Author: Isabelle Groc
Date: July 17 , 2014
Chapter 11: Biodiversity
Content of the Article: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/07/140717-spotted-owls-barred-shooting-logging-endangered-species-science/
The problem in the article is the declining population of Northern Spotted Owls and the increasing population of Barred Owls, which have forced the Northern Spotted Owls out of their ecological systems. Another problem is also the failed government attempts at preserving the Northern Spotted Owl species and the unethical ways of trying to preserve and help the Northern Spotted Owl species. The players are the humans because logging operations have resulted in habitat destruction and a limited space for the owls to live in, which in turn results in increased competition between the two owl species (the Northern Spotted Owl and the Barred Owl). Both owl species are the ones being affected as well as the organisms that are prey to the owls. The Northern Spotted owl is being affected because the Barred Owls are driving them out of the ecosystems in which they live, and forcing the Northern Spotted Owls to live in smaller and smaller places, which limits their food supply and their ability to reproduce at rates needed to maintain the population. The Barred Owl population is being affected because their population is increasing as they slowly take over the lands the Northern Spotted Owls once inhabited. Finally, the smaller animals that the owls prey on are being affected because the Northern Owls are no longer balancing the populations of animals such as flying squirrels and red tree voles, and the high, Barred Owl population, is killing more and more animal species such as rodents and crayfish which decreases the species' number. Some solutions to the problem are to bring down the Barred Owl population to a stable size by shooting them in large quantities where the Northern Spotted Owls are known to live in, which is what the article talks about. I feel that this article made me question whether or not humans should intervene with nature and whether or not shooting animals to preserve other animals is ethical. The article relates to AP Environmental Science because chapter 11 talks about biodiversity and how to preserve species diversity. The book also mentions the Northern Spotted Owl and the causes and effects of the declining Norther Spotted Owl population, which the article talks about in detail by stating that logging and failed government policies are the culprits to the declining popultion, and that the effects are damaging ecosystems (the Barred Owl population is at an all-time high and the prey species are decreasing in size because of it). I learned that people need to be careful when getting resources from the earth (such as timber) because it affects the population of species and results in the endangerment (and eventual extinction) of species.