By R. Gilles (Eds.)
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Extra resources for Animals and Environmental Fitness: Physiological and Biochemical Aspects of Adaptation and Ecology. Invited Lectures
As a result, many present-day ecosystems are likely to be artefacts of today’s impoverished fauna and there are moves to re-wild ecosystems, restoring both ecological function and the spiritual and aesthetic qualities of wilderness areas, where wild animals are free to roam. For this to be realistic, we need to understand the causes and consequences of megafaunal extinctions. A purely climatic explanation for megafaunal losses might preclude options for ecosystem restoration because environmental conditions are no longer suitable.
2014, Seddon et al. 2014). This current pulse of extinctions began when explorers and colonists brought guns, steel traps and diseases that allowed the slaughter of animals on an unprecedented scale. Carnivores were particularly badly affected, due to the value of their fur and their impacts on domestic livestock, though herbivores were not immune to the carnage, both through direct killing and the spread of modern farming technologies, which converted habitat to croplands, rangelands, and plantations.
2011). Africa is exceptional in having few Pleistocene extinctions and retaining a relatively intact megafauna, though Pleistocene elephants, Pleistocene camels, and Pleistocene bison were lost (Elias and Schreve 2007). The resilience of African megafuna is possibly due to co- evolution of humans and their prey, as well as less severe climate impacts (Nogués‐Bravo et al. 2010). Studying the effects of extant African megafauna can provide clues as to how megafaunal extinctions might have impacted ecosystems elsewhere.
Animals and Environmental Fitness: Physiological and Biochemical Aspects of Adaptation and Ecology. Invited Lectures by R. Gilles (Eds.)