Biodiversity matters

We will discuss the paper by Noss (1999). Please carefully read this paper, paying particular attention to Table 1, before coming to class.

In addition to discussing the paper by Noss, we will discuss the following questions:

Select a species, and describe why it is important.

How did you define "important" in your response?

Are there reasons for conserving biological diversity in general? If so, what are they? If not, why not?

Are there circumstances in which extinction is acceptable? If so, what are they? If not, why not?

Conservation biology as an enterprise

Conservation biology is an integrative approach to the protection and management of biodiversity

It is the conservation of biology: it seeks to conserve life at various levels (e.g., species, genes, ecosystems); this idea typically is extended to the processes that underlie biodiversity, (e.g., ecological processes such as disturbance regimes)

Noteworthy events in the history of conservation biology:

Think about using our knowledge of a site to make decisions about the conservation of biological diversity

Specifically, we will develop examples that show how knowledge (and perhaps manipulation) of the disturbance regime can be used to maintain biodiversity:

Additional Information (also see assigned readings):

Agar, N. 2001. Life's Intrinsic Value. Columbia University Press, New York.

Chapin, F.S., III, Zavaleta, E.S., Eviners, V.T., Naylor, R.L., Vitousek, P.M., Reynolds, H.L., Hooper, D.U., Lavorel, S., Sala, O.E., Hobbie, S.E., Mack, M.G., and Diaz, S. 2000. Consequences of changing biodiversity. Nature 405:234-242.

Leakey, R. and R. Lewin. 1995. The Sixth Extinction: Biodiversity and Its Survival. Doubleday, New York.

McLaughlin, J.F., J.J.Hellmann, C.L. Boggs, and P.R. Ehrlich. 2002. Climate change hastens population extinctions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 99:6070-6074.

Quammen, D. 1996. The Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinctions. Simon & Schuster, New York.

Ricketts, T.H., Dinerstein, E., Olson, D.M., Loucks, C.J., Eichbaum, W., DellaSala, D., Kavanagh, K., Hedao, P., Hurley, P.T., Carney, K.M., Abell, R., and Walters, S. 1999. Terrestrial Ecoregions of North America: A Conservation Assessment. Island Press, Washington, D.C.

Soule, M.E. 1985. What is conservation biology? BioScience 35:727-734.

Sparks, T. No date. Tellico Dam and the snail darters: a case study in environmental management.

Stein, B.A., Kutner, L.S., and Adams, J.S. 2000. Precious Heritage: The Status of Biodiversity in the United States. Oxford University Press, New York.

Wilson, E.O., editor. 1988. Biodiversity. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.

Wilson, E.O. 2002. The Future of Life. Knopf, New York.

World Conservation Monitoring Centre. 2002. World Atlas of Biodiversity: Earth's Living Resources for the 21st Century. United Nations Environment Program.