FIGURE 18–3 Maintaining examples of natural river and stream ecosystems is one of the most challenging tasks facing society in temperate as well as other biotic zones. (San Juan Mountains, Colorado.) Courtesy U.S. Forest Service.

biodiversity are probably associated with bodies of water in arid regions where they are a critical and often overallocated resource.


Maintaining biodiversity is a continuing and multifaceted task. It cannot be permanently accomplished by a single action, such as establishing a national park or biological preserve. Indeed, we often forget that establishing a preserve is only the first step in the infinite responsibility that we have assumed for keeping many organisms and ecosystems afloat (Figure 18–4).

Fulfilling our stewardship responsibility will require a great deal more attention than it has been receiving. Maintaining a viable biological preserve in the densely settled and intensively used temperate zones requires sophistication and dedication. Large amounts of information about the ecology of the target ecosystems and organisms and about environmental conditions in and around these preserves will be required. This means intensive research and monitoring programs, often of long

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