Posts Tagged ‘ecosystems’

Nature Ramble

How the threat to lions, leopards and wolves endangers us all

Though fearsome killers, big carnivores are also a precious resource, as their feeding habits keep many delicate ecosystems in balance. But too many predators are now facing extinction

Lions kill a buffalo in Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve. Photograph: Jonathan & Angela Scott/Getty Images/AWL Images RM

They are the planet’s most prolific killers – and also some of nature’s most effective protectors. This is the stark conclusion of an international report that argues that lions, wolves, pumas, lynxes and other major carnivores play key roles in keeping ecosystems in balance. It also warns that the current depletion of numbers of major predators threatens to cause serious ecological problems across the globe.

The paper, written by a group of 14 leading ecologists and biologists from the US, Europe and Australia and published in the journal Science, calls for the establishment of an international initiative to conserve large carnivores and help them to coexist with humans. Failure to protect our top predators could soon have devastating consequences, they warn.

“Globally, we are losing our large carnivores,” said William Ripple, the report’s lead author. “Many of them are endangered and their ranges are collapsing. Many are at risk of extinction, either locally or globally. And, ironically, they are vanishing just as we are learning to appreciate their important ecological effects.”

The report has been produced, in part, to show that the classic vision of a large predator, such as a lion or a wolf, being an agent of harm to wildlife and a cause of widespread depletion of animal stocks is misguided. Careful analysis of predators’ food chains reveals a very different picture. “In fact, the myriad social and economic effects [of large carnivores] include many benefits,” it states.

Ripple, a professor at Oregon State University’s department of forest ecosystems and society, and his colleague Robert Beschta, have documented the impact of wolves in Yellowstone and other national parks in North America. When wolf numbers have been reduced, usually by hunters, this has led to an increase in numbers of herbivores, in particular the elk.

Elks browse on trees such as aspen, willow, cottonwood, and various berry-producing shrubs, and the more elks there are, the more browsing damage is done to these trees. The knock-on effect is striking, says the report.

“Local bird populations go down because they have fewer berries to eat,” added Ripple. “The same is true of bears, which also eat berries. Beaver populations are also affected. They have less plant life to eat and less wood for making their dams.

“For good measure, the roots of the willow and other shrubs help to hold the soil of river banks together, so they do not get washed away. This does happen, however, when you have no wolves, lots of elks and, therefore, poor levels of vegetation. So you can see that the wolf – which sits at the top of the food chain in midwest America – has an impact that goes right down to having an effect on the shapes of streams.”

Yet wolves were once considered to be such a menace that they were exterminated inside Yellowstone national park in 1926. The park’s ecology slowly transformed with their absence until, in 1995, they were reintroduced.

“Very quickly, the park’s ecosystems returned to normal,” said Ripple. “I was impressed with how resilient it proved.”

Another example of the ecological importance of large carnivores is provided by lions and leopards. Both animals prey on olive baboons in Africa, and as numbers of these key predators have declined, numbers of olive baboons have increased. The population of lions in particular has been so reduced that it now only covers 17% of its historical range, while numbers of olive baboons have risen in direct proportion.

The consequence of this increase has been significant, say the authors. Olive baboons are omnivores and eat small primates and deer. When olive baboon numbers rise, populations of local monkeys and deer plummet. There is also an effect on human populations.

“Baboons pose the greatest threat to livestock and crops in sub-Saharan Africa, and they use many of the same sources of animal protein and plant foods as humans,” states the Science paper. “In some areas, baboon raids in agricultural fields require families to keep children out of school so they can help guard planted crops.”

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Make you Fink on Friday

Got smelly feet?

Do you suffer from foot odour?

All hail the silver socks…

Read:

Silver Socks

By now just about everyone has heard of the fabulous benefits from infusing silver nanoparticles into socks. No more foot odor, no more smelly shoes and sneakers, no more athlete’s foot when using silver socks.

Benefits of silver socks:

  • Silver kills odor-causing bacteria, preventing odors
  • Silver Socks promote better foot health and hygiene
  • Unique antimicrobial properties of silver fight athlete’s foot and odor

Make Silver Socks at Home For Pennies

No need to purchase high priced silver socks from specialty stores. Just spray MesoSilver on socks you already own. MesoSilver consists of silver nanoparticles that absorb into absorbent cotton fibers to produce the desired antimicrobial properties. Any sock that consists of cotton or has some cotton content will make a fine silver sock. To make silver socks from socks you already have could not be easier. Here is a simple four step process to make silver socks.

  • Find a pair of all cotton or cotton containing material.
  • Wash, rinse and dry the socks.
  • Spray on MesoSilver colloidal silver and let air dry.
  • Your socks are now impregnated with silver nanoparticles ready for use.
  • Reapply lightly after each wash.

Effectiveness of Colloidal Silver is Unparalleled

Colloidal silver is reported to be unparalleled at killing bacterial, fungal and viral pathogens hence very effective for making silver socks. Colloidal silver has a history spanning hundreds of years as an effective germ fighter. It is believed that the pathogens cannot become immune to the killing power of silver. The known germicidal properties of silver combined with the high particle surface area of silver nanoparticles provide unsurpassed antimicrobial properties needed to make the perfect silver socks.

[NB – this image is representative of colloidal silver and not the brand advertised here]

What is the Active Ingredient in MesoSilver?

Mesosilver is 0.9999 pure silver sub-nanometer sized particles suspended in pure deionized water. This combination is called a colloid. The silver particles in Mesosilver have been measured to be 0.65 nanometers in diameter, which is less than three times the diameter of an atom of silver. Because these silver particles are so small and the concentration of particles is high, the result is a silver colloid with a very high particle surface area. In the world of chemistry, surface area determines how effectively a substance will react with its environment. It is the surface area of the silver particles coming in contact with the microbes that is believed to kill them on contact. The germicidal properties of metallic silver have been known for hundreds of years. While the silver particles are believed  to be one of the most effective natural agents known for killing pathogens, they are non-toxic to humans.

Mesosilver is the Most Effective Colloidal Silver

Many products are advertised as being colloidal silver, but in fact are mostly ionic silver solutions. A true silver colloid consists mostly of silver nanoparticles. Learn The Truth About Ionic Silver that other producers don’t want you know. Mesosilver has the highest percentage of its silver content in the form of silver nanoparticles, not silver ions, which make it perfect for making silver socks at home.

From: Purest Colloids

Opinion:

But wait!

This silver is smaller than microscopic, we are talking atom size here. Correctly the colloidal silver is Bacteriostatic Colloidal Silver…

Now read what Wiki has to say on this new word “bacteriostatic.’

“Some nanoparticle products may have unintended consequences. Researchers have discovered that bacteriostatic silver nanoparticles used in socks to reduce foot odor are being released in the wash. These particles are then flushed into the waste water stream and may destroy bacteria which are critical components of natural ecosystems, farms, and waste treatment processes.”Wikipedia

Wiki says ‘may‘, I have read sources that say ‘do!

The products are not harmful to humans on the skin, in fact silver has been used as an antibacterial since the time of Alexander the Great, because it’s effectiveness is as a catalyst, which means it doesn’t actually react with the body.

Apparently laboratory rats and mice inhaling these nanoparticles aren’t so lucky. In fact, there are thoughts as a result of this research that indicate these nanoparticles of colloidal silver could be as bas as, or maybe worse than asbestos if inhaled in sufficient quantities.

Which raises the question, is nanotechnology environmentally friendly?

Are your socks impregnated with colloidal silver?

UPDATE:

After a comment from a reader, I will add this very important link:

http://www.straight.com/article-404589/vancouver/tiny-nanoparticles-could-be-big-problem?page=0%2C1

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