Matching Items (24)

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A Review of the Economic, Social, and Environmental Impacts of China’s South–North Water Transfer Project: A Sustainability Perspective

Description

China’s South–North Water Transfer Project (SNWTP) has the potential to transfer as much as 44.8 km[superscript 3] year[superscript −1] of water from the Yangtze River basin to the Yellow River

China’s South–North Water Transfer Project (SNWTP) has the potential to transfer as much as 44.8 km[superscript 3] year[superscript −1] of water from the Yangtze River basin to the Yellow River basin. However, the SNWTP has not been assessed from a sustainability perspective. Thus, in this study we evaluated the SNWTP’s economic, social, and environmental impacts by reviewing the English literature published in journals that are part of the Web of Science database. We then synthesized this literature using a Triple Bottom Line framework of sustainability assessment. Our study has led to three main findings: (1) whether the SNWTP is economically beneficial depends largely on model assumptions, meaning that economic gains at the regional and national level are uncertain; (2) the SNWTP requires the resettlement of hundreds of thousands of people and challenges existing water management institutions, suggesting possible social concerns beyond the short term; and (3) evidently large environmental costs in water-providing areas and uncertain environmental benefits in water-receiving areas together point to an uncertain environmental future for the geographic regions involved. Thus, the overall sustainability of SNWTP is seriously questionable. Although much work has been done studying individual aspects of SNWTP’s sustainability, few studies have utilized the multi-scale, transdisciplinary approaches that such a project demands. To minimize environmental risks, ensure social equity, and sustain economic benefits, we suggest that the project be continuously monitored in all three dimensions, and that integrated sustainability assessments and policy improvements be carried out periodically.

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  • 2017-08-22

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Herbivory and Competition of Tibetan Steppe Vegetation in Winter Pasture: Effects of Livestock Exclosure and Plateau Pika Reduction

Description

Rangeland degradation has been identified as a serious concern in alpine regions of western China on the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau (QTP). Numerous government-sponsored programs have been initiated, including many that feature

Rangeland degradation has been identified as a serious concern in alpine regions of western China on the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau (QTP). Numerous government-sponsored programs have been initiated, including many that feature long-term grazing prohibitions and some that call for eliminating pastoralism altogether. As well, government programs have long favored eliminating plateau pikas (Ochotona curzoniae), assumed to contribute to degraded conditions. However, vegetation on the QTP evolved in the presence of herbivory, suggesting that deleterious effects from grazing are, to some extent, compensated for by reduced plant-plant competition. We examined the dynamics of common steppe ecosystem species as well as physical indicators of rangeland stress by excluding livestock and reducing pika abundance on experimental plots, and following responses for 4 years. We established 12 fenced livestock exclosures within pastures grazed during winter by local pastoralists, and removed pikas on half of these. We established paired, permanent vegetation plots within and outside exclosures and measured indices of erosion and biomass of common plant species. We observed modest restoration of physical site conditions (reduced bare soil, erosion, greater vegetation cover) with both livestock exclusion and pika reduction. As expected in areas protected from grazing, we observed a reduction in annual productivity of plant species avoided by livestock and assumed to compete poorly when protected from grazing. Contrary to expectation, we observed similar reductions in annual productivity among palatable, perennial graminoids under livestock exclusion. The dominant grass, Stipa purpurea, displayed evidence of density-dependent growth, suggesting that intra-specific competition exerted a regulatory effect on annual production in the absence of grazing. Complete grazing bans on winter pastures in steppe habitats on the QTP may assist in the recovery of highly eroded pastures, but may not increase annual vegetative production.

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  • 2015-07-24

The pika and the watershed: The impact of small mammal poisoning on the ecohydrology of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau

Description

With approximately 20 % of the world’s population living in its downstream watersheds, the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP) is considered “Asia’s Water Tower.” However, grasslands of the QTP, where most of

With approximately 20 % of the world’s population living in its downstream watersheds, the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP) is considered “Asia’s Water Tower.” However, grasslands of the QTP, where most of Asia’s great rivers originate, are becoming increasingly degraded, which leads to elevated population densities of a native small mammal, the plateau pika (Ochotona curzoniae). As a result pikas have been characterized as a pest leading to wide-spread poisoning campaigns in an attempt to restore grassland quality. A contrary view is that pikas are a keystone species for biodiversity and that their burrowing activity provides a critical ecosystem service by increasing the infiltration rate of water, hence reducing overland flow. We demonstrate that poisoning plateau pikas significantly reduces infiltration rate of water across the QTP creating the potential for watershed-level impacts. Our results demonstrate the importance of burrowing mammals as ecosystem engineers, particularly with regard to their influence on hydrological functioning.

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  • 2015-02-01

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Psychological, Ecological, and Ethical Dimensions of Bottlenose Dolphin Captivity

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Bottlenose dolphins, or Tursiops truncates, have captured the attention of humans for centuries leading people to keep them in captivity. However, people's love and an increase in knowledge for these

Bottlenose dolphins, or Tursiops truncates, have captured the attention of humans for centuries leading people to keep them in captivity. However, people's love and an increase in knowledge for these creatures have sparked many ethical debates on whether dolphins should be kept in captivity. In this paper, I discuss the different dimensions of bottlenose dolphin captivity focusing on the physiological, psychological, ecological and ethical concerns raised when comparing captive to wild bottlenose dolphins. In an analysis of the scientific literature, I found that captive bottlenose dolphins experience negative physical and psychological effects, including a shorter life span and a decrease in brain size. They also engage in more risky and harmful behaviors. Preexisting brain structures in bottlenose dolphins indicate enhanced emotional processing possibly leading to a more difficult life in captivity. Furthermore, modeling of bottlenose dolphin social networks have found that removal of dolphins from existing populations have negative repercussions for ecological communities, particularly effecting present and future pods due to their complex social systems called fission fusion societies. Furthermore, removal can have a deleterious effect on the environment due to their role as top predators. Available data suggest that bottlenose dolphins should be classified as non-human persons due to their cognitive abilities such as self-awareness, intentionality, creativity, and symbolic communication. This moral classification demands significant human duties and responsibilities to protect these cetaceans. Due to their similarities to humans, these results suggest that keeping bottlenose dolphins in captivity is ethically questionable and perhaps unjustifiable as captivity violates their basic rights.

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  • 2017-05

Does Nature Nurture?: The Positive Impact of Outdoor Immersion on Physical and Mental Health, and the Creation of an Arizona Outdoor Adventure Guide

Description

Spending time outdoors can have a positive impact on the physical and mental health of individuals. These physiological and psychological benefits were comprehensively reviewed, accompanied by a brief history of

Spending time outdoors can have a positive impact on the physical and mental health of individuals. These physiological and psychological benefits were comprehensively reviewed, accompanied by a brief history of these views in American society and how modern programs are promoting outdoor activity. Some of the populations targeted in this research include children, veterans, the elderly, and the clinically ill. A guidebook for Arizona outdoor adventures \u2014 containing original landscape photography \u2014 was created to encourage ASU students to explore local hikes, campsites, and other outdoor opportunities near the city of Phoenix. Each entry contained a brief description of the area or trail, along with the distance from the ASU Tempe campus and information on the length and difficulty of the hike, if applicable. A section at the end of the book was aimed at education readers on basic outdoor survival protocol, as many people venture into the wild with very little understanding of the dangers associated with their activities. A website was made that mirrors the guidebook, but was intended to be a more accessible method of sharing our information. The final component of the project involved maintaining a social media account over the course of the year, allowing us to expand our reach to people beyond ASU and this community. Over the course of the project, the account gained a large following, and several posted photos went on to be featured on prominent regional accounts. By combining the four components described previously, several resources were created for people, particularly students attending ASU, to gain a better understanding of the outdoor adventures available to them, and the benefits that spending time surrounded by nature can have.

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  • 2017-05

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Struggle for Existence: Mexican Gray Wolves in the American Southwest

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The Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) is a genetically distinct subspecies of the gray wolf (Canis lupus) that was driven to the brink of extinction as a result of

The Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) is a genetically distinct subspecies of the gray wolf (Canis lupus) that was driven to the brink of extinction as a result of human persecution. The wolf is listed as Endangered under the Endangered Species Act, and a recovery program is underway in Arizona and New Mexico to restore its population. However, the wolf is struggling to recover due to high mortality, which is a result of continued human hostility toward it. This thesis examines historical and current human attitudes toward the wolf and the implications that they have had on the extermination and recovery of the subspecies. An overview is given of wolf biology, the history of wolf extermination and recovery, and recent events relating to the recovery of the wolf. Negative impacts on ranching, hunting, and human safety are the main reasons for opposition toward wolves and wolf recovery; these concerns are analyzed, and solutions to them are proposed, with the goal of addressing them while fostering non-lethal coexistence with the wolf. In addition, opposition to wolves and wolf recovery is tied in with larger socio-political issues and is influenced by the representation of the wolf in culture; these issues in the context of wolves are also analyzed.

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  • 2017-05

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The Ethics of Keeping Large Felids in Zoos

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This thesis aims to address the ethics of keeping the big cats, such as lions, tigers, and leopards, in zoos. It is a practice that has generated some controversy in

This thesis aims to address the ethics of keeping the big cats, such as lions, tigers, and leopards, in zoos. It is a practice that has generated some controversy in light of scientific studies reporting stress among wide-ranging animals in captive enclosures, as well as in the context of wider discussions in animal welfare and conservation ethics in zoos. A driving question for this project, therefore, was "What are the arguments for and against keeping large felids in zoos/captivity?" This thesis examines the historical and current ethical approaches to evaluating the ethics of maintaining big cats in zoos. Due to many of the big cat species listed as endangered species on the IUCN redlist, the species-centered approach to zoo ethics is becoming the common viewpoint, and, as a result, zoos are deemed ethical because of their contribution to ex situ conservation practices. Further, the ethical arguments against zoos are minimized when the zoos provide suitable and appropriate enclosures for their large felids. Of course, not all zoos are created equal; the ethics of zoos need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, but in general, it is ethical to maintain big cats in zoos.

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Date Created
  • 2014-05

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The Impacts of Conservation Practices on Indigenous Populations

Description

Conservation is a complicated entity consisting of a multitude of professional fields including social issues, cultural issues, and physical science. This thesis evaluates the positive and negative aspects of two

Conservation is a complicated entity consisting of a multitude of professional fields including social issues, cultural issues, and physical science. This thesis evaluates the positive and negative aspects of two broad types of conservation: top down fortress conservation and bottom up community-based conservation. Fortress conservation has many negative aspects, such as displacing human communities and preventing utilization of resources. However, it also has positive aspects, such as preventing the destruction of delicate ecosystems and slowing down extinctions. Community-based conservation is more inclusive and focuses on including the indigenous populations located within the proposed conservation site in the decision-making process. Its negatives include having an anthropocentric goal instead of valuing nature's intrinsic values. Understanding the differences inherent in these two methods is necessary in order to implement a conservation network with the highest chance for success.

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  • 2014-05