Chapter 14 Study Questions

  1. Some studies suggest that most existing reserves are too small to support viable populations of large vertebrates. However, most large terrestrial reserves are on lands with inherent low plant productivity, otherwise they would have long ago been converted to agriculture or timber extraction. Two possibilities for ensuring better population viability are to increase the size or the quality of the existing reserve. How would you approach these possibilities?
  2. Why do you think that the total percentage of the world’s oceans that are protected is less than the total percentage of the land that is protected?
  3. Some conservationists debate whether protected areas should have “hard” or “soft” edges. Hard edges mean no ecotone between a protected area and the outside landscape matrix. For example, a cornfield that comes to the edge of a forest reserve would be a hard edge. Soft edges have ecotones. For example, a cornfield and forest would be separated by fallow vegetation. What considerations are important in deciding whether to have hard or soft reserve edges?
  4. In what way does the phrase “the whole is more than the sum of the parts” apply to a systematically designed reserve system?
  5. Imagine that a cornfield is adjacent to a prairie reserve. You are asked which is better: control corn insect pests with a pesticide, or with the release of generalist parasitic insects, (i.e., biological control). Argue both cases.