Biodiversity and Human Health
Edited by Francesca Grifo and Joshua Rosenthal; Foreword by Thomas E. Lovejoy Island Press, 1997 Library of Congress RA565.A2B56 1997 | Dewey Decimal 610
The implications of biodiversity loss for the global environment have been widely discussed, but only recently has attention been paid to its direct and serious effects on human health. Biodiversity loss affects the spread of human diseases, causes a loss of medical models, diminishes the supplies of raw materials for drug discovery and biotechnology, and threatens food production and water quality.Biodiversity and Human Health brings together leading thinkers on the global environment and biomedicine to explore the human health consequences of the loss of biological diversity. Based on a two-day conference sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Smithsonian Institution, the book opens a dialogue among experts from the fields of public health, biology, epidemiology, botany, ecology, demography, and pharmacology on this vital but often neglected concern.Contributors discuss the uses and significance of biodiversity to the practice of medicine today, and develop strategies for conservation of these critical resources. Topics examined include: the causes and consequences of biodiversity loss emerging infectious diseases and the loss of biodiversity the significance and use of both prescription and herbal biodiversity-derived remedies indigenous and local peoples and their health care systems sustainable use of biodiversity for medicine an agenda for the future In addition to the editors, contributors include Anthony Artuso, Byron Bailey, Jensa Bell, Bhaswati Bhattacharya, Michael Boyd, Mary S. Campbell, Eric Chivian, Paul Cox, Gordon Cragg, Andrew Dobson, Kate Duffy-Mazan, Robert Engelman, Paul Epstein, Alexandra S. Fairfield, John Grupenhoff, Daniel Janzen, Catherine A. Laughin, Katy Moran, Robert McCaleb, Thomas Mays, David Newman, Charles Peters, Walter Reid, and John Vandermeer.The book provides a common framework for physicians and biomedical researchers who wish to learn more about environmental concerns, and for members of the environmental community who desire a greater understanding of biomedical issues.
Biodiversity and the Law
Edited by William J. Snape III Island Press, 1996 Library of Congress K3488.B563 1996 | Dewey Decimal 346.04695
Biodiversity and the Law is a timely and provocative volume that combines historical perspective and cutting-edge legal analysis in an authoritative and broad discussion of biodiversity and the law. Leading legal and policy experts consider a variety of options for the worldwide protection of biodiversity and present a succinct but comprehensive overview of the legal mechanisms available. They examine how conservation advocates can better utilize existing law, and consider what new law is needed.Among the topics considered are: scientific and policy foundations of biodiveristy protection domestic efforts to establish an effective endangered species protection regime international biodiversity protection biodiversity as a genuinely public entity the future of biodiversity law Contributors include Mollie Beattie, Don Waller, Jason Patlis, Lindell Marsh, Todd Olson, Peter Jenkins, Suzanne Iudicello, John Pendergrass, Dinah Bear, Walter Kuhlmann, Rodger Schlickeisen, David Downes, and others.
Humans have changed ecosystems more rapidly and extensively in the last 50 years than in any comparable period of human history. We have done this to meet the growing demands for food, fresh water, timber, fiber, and fuel. While changes to ecosystems have enhanced the well-being of billions of people, they have also caused a substantial and largely irreversible loss in diversity of life on Earth, and have strained the capacity of ecosystems to continue providing critical services.
Among the findings:
Approximately 60% of the services that support life on Earth are being degraded or used unsustainably. The harmful consequences of this degradation could grow significantly worse in the next 50 years.
Only four ecosystem services have been enhanced in the last 50 years: crops, livestock, aquaculture, and the sequestration of carbon.
The capacity of ecosystems to neutralize pollutants, protect us from natural disasters, and control the outbreaks of pests and diseases is declining significantly.
Terrestrial and freshwater systems are reaching the limits of their ability to absorb nitrogen.
Harvesting of fish and other resources from coastal and marine systems is compromising their ability to deliver food in the future.
Richly illustrated with maps and graphs, Current State and Trends presents an assessment of Earth's ability to provide twenty-four distinct services essential to human well-being. These include food, fiber, and other materials; the regulation of the climate and fresh water systems; underlying support systems such as nutrient cycling; and the fulfillment of cultural, spiritual, and aesthetic values. The volume pays particular attention to the current health of key ecosystems, including inland waters, forests, oceans, croplands, and dryland systems, among others. It will be an indispensable reference for scientists, environmentalists, agency professionals, and students.
One of the major innovations of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment is the incorporation of local and regional assessmentsù33 in allùin a global portrait of the planetÆs health. It is the first global assessment of ecosystems to include not only a diversity of ecosystems, but to draw on a wide range of cultural orientations and intellectual traditions, including those of indigenous peoples.
The Sub-global Assessments Working Group integrated information from multiple sources and found that biophysical factors such as land-use change, climate change and variability, pollution, and invasive species have a significant effect on human well-being across cultures. For example, in places where there are no other social safety nets, diminished human well-being tends to increase immediate dependence on ecosystem services, which can damage the capacity of those local ecosystems, which in turn appears to increase the probability of natural disaster or conflict.
Representing the baseline and framework for ongoing assessments of ecosystem and human well-being on a variety of scales around the world, Multiscale Assessments provides students, researchers, and policy-makers with the most comprehensive methodology for assessing ecosystems at local, national, and regional scales.
Our Human Planet summarizes the findings of the four working groups and serves as a reference guide to the four main volumes in the MA series. It presents the key findings of each of the working groups, and meets the needs of policy makers and other professionals.
The summary also provides an overview of the framework used by the assessment, and will serve as a guide for assessment, planning, and management for the future.
With the knowledge of possible outcomes, what kind of actions should we take? The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment scored 74 response options for dealing with declines in ecosystem services and biodiversity, and managing drivers such as climate change and nutrient loading. This third volume in the MA series analyzes the track record of past policies and the potential of new ones.
The challenge of reversing the degradation of ecosystems while meeting increasing demands for their services can be met only with significant policy and institutional changes. However, a difficult set of obstacles stand in the way. Policy makers must keep in mind that there are both trade-offs and synergies between human well-being, ecosystems, and ecosystem services, and that decisions regarding these tradeoffs are difficult and often contentious. The Responses volume ultimately establishes which policy options have the greatest chance to overcome the obstacles and generate positive outcomes. It will serve as an invaluable guide to the creation of stronger policy frameworks for the future.
Scenarios are an invaluable tool for analyzing complex systems and understanding possible outcomes. This second volume of the MA series explores the implications of four different approaches for managing ecosystem services in the face of growing human demand for them:
The Global Orchestration approach, in which we emphasize equity, economic growth, and public goods, reacting to ecosystem problems when they reach critical stages.
Order from Strength, which emphasizes security and economic growth.
Adapting Mosaic, which emphasizes proactive management of ecosystems, local adaptation, and flexible governance.
TechnoGarden, a globalized approach with an emphasis on green technology and a proactive approach to managing ecosystems.
The Scenarios volume will help decision-makers and managers identify development paths that better maintain the resilience of ecosystems, and can reduce the risk of damage to human well-being and the environment.
The Forgotten Pollinators
Stephen L. Buchmann and Gary Paul Nabhan Island Press, 1996 Library of Congress QK926.B835 1996 | Dewey Decimal 574.524
Consider this: Without interaction between animals and flowering plants, the seeds and fruits that make up nearly eighty percent of the human diet would not exist.In The Forgotten Pollinators, Stephen L. Buchmann, one of the world's leading authorities on bees and pollination, and Gary Paul Nabhan, award-winning writer and renowned crop ecologist, explore the vital but little-appreciated relationship between plants and the animals they depend on for reproduction -- bees, beetles, butterflies, hummingbirds, moths, bats, and countless other animals, some widely recognized and other almost unknown.Scenes from around the globe -- examining island flora and fauna on the Galapagos, counting bees in the Panamanian rain forest, witnessing an ancient honey-hunting ritual in Malaysia -- bring to life the hidden relationships between plants and animals, and demonstrate the ways in which human society affects and is affected by those relationships. Buchmann and Nabhan combine vignettes from the field with expository discussions of ecology, botany, and crop science to present a lively and fascinating account of the ecological and cultural context of plant-pollinator relationships.More than any other natural process, plant-pollinator relationships offer vivid examples of the connections between endangered species and threatened habitats. The authors explain how human-induced changes in pollinator populations -- caused by overuse of chemical pesticides, unbridled development, and conversion of natural areas into monocultural cropland-can have a ripple effect on disparate species, ultimately leading to a "cascade of linked extinctions."
All living things on earth—from individual species to entire ecosystems—have evolved through time, and evolution is the acknowledged framework of modern biology. Yet many areas of biology have moved from a focus on evolution to much narrower perspectives.
Daniel R. Brooks and Deborah A. McLennan argue that it is impossible to comprehend the nature of life on earth unless evolution—the history of organisms—is restored to a central position in research. They demonstrate how the phylogenetic approach can be integrated with ecological and behavioral studies to produce a richer and more complete picture of evolution. Clearly setting out the conceptual, methodological, and empirical foundations of their research program, Brooks and McLennan show how scientists can use it to unravel the evolutionary history of virtually any characteristic of any living thing, from behaviors to ecosystems. They illustrate and test their approach with examples drawn from a wide variety of species and habitats.
The Nature of Diversity provides a powerful new tool for understanding, documenting, and preserving the world's biodiversity. It is an essential book for biologists working in evolution, ecology, behavior, conservation, and systematics. The argument in The Nature of Diversity greatly expands upon and refines the arguments made in the authors' previous book Phylogeny, Ecology, and Behavior.
Written by two leading conservation biologists, Saving Nature's Legacy is a thorough and readable introduction to issues of land management and conservation biology. It presents a broad, land-based approach to biodiversity conservation in the United States, with the authors succinctly translating principles, techniques, and findings of the ecological sciences into an accessible and practical plan for action.After laying the groundwork for biodiversity conservation -- what biodiversity is, why it is important, its status in North America -- Noss and Cooperrider consider the strengths and limitations of past and current approaches to land management. They then present the framework for a bold new strategy, with explicit guidelines on: inventorying biodiversityselecting areas for protection designing regional and continental reserve networks establishing monitoring programssetting priorities for getting the job done Throughout the volume, the authors provide in-depth assessments of what must be done to protect and restore the full spectrum of native biodiversity to the North American continent.
Long-term Forest Dynamics Plots (FDPs) allow ecologists to explain patterns in diversity and dynamics in tropical forests around the world. In this collection, Elizabeth Losos and Egbert Giles Leigh Jr. assemble extensive standardized data—collected here in one location for the first time—from sixteen tropical FDPs and synthesize the findings, putting these unique and valuable plots in a global context by highlighting the utility of the collected data for conservation and forest management.
Written by experts in the field of tropical ecology, Tropical Forest Diversity and Dynamism will appeal to students and professionals with an interest in community ecology and patterns of diversity.
What Is Biodiversity?
James Maclaurin and Kim Sterelny University of Chicago Press, 2008 Library of Congress QH541.15.B56M325 2008 | Dewey Decimal 333.95
In the life sciences, there is wide-ranging debate about biodiversity. While nearly everyone is in favor of biodiversity and its conservation, methods for its assessment vary enormously. So what exactly is biodiversity? Most theoretical work on the subject assumes it has something to do with species richness—with the number of species in a particular region—but in reality, it is much more than that. Arguing that we cannot make rational decisions about what it is to be protected without knowing what biodiversity is, James Maclaurin and Kim Sterelny offer in What Is Biodiversity? a theoretical and conceptual exploration of the biological world and how diversity is valued.
Here, Maclaurin and Sterelny explore not only the origins of the concept of biodiversity, but also how that concept has been shaped by ecology and more recently by conservation biology. They explain the different types of biodiversity important in evolutionary theory, developmental biology, ecology, morphology and taxonomy and conclude that biological heritage is rich in not just one biodiversity but many. Maclaurin and Sterelny also explore the case for the conservation of these biodiversities using option value theory, a tool borrowed from economics.
An erudite, provocative, timely, and creative attempt to answer a fundamental question, What Is Biodiversity? will become a foundational text in the life sciences and studies thereof.
"We do not question that flesh and bone and leaf litter will decay to dust, that seeds will sprout season after season and find renewed nourishment in the soil, that rivers can flow endlessly without running dry, that we can breathe a lifetime without depleting the air of oxygen.... What humans have not fully appreciated until recently is that these services are the work of nature, performed by the rich diversity of microbes, plants, and animals on the earth." --from The Work of NatureThe lavish array of organisms known as "biodiversity" is an intricately linked web that makes the earth a uniquely habitable planet. Yet pressures from human activities are destroying biodiversity at an unprecedented rate. How many species can be lost before the ecological systems that nurture life begin to break down?In The Work of Nature, noted science writer Yvonne Baskin examines the threats posed to humans by the loss of biodiversity. She summarizes and explains key findings from the ecological sciences, highlighting examples from around the world where shifts in species have affected the provision of clean air, pure water, fertile soils, lush landscapes, and stable natural communities.As Baskin makes clear, biodiversity is much more than number of species -- it includes the complexity, richness, and abundance of nature at all levels, from the genes carried by local populations to the layout of communities and ecosystems across the landscape. Ecologists are increasingly aware that mankind's wanton destruction of living organisms -- the planet's work force -- threatens to erode our basic life support services. With uncommon grace and eloquence, Baskin demonstrates how and why that is so.Distilling and bringing to life the work of the world's leading ecologists, The Work of Nature is the first book of its kind to clearly explain the practical consequences of declining biodiversity on ecosystem health and function.