Radical Ecology - Michael's Blog

As of February 2013, scientists estimate anywhere between 30,000 and 150,000 Burmese Pythons exist in South Florida. As you may have suspected, Burmese Pythons are not native to Florida. They are native to Southeast Asia and south China.

The problem? The pythons are completely decimating populations of native wildlife. A study conducted by Michael Dorcas, a herpetologist at Davidson College in North Carolina in 2011 documented “severe declines” in mammal sightings. The 2003 to 2011 surveys compare mammal sightings to data from surveys conducted in 1996 and 1997 – before the python was breeding in the wild.

As the population of pythons has spiraled upwards in the last decade, mammal observations have declined by the following percentages:

• 87.5% bobcat decline
• 94.1% white-tailed deer decline
• 98.9% opossum decline
• 99.3% raccoon decline
• 100% rabbit decline
• 100% fox decline

Human Benefits of Healthy, Vibrant Ecosystems

Enhanced Fisheries & Wild Game Production

Biologists report that marine reserves improve nearby fisheries as breeding fish can reach maturity and offspring migrate into surrounding waters. The New Economics Foundation released a report showing that failure to protect fish stocks resulted in the European Union losing over 80,000 jobs and billions of euros each year. 

Mitigating Climate Change

Around 25% of global carbon is stored in tropical forests. In addition, marine ecosystems like marshes, meadows and mangroves store significant levels of carbon. Studies even show that the more biodiverse an ecosystem, the higher levels of carbon stored. Vibrant, biodiverse ecosytems play an integral role in mitigating climate change.

 

Public Health Benefits of Outdoor Recreation

Numerous studies show regular outdoor recreation improves physical and mental health. Benefits include lower blood pressure, weight loss and lowered risk of diabetes. Mental health benefits include lower stress, anxiety, reduced depression and enhanced mood.

Ecotourism

Ecotourism grows environmental awareness on local ecology and supports the local economy. It can represent serious business for the local economy while supporting local biodiversity conservation and promoting sensitivity towards local cultures.