The ecological restoration of islands, or island restoration, is the application of the principles of ecological restoration to islands and island groups. Islands, due to their isolation, are home to many of the world's endemic species, as well as important breeding grounds for seabirds and some marine mammals, their ecosystems are very vulnerable to human disturbance and to introduced species, due to their small size. Island groups such as New Zealand and Hawaii have undergone substantial extinctions and losses of habitat. Since the 1950s several organisations and government agencies around the world have worked to restore islands to their original states; the principal components of island restoration are the removal of introduced species and the reintroduction of native species. Isolated islands have been known to have greater levels of endemism since the 1970s when the theory of Island biogeography, formulated by Robert MacArthur and E. O. Wilson was developed; this higher occurrence of endemism is because isolation limits immigration of new species to the island, allowing new species to evolve separately from others on the mainland.
For example, 71% of New Zealand's bird species were endemic. As well as displaying greater levels of endemism, island species have characteristics that make them vulnerable to human disturbance. Many island species evolved on small islands, or restricted habitats on small islands. Small populations are vulnerable to modest hunting, restricted habitats are vulnerable to loss or modification of said habitat. More island species are ecologically naive, they have not evolved alongside a predator, or have lost appropriate behavioural responses to predators; this resulted in flightlessness, or unusual levels of tameness. This made many species susceptible to predation by introduced species. Some, such as the dodo, are thought to have become extinct because of the pressure of both humans and introduced animals. One estimate of birds in the Pacific islands puts the extinctions at 2000 species. Between 40 and 50% of the bird species of New Zealand have become extinct since 200 AD; the field of island restoration is credited with having been started in New Zealand in the 1960s, but other smaller projects, such as the restoration of Nonsuch Island in Bermuda have been going on for as long.
The program undertaken by the Department of Conservation is one of the largest in the world. It began on Cuvier Island, where ecologists removed stock, feral cats and in 1993, Pacific rats; the success of the project resulted in similar projects around New Zealand. The advantages to the DOC were considerable. Species like the takahe, where the remaining wild population was at considerable risk from feral cats and dogs, could be moved to these islands to safeguard the species. One important aspect of island restoration is the removal of invasive alien species. Since these species are most the reason that native fauna and flora is threatened, their removal is essential to the restoration project. From 1673 until 2009, 786 successful invasive vertebrate eradication have been recorded and in the last few decades the frequency of eradications and the size of islands from which invasive vertebrates have been eradicated has increased. A definitive list of past island restoration efforts exists as the Database of Island Invasive Species Eradications.
In addition a list of the current invasive species present on the world's islands exists as the Threatened Island Database Islands are suitable for restoration as once cleared of an introduced species they can be kept cleared of these species by virtue of being an island. Species removal is intensive and expensive, methods used must be chosen as to not create too much impact on non-target species. Feral cats and three species of rats are among the most damaging species introduced to islands; the differences in size and behaviour preclude the use of the same techniques for all of them, but with many species a range of techniques needs to be used in order to ensure success. Larger animals, such as goats and pigs, can be hunted. On larger islands ecologists use a Judas goat, where a radio collared goat is released into the wild; this goat is followed and groups it joins are removed. To remove cats a combination of techniques is needed: hunting and poisoning. Cats are more difficult to hunt than goats and pigs, requiring the use of experienced hunters and night hunting.
Trapping is ineffective for rats, given their sheer numbers, the only method that works is poisoning, which can be delivered into the field by broadcasting or by the maintenance of bait stations. This method has been employed around the world, in the Falkland Islands, in the tropical Pacific, off New Zealand, where over 40 islands have been cleared; this method is not without problems if the rats share the island with other, native species of rodent that might take the bait as well, as has happened on Anacapa Island in the Channel Islands and Rat Island in the Aleutian archipelago. In the Pacific poison intended for rats
Marine conservation known as ocean conservation, refers to the study of Marine plants and animal resources and ecosystem functions. It is the protection and preservation of ecosystems in oceans and seas through planned management in order to prevent the exploitation of these resources. Marine conservation is driven by the manifested negative effects being seen in our environment such as species loss, habitat degradation and changes in ecosystem functions and focuses on limiting human-caused damage to marine ecosystems, restoring damaged marine ecosystems, preserving vulnerable species and ecosystems of the marine life. Marine conservation is a new discipline which has developed as a response to biological issues such as extinction and marine habitats change. Marine conservationists rely on a combination of scientific principles derived from marine biology and fisheries science, as well as on human factors such as, demand for marine resources and marine law and policy, in order to determine how to best protect and conserve marine species and ecosystems.
Marine conservation may be described as a sub-discipline of conservation biology. Coral reefs are the epicenter of immense amounts of biodiversity and are a key player in the survival of entire ecosystems, they provide various marine animals with food and shelter which keep generations of species alive. Furthermore, coral reefs are an integral part of sustaining human life through serving as a food source as well as a marine space for ecotourism which provides economic benefits. Humans are now conducting research regarding the use of corals as new potential sources for pharmaceuticals; because of the human impact on coral reefs, these ecosystems are becoming degraded and in need of conservation. The biggest threats include overfishing, destructive fishing practices and pollution from land-based sources. This, in conjunction with increased carbon in oceans, coral bleaching, diseases, means that there are no pristine reefs anywhere in the world. Up to 88% of coral reefs in Southeast Asia are now threatened, with 50% of those reefs at either "high" or "very high" risk of disappearing, which directly affects the biodiversity and survival of species dependent on coral.
This is harmful to island nations such as Samoa and the Philippines, because many people there depend on the coral reef ecosystems to feed their families and to make a living. However, many fishermen are unable to catch as many fish as they used to, so they are using cyanide and dynamite in fishing, which further degrades the coral reef ecosystem; this perpetuation of bad habits leads to the further decline of coral reefs and therefore perpetuates the problem. One way of stopping this cycle is by educating the local community about why the conservation of marine spaces that include coral reefs is important. Increasing human populations have resulted in increased human impact on ecosystems. Human activities has resulted in an increased extinction rate of species which has caused a major decrease in biological diversity of plants and animals in our environment; these impacts include increased pressure from fisheries including reef degradation and overfishing as well as pressure from the tourism industry which has increased over the past few years.
The deterioration of coral reefs is linked to human activities – 88% of reefs are threatened through various reasons as listed above, including excessive amounts of CO2 emissions. Oceans absorb 1/3 of the CO2 produced by humans, which has detrimental effects on the marine environment; the increasing levels of CO2 in oceans change the seawater chemistry by decreasing the pH, known as ocean acidification. Oil spills impact marine environments, contributing to marine pollution as a result of human activity; the effects of oil on marine fish have been studied following major spills in the United States. Strategies and techniques for marine conservation tend to combine theoretical disciplines, such as population biology, with practical conservation strategies, such as setting up protected areas, as with marine protected areas or Voluntary Marine Conservation Areas; these protected areas may be established for a variety of reasons and aim to limit the impact of human activity. These protected areas operate differently which includes ares that have seasonal closures and/or permanent closures as well as multiple levels of zoning that allow people to carryout different activities in separate areas.
Other techniques include developing sustainable fisheries and restoring the populations of endangered species through artificial means. Another focus of conservationists is on curtailing human activities that are detrimental to either marine ecosystems or species through policy, techniques such as fishing quotas, like those set up by the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization, or laws such as those listed below. Recognizing the economics involved in human use of marine ecosystems is key, as is education of the public about conservation issues; this includes educating tourists that come to an area who might not be familiar with certain regulations regarding the marine habitat. One example of this is a project called Green Fins based in Southeast Asia that uses the scuba diving industry to educate the public; this project, implemented by UNEP, encourages scuba diving operators to educate their students about the importance of marine conservation and encourage them to dive in an environmentally friendly manner that does not damage coral reefs or associated marine ecosystems.
Marine conservation technologies are used to protec