been discovered yet, especially in tropical regions on a very small scale of fungus, microbe, and insect level, this will have to be guessed. So we get a Williamsburg (Virginia) type of park, what we imagine it to have been rather than what it really was. No very complete drawings of colonial Willamsburg exist, and it was said to be a poorly put together city.

    My point is most people underestimate what kinds of powers we will have in a century or two. We also forget that most people will gladly move to space (space elevator ride is believed to cost 100 $ in electrical energy) and live better.

    But if left to natural human methods untended, Florida and all would be survival of the fittest. This is difficult to guess, as niches and special advantages are hard to calculate.


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  4. #3  
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    From what I've seen ecological modeling is still in its infancy, with even the very basics of organism behaviors under different conditions not very well known for most species and interactions and abiotic effects often more complex still.
    --

    I agree by the end of the century, that whatever remains to preserve natural environments will be only superficially authentic, with humans frequently and by design having to augment and manage that illusion.
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  5. #4  
    Forum Ph.D.
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    I think that the efforts to isolate various troublesome species geographicly are doomed. We will have to expect that whatever is the most vigorus animal for a given climate, will inhabit it. Pythons will be part of the florida everglades fauna forever. Various monkeys and apes that can co-exist with humans will inhabit wild North America. Japanes winter tolerant apes already have a foot hold in Texas and the monkeys brought into the Crystal Springs area of florida as part of the "senery" for early Tarzan movies are still doing fine 50 years later. Coyotes will be a world wide part of the temperate zone ecosystem. Asian Brown tree snakes will be a pest everywhere except in the high artic. Mongoose like human environments like cities and where introduced rapidly become feral and will prey on small animal life. Ground nesting birds may be in for a very hard time.
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  6. #5  
    Time Lord
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    So the posted consensus is that change will be rapid, with humans doing damage control. And that we'll finally get a handle on it after nature's spent all her tricks?


    I suppose there are three fronts to consider here:

    1) The urban. Including suburbs, farms, highways. Here we're going to want all sorts of weird species. Garden ornamentals and so forth. We'll also strive against certain native species "invading" our space.

    2) The natural. Here we try to eradicate species that don't belong... meaning anything new to the area. The endangered Japanese giant salamander does not belong in Alaska.

    3) The exclusive refuge. This is the natural area too near humans for predators like wolves or mountain lions to venture, so that (native) prey populations like deer or rabbits may grow amazingly dense.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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