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Thread: Biodiversity

  1. #1 Biodiversity 
    Time Lord
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    This is not a new idea but could it be a valid extension(unless it has already been considered elsewhere) of the existing consensus?

    It is accepted ,I am sure that the wide range of biodiversity is a boon to human development in that it allows us to learn from life's existing achievements in all the various areas.

    But could it be some kind of a fundamental requirement for a species (ie us) to develop so that if we do not foster biodiversity then we are harming our species' chances of development in the long term?

    At present it looks as though we have so many lessons to draw from other species that there cannot possibly be a shortage in this raw informational material but as we continue to develop down the centuries will we run out of it so that we run into an evolutionary cul de sac -or at least be unable to progress as far as we would otherwise have done?


    Last edited by geordief; March 3rd, 2014 at 07:10 AM.
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  3. #2  
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    Quote Originally Posted by geordief View Post
    It is accepted ,I am sure that the wide range of biodiversity is a boon to human development in that it allows us to learn from life's existing achievements in all the various areas.
    Possibly, but it also offers more opportunity for us to harvest and destroy. The incredible biodiversity of the rain forests means that once we have destroyed even a small piece, it may never be able to recover. Some of the most fascinating plants with useful properties are found in the abundance of the rain forests. From rubber trees to medicinal plants, we've certainly benefited from the biodiversity of those places.

    Quote Originally Posted by geordief View Post
    But could it be some kind of a fundamental requirement for a species (ie us) to develop so that if we do not foster biodiversity then we are harming our species' chances of development in the long term?
    I believe that reducing biodiversity (such as we are doing in this potential sixth mass extinction we're currently spearheading) will have drastic effects across all ecosystems. We humans may not NEED it (heck, we thrive on vast fields of maize with as little biodiversity as possible), but it could hurt us in the long run. Look at the Irish potato famine. Their crop was utterly destroyed because they lacked the biodiversity of the potato crops from which they pulled their own. While more diverse crops survived the disease, theirs was wiped out and caused one of the best-known historical famines.

    Quote Originally Posted by geordief View Post
    At present it looks as though we have so many lessons to draw from other species that there cannot possibly be a shortage in this raw informational material but as we continue to develop down the centuries will we run out of it so that we run into an evolutionary cul de sac -or at least be unable to progress as far as we would otherwise have done?
    The problem is that you're asking about POTENTIAL benefits from biodiversity and that doesn't really resonate with developers. You could argue to the Brazilian farmers that the biodiversity of the rain forest could be pivotal to the health of their nation, but all they know is that they need the money and food from that next crop planting so they will keep slashing and burning.

    The importance of biodiversity is not part of the layman's knowledge.


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  4. #3  
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    I wouldn't disagree but my point is that if we as a species make it through the next few generations then our goals may well be exponentially greater than they are now (really just survival at this point)..

    So if we do get to that point I wonder if our capacity for development will be constrained by the amount of biodiversity we have left.

    Since the future is a long time will it seem like a huge opportunity squandered if we have lost the biodiversity which cannot be replaced other than by millennia of fresh evolution or the acquisition of a neighbouring planet with its own stocks of adapted species?

    The future is also a long time away for you and me but in terms of the human race a few generations is nothing and to lose swathes of biodiversity seems like very bad house keeping.

    All the same I am not so confident in the value of my argument.Survival seems to be paramount presently and so perhaps all we can hope for is to minimize the collateral damage.

    Does anyone think the benefits of biodiversity could be replaced by human scientific endeavour?(pulling ourselves up from our own bootlaces as it were)
    Last edited by geordief; March 3rd, 2014 at 09:03 AM.
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