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Earth Science

Study: Deforestation Depletes Fish Stocks 69

Posted by timothy
from the stuff-runs-downhill dept.
Rambo Tribble (1273454) writes Adding to the well-known fish-killing effects deforestation has in increasing turbidity and temperature in streams, a study published in Nature Communications, (abstract, PDF access), demonstrates deforestation causes a depletion of nutrients in associated lake aquatic ecosystems and, as a consequence, impacted fish stocks. Lead author Andrew Tanentzap is quoted as saying, 'We found fish that had almost 70% of their biomass made from carbon that came from trees and leaves instead of aquatic food chain sources.' This has troubling implications, as 'It's estimated that freshwater fishes make up more than 6% of the world's annual animal protein supplies for humans ...' Additionally, this may have significance in regard to anadromous species, such as salmon, which help power ocean ecosystems. The BBC offers more approachable coverage.
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Study: Deforestation Depletes Fish Stocks

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  • by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Saturday June 14, 2014 @05:34PM (#47237943)

    It's estimated that freshwater fishes make up more than 6% of the world's annual animal protein supplies for humans...

    We'll switch to plant protein supplies, thus solving the problem once and for all.

  • by penguinoid (724646) <spambait001@yahoo.com> on Saturday June 14, 2014 @05:42PM (#47237967) Homepage Journal

    Who would have thought that destroying an ecosystem would have more than one bad effect?

    • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Saturday June 14, 2014 @09:53PM (#47238773)

      Who would have thought that destroying an ecosystem would have more than one bad effect?

      More to the point, this is hardly a recent revelation.

      People in my part of the U.S. were fighting deforestation (this is a logging region), based on studies that said it caused turbidity in streams, causing among other things nutrification and drastically reducing oxygen, which in turn killed the local aquatic life (which is a major sporting industry in this part of the U.S.).

      And that was when I was, like, 12 years old. Which was a l-o-n-g time ago.

      I'm not saying this paper didn't show something valid. But the suggestion made by OP, that this is all some kind of new revelation, is just a few decades late. Likely there was some fine point in the paper that reinforced what we already knew. But AFAIK, OP says nothing new at all.

      • Sure, we knew for a long time that deforestation caused damage to the local aquatic life via several mechanisms. I guess now they claim to have discovered another mechanism, a loss of nutrients (ie, leaves and sticks and fruits and forest insects etc get replaced by erosion-related nutrients). This seems like it would be obvious, although it's not exactly easy to verify.

      • Much of south Florida was built by creating canals to get soil to raise the height of lots so that they would not flood. The consequence was tree stumps and roots of woody plants being exposed to water. That lead to water the color of coffee that is rather permanent as 100 years after the dredging the tanic acid still colors the water. I don't know if any studies have been done on the effects of brown water on species or size of fish populations. Some species seem to not mind brown water one bit
  • I think this is a real problem only for fresh water ecosystems, and they did not represent the 6% of marine protein (fish, etc) that human intakes. I think 5% came from ocean, and only 1% came from fresh water ecosystems (lakes, rivers, and so on). If this is correct, the problem still exists but affect only 1% of the marine protein resources available. Of course, destroying an inland ecosystem is terrible for the environment and can be lead to other real problems (hazards or even nightmare situations) in
    • Are you making up shit?

      • by ramorim (1257654)
        No.
        • "It's estimated that freshwater fishes make up more than 6% of the world's annual animal protein supplies for humans - and the major and often only source of animal protein for low income families across Bangladesh, Indonesia and the Philippines.

          This comes from the Fine Article - where does your data come from?

          While we've only studied boreal regions, these results are likely to bear out globally.

          Now, this is where they go a little hyperbolic. Maybe yes, maybe no.... But lets not get all wound up about this until you've done a bit more work. Much of the deforestation in the world is in Africa and South America, both very different ecosystems from the boreal region.

          • by abies (607076)

            "It's estimated that freshwater fishes make up more than 6% of the world's annual animal protein supplies for humans - and the major and often only source of animal protein for low income families across Bangladesh, Indonesia and the Philippines.

            This comes from the Fine Article - where does your data come from?

            http://www.thefishsite.com/art... [thefishsite.com]
            Total protein consumption per capita is 78g. Total fish consumption is around 5.5g which gives around 7%. This is for both marine and inland. Then, looking at
            http://www.greenfacts.org/en/f... [greenfacts.org]
            we can get around 41:102 ration between inland:marine, which would mean around 2% of total protein comes from freshwater fish and 5% from marine.

            Now it is your turn to provide some sources outside FA proving 6% for freshwater fish. Articles I have quoted above are from 5-10 years ago -

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Who can afford ocean fish? Yes 6% is a realistic number for freshwater fish. Not just 1% You see some people (a lot) like to fish and then eat 'em. even catfish! Unfortunately, as the article points out, this is becoming more difficult...eh? Aquaponics does not address the fish in the forest problem except to supply an alternate food source. Who da thought we knew all the implications of maximizing profits in the wood products industry Now that timber has become a Wall Street commodity heaven help us. Not
    • by rochrist (844809)
      Did you read the part where the 6% fish protein was prefaced by the word FRESHWATER. As in ''It's estimated that FRESHWATER fishes make up more than 6% of the world's annual animal protein supplies for humans' ?
  • by HalAtWork (926717) on Saturday June 14, 2014 @06:25PM (#47238125)
    Less reason to cut down trees. I still know some people at work who print emails before reading them though, what is wrong with these people? I try to be a good example and casually mention how I avoid using paper in various ways when describing my tasks to others as well as in meetings, but it doesn't seem to make an impression...
    • Good thing we use less paper now

      Who's we?

      As best I can ascertain, paper usage in the US and Europe has reduced over the last few years, but globally it's still increasing.

    • by Nyder (754090)

      Less reason to cut down trees. I still know some people at work who print emails before reading them though, what is wrong with these people? I try to be a good example and casually mention how I avoid using paper in various ways when describing my tasks to others as well as in meetings, but it doesn't seem to make an impression...

      More reason to use Hemp as a paper source. Annually renewable.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Your printer paper usage does not contribute to deforestation, because the paper comes from tree farms (regularly replanted).

      Your co-workers probably print emails to reduce eyestrain while reading them. Some people suffer from this more than others.

      If you are interested in encouraging noble causes, there are better ones to champion than this.

    • by munch117 (214551)

      Less reason to cut down trees.

      More to the point, less reason to plant trees. When there's no money in felling trees, trees get felled or burned anyway to make room for agriculture.

      • by DarkOx (621550)

        Fortuitously forest grows pretty darn fast; if you are not picky about what specie of tree you get. Much more of the USA is forested than say 100 years ago, and lots of that is just from nature reclaiming land not deliberate planting by humans.

        As people stopped cutting wood as a primary fuel source for heating and cooking and as agriculture has consolidated and moved toward more efficient land use lots has grown back.

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      Probably that work has crap monitors. It was very common here at the office until we replaced everyone's monitor with a 2K resolution 24" monitor. The email printing stopped overnight.

      If your employer was not a bunch of cheap fools and bought quality IT equipment for people to use, they would not have to resort to printing hings they cant read well on a screen.

    • by volmtech (769154)
      I'm sure your are intimately involved with paper at least once a day. My town has a mill that produces this product. Tens of thousands of acres of pine forest are harvested on a forty year cycle. It's called tree farming. My land was harvested in 1970 and now it's ready to produce another crop. You can't imagine the riot of growth that occurs when light gets to the soil that's been churned up by the logging equipment. Deer and other animals have a feast. Climax pine forest has no browse, the tall trees bloc
  • TFS says, 'We found fish that had almost 70% of their biomass made from carbon that came from trees and leaves instead of aquatic food chain sources.' I haven't read the article itself, and probably wouldn't get too much out of it because I never studied the right parts of chemistry, etc. to understand all of the details, but if somebody knows how they were able to determine this and can put it in layman's terms, I'd appreciate it. I'm not disputing their results, but I would like to learn how they got
    • That bit intrigued me too, I know carbon comes in different isotopes and that CO2 from FF burning has an isotopic signature. The age of the carbon is what makes FF burning identifiable, I'm not sure why carbon from trees should be any different to carbon from seaweed.
  • from the chicken littles.

  • undomod

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