Hu­mans re­spon­si­ble for loss of Earth's nat­u­ral re­silience

Down to Earth - - THE FORTNIGHT -

H U M A N S H AV E caused the nat­u­ral re­silience of the Earth's ecosys­tems to de­crease, ac­cord­ing to a new study. Re­searchers ex­am­ined a long-term owl roost in the US. Owls prey on small mam­mals and the ex­creted re­mains of those meals that ac­cu­mu­lated over time, pro­vide us an insight into the com­po­si­tion and struc­ture of small mam­mals over the past mil­lenia. The re­search sug­gested that when the Earth went through a pe­riod of rapid warm­ing about 13,000 years ago, the small mam­mal com­mu­nity was stable and re­silient. But, since the late 1800s, hu­man-made changes to the en­vi­ron­ment had caused an enor­mous drop in biomass and en­ergy flow. This dra­matic de­cline in en­ergy flow means mod­ern ecosys­tems are not adapt­ing as eas­ily as they did in the past.

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