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The question the team aims to answer is whether 25%, 50% or 75% fragmentation will be ``sustainable ‘’ for Pinchot’s forest in terms of sustaining its biodiversity and ecosystem services. The science-based hypothesis that I tested using this computer model is that neither 50% nor 75% fragmentation will achieve this goal.
The data used was collected from secondary sources of data, that is, recorded data. A computer model bases on decades of plant and animal population data collected by department of fish & wildlife and local land trusts was also used. I also incorporated data from the forest reserves from the nearby towns.
I used a fragmentation procedure to test my hypothesis from three towns that have segmented 25%, 50% and 75%.
By fragmenting on these species numbers of these species have changed when all the population are present. SFG reduces as BBWF increases because BBWF feeds on SGF. When Elk was introduced, it fed on BBWF reducing them; the impact was an increase in number of SFG because there are less BBWF feeding on them. When wolfs were introduced they fed on Elk which reduced in numbers leading to an increase in numbers of BBWF because there were less Elks feeding on them which in turn led to an increase in number of SGF because there were few BBWF to feed on them. Bases on the hypothesis above that states neither 50% nor 75 % will achieve this goal, it is a null hypothesis therefore I reject it.
The population of wolf was affected due to fragmentation where we not that at 0% and 25% the numbers of wolf are 462 and 416 respectively, but at 50% fragmentation the number decline drastically to 235 and reaches threshold at 75% where the numbers decline to 5. This has had a major impact on other species in each segment. At both 50% and 75% we realize a common trend where the numbers of Elk increase due to decrease in numbers of their predator wolf, BBWF decreases because there are more Elk to feed on them and finally the FSG start to increase in numbers because the BBWF that feed on them reduces.
In this population there is competition among the species for survival. Each species survival affects the numbers of another species. For example, if BBWF increase in numbers, it leads to a decrease in numbers of SGF which it preys, on the other hand an increase in number of BBWF leads to an increase in number of Elk that feed on them. An increase in Elk leads to a decrease in BBWF which in turn leads to an increase in SGF. An increase in wolf leads to a decrease in Elk because it feeds on them which in turn lead to an increase in BBWF because the predator has reduced, this eventually leads to a decrease in SGF because BBWF that eats them increases.
According to the data segmentation at 0%, 25%, 50% and 75% respectively, SGF and Elk benefit the most from the fragmentation because their numbers increase in each segmentation that is SGF numbers increase in the order of 376, 906, 5416 and 10114 while Elk increase in the order 2176, 3488,4668 and 9337 respectively. BBWF and Wolf are negatively impacted because their numbers keep decreasing , BBWF numbers decrease in the order 8778, 4689, 2414 and 774 while wolf decrease in the order 462, 416, 235 and 5. This trend is because of the predator - prey relationship. When predators increase preys reduce. A decrease in wolfs that feed on Elk leads to an increase in numbers of Elk which in turn lead to a decrease in numbers of BBWF because Elk feed on them, this in turn leads to an increase in numbers of SGF because their predators have reduced.
Deforestation leads to destruction of food webs or elimination of an important species from the ecosystem. Each species is important in bringing a balance in the ecosystem so that it may lead to a decrease or decrease of a species that depends on it and balance of the ecosystem as a whole. Thus deforestation affects the foods web. The deforestation and spraw leads to floods in Pichot when it rains because the water flows into the town damages the business of the residents that are worth millions of dollars.
Conclusion and recommendation
I recommend that 50% should be the sustainable level of fragmentation that conserves the forest biodiversity and ecosystem services while still allowing for some development in Pichot. This is because at this level their almost balanced number of each species; there are no species that are too many or too few thus the numbers appear balanced.
Conserving forest reserves in pichot will protect the people from economic losses, health hazards and safety threats that have occurred because of floods and desert fires that occur when there is no balanced ecosystem vegetation. Having a sustainable ecosystem therefore will ensure that forest conservation and economic development are balanced.