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Suggested Citation:"SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1962. Renewable Resources: A Report to the Committee on Natural Resources of the National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18451.
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Suggested Citation:"SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1962. Renewable Resources: A Report to the Committee on Natural Resources of the National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18451.
×
Page 2
Suggested Citation:"SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1962. Renewable Resources: A Report to the Committee on Natural Resources of the National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18451.
×
Page 3
Suggested Citation:"SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1962. Renewable Resources: A Report to the Committee on Natural Resources of the National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18451.
×
Page 4
Suggested Citation:"SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1962. Renewable Resources: A Report to the Committee on Natural Resources of the National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18451.
×
Page 5
Suggested Citation:"SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1962. Renewable Resources: A Report to the Committee on Natural Resources of the National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18451.
×
Page 6
Suggested Citation:"SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1962. Renewable Resources: A Report to the Committee on Natural Resources of the National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18451.
×
Page 7
Suggested Citation:"SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1962. Renewable Resources: A Report to the Committee on Natural Resources of the National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18451.
×
Page 8
Suggested Citation:"SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1962. Renewable Resources: A Report to the Committee on Natural Resources of the National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18451.
×
Page 9
Suggested Citation:"SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1962. Renewable Resources: A Report to the Committee on Natural Resources of the National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18451.
×
Page 10
Suggested Citation:"SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1962. Renewable Resources: A Report to the Committee on Natural Resources of the National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18451.
×
Page 11
Suggested Citation:"SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1962. Renewable Resources: A Report to the Committee on Natural Resources of the National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18451.
×
Page 12
Suggested Citation:"SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1962. Renewable Resources: A Report to the Committee on Natural Resources of the National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18451.
×
Page 13
Suggested Citation:"SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1962. Renewable Resources: A Report to the Committee on Natural Resources of the National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18451.
×
Page 14
Suggested Citation:"SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1962. Renewable Resources: A Report to the Committee on Natural Resources of the National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18451.
×
Page 15
Suggested Citation:"SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1962. Renewable Resources: A Report to the Committee on Natural Resources of the National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18451.
×
Page 16
Suggested Citation:"SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1962. Renewable Resources: A Report to the Committee on Natural Resources of the National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18451.
×
Page 17
Suggested Citation:"SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1962. Renewable Resources: A Report to the Committee on Natural Resources of the National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18451.
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Page 18

Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS This summary represents the general conclusions arrived at by the Chairman of the Panel on Renewable Natural Resources as a result of evaluations of (1) the conference of experts held at Woods Hole, Massachusetts, August 15-18, 1961; (2) a sampling of the extensive literature on the subject; and (3) briefing sessions held with selected groups and individuals from industry, academic institutions, and governmental agencies. The area of concern of the study on renewable natural re- sources was the total range of living organisms providing man with food, fibers, drugs, etc., for his needs (save for marine re- sources dealt with in a special study), but also including hazards to his health and welfare. The consideration of man himself as the focal point of the resources problem is left partly to consideration by other panels, but mostly for the integrative consideration bythe Committee as a whole. The non-utilitarian aspects of organic nature, as in recreation and esthetic pleasure, will likewise not be dealt with here. It will become obvious that such a sharp de- lineation of the topic is purely artificial and provisional, although a practical necessity, and calls for the eventual restitution of the temporarily isolated segment into the integral fabric of the total problem of man in his relations to his environment ("HumanEcol- ogy"). Similar arbitrariness attaches to the geographic and chron- ological frame within which the resources problem is to be treated. (Resources for whom and for how long?) In line with the decided policy of the Committee, the geographic unit of prime concern in this report is the United States, with a proviso, however, that the self-interest of the nation, as well as its cultural mission, demand increasing attention to our interrelationships with the rest of the world and to the essential indivisibility of this global interdepend- ency. Chronologically, realistic considerations dictate a forward projection of both resource needs and provisions for their satis- faction for at least the life span of the current generation of chil- dren or the time to grow a stand of timber; that is, between one- half and a whole century. -1-

The problems of renewable natural resources have been approached by two essentially different types of operations, one going on continuously, the other occurring in sporadic episodes. The former is carried on systematically as part of the mission of government departments or agencies (e.g., Department of Agri- culture, Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service), certain foun- dations (e.g., Resources For the Future, Inc., Conservation Foun- dation, Nature Conservancy), and a few academic institutions. The latter is represented by individual conferences, surveys, and re- ports. These are mutually supplementary. The former suffers from preoccupation with narrow, segmental views of the total problem, but has the advantage of continuity and operational ef- fectiveness in action programs; while the latter is essentially con- fined to evaluating and advisory functions, without power of imple- mentation, but giving more balanced attention to the total perspec- tive. A brief selected bibliography of the latter class is given in Appendix 3. The combined record of these activities in the United States over the last half-century has been one of admirable achievement in providing necessary data of information and interpretation as guides for practical actions. There have been shortcomings in the cross-correlation and mutual reconciliation between different and separate sectors, but, on the whole, the growth of pertinent infor- mation has been about as steady as could be expected in view of the general state of scientific advance and existing limitations of man- power, funds, facilities, and public interest. At any rate, so vast is the store of available knowledge residing in the printed records, as well as in the aggregate experience of experts actively engaged in this field, that it would be utterly presumptuous for a sampling examination, such as the one underlying this report, to make any pretense at comprehensiveness or depth of penetration. Even so, certain common denominators have emerged with such regularity and clarity that they can be put forward as general conclusions with a high degree of confidence. These are listed in the following as separate propositions. Proposition I There is no prospect of critical shortages in United States renewable resources in the fore- seeable future, as long as prospective needs and supplies are tallied and compared in purely alge- braic terms, i.e., total amounts. However, taking -2-

into account differential patterns of distribution en- genders a greater sense of urgency, though not of alarm. Some degree of uncertainty, of course, adheres to any for- ward projection of needs. Even if population growth could be more safely forecast, per capita consumption would be less predictable because of its dependence on such indeterminably variable factors as general economic growth, education, public health practices, increased leisure time, etc. It must be borne in mind that the trend to sedentary habits and the replacement of physical labor by automation, as well as medical considerations, will influence both caloric intake and selection of foods, while higher living standards and growing concern with social welfare will increase the per cap- ita demand for fibers as used in textiles, building materials, paper, etc.; both food and fibers derived in last analysis from the same stock of renewable resources, as well as from some nonrenewable deposits of carboniferous materials. The estimation of available supplies to satisfy the growing needs is likewise subject to great uncertainties. Improvements in the rate and efficiency of growing living things and of processing them for human use, coupled with steady reduction of losses in- curred by waste and spoilage, assure us of the fact that the supply side of the account will keep on growing, but no safe prediction is possible as to the rate of the increments. If basic research is ade- quately supported, human ingenuity is bound to produce unforeseen innovations in steps of major magnitude, which cannot be extra- polated from curves of slow and gradual development. Granting these uncertainties, it is generally assumed, how- ever, that within the next two decades the current surpluses in agricultural produce will have disappeared, followed possibly even by a reversal of the trend, particularly if by that time political and economic reasons for large-scale exports should not have subsided. As for forest products, no serious imbalances between supply and demand are at present prognosticated for the contemplated period, provided measures in the sense of the propositions stated below are taken. In all of these considerations, however, supplies and de- mands are commonly compared in terms of total numbers or amounts, regardless of the fact that both occur in incongruous and highly specific patterns of differential distribution. To be useful, supplies must ultimately be available where and when they are -3-

needed, which implies that a purely algebraic tallying of the ac- counts is of no more than academic value. A realistic assessment of the adequacy of available supplies for the satisfaction of pro- spective needs requires knowledge of the patterns of distribution of both. Consequently, optimum utilization of resources presup- poses not only that production quantity and efficiency will be max- imized and losses minimized, but, above all, that the correspond- ence between patterns of distribution of needs, on the one hand, and of supplies, on the other, will be optimized. It is on this score that current resources practices give rise to apprehensions. Many of the current practices and the underlying guiding policies in the various sectors of the field have proved themselves by their past successes and, therefore, are becoming rather firmly established, formalized, and institution- alized. But their tested adequacy pertains to current conditions only. If these patterns were to be frozen and mechanically con- tinued into the future, the whole system would lose its flexibility and become unfit to respond and adapt itself to the unpredictable evolutionary changes which the current conditions will undergo. Today's successes can thus become the very sources of the fail- ures of tomorrow. The risks become even greater where the rigid- ity of established pattern is not only based on usage but incorporated in law. The violent repercussions of economic and even sociological nature upon agriculture and food processing, which we have wit- nessed recently as a result of campaigns of fear about health hazards in different foods and food additives, presage far greater strains and stresses in the future if production and utilization systems were to become even more rigidly locked into established tracks. In conclusion, lest the cohesion of socioeconomic structure suffer irreparably, it is evident that the more rapid the tempo of change is becoming, the more sensitive and responsive the whole system of resource supply must become in order to cope with the greater rapidity and severity with which inconsistencies, conflicts, and stresses from independent innovations will arise. The lead time for corrective measures must be progressively reduced, which obviously runs counter to the inertial momentums of estab- lished courses; and recognizing these opposing tendencies, it is plain that corrective attempts by sheer trial and error, as of old, would be far too slow to avert the indicated perils of disruption and breakdown. Since this prospect seems a safe extrapolation from cur- rent trends, it calls for immediate attention and action, thus -4-

introducing a note of urgency into the whole matter. If divergent lines of progress are seen to give rise to ever-greater stresses and strains too fast to be resolved after they have risen and been perceived, then obviously the intelligent and rational thing to do is to learn to anticipate those untoward developments before they arise. No adequate machinery for this task is at present in exist- ence. In view of the irreversibility of many actions that will be taken in our time (for instance, in the reallocation of land from forest to agriculture or from agriculture to industrial uses), it seems vital to establish without delay a broad-gauged agency charged with the continuing examination, identification, and as- sessment of changes in the natural resources picture, and of their potential effects upon each other and on the material and spiritual welfare of man in a free society. The need for such an operation will become more obvious from the subsequent theses and will be reiterated in the concluding statement. Proposition II Organic nature, furnishing renewable re- sources, constitutes a complex dynamic system of interacting components most subtly equilibrated and interrelated in such mutual dependency that any change in any one component is bound to entail changes throughout the rest of the system. Such systems can have no truly "isolated" parts. Altera- tions of any part may have repercussions that might stabilize the total system or, more commonly, on the contrary, jeopardize its effective operation and even survival. Whether the direction of the resulting net effect will be toward improvement or impairment can be inferred only from a thorough knowledge and understanding of the intricate web of diverse interactions among the component parts through which the system is maintained in its integral opera- tion. Accordingly, the isolated analytical study of the separate com- ponents individually cannot yield the desired insight; nor would it be feasible, lacking such insight, or indeed ever, to build up com- plex viable systems artificially by piecemeal synthesis, putting together their isolated components step by step. This ecological principle is a basic law of living nature ap- plying to all levels, from the cell, through organs, organisms, communities, to species, as well as to societies. Not only must the constituent parts within any of these ecosystems, including -5-

human society, operate in mutual harmony and adaptation, but also microbes, plants, and animals, upon which man subsists, in turn, depend on water, soil, and climate, as well as upon one another. Thus, one of the major lessons that has emerged from our studies has been that, in order to find the solutions to prob- lems of hydrology, waste disposal, plant growth, climatology, animal nutrition, pest control, soil depletion, food habits, etc., which would be truly relevant to the optimization of natural re- sources, we must assess the impact of every one of these factors upon the others and ascertain its relative weight in the total ac- count. In such decisions, again, prime consideration must be given to the "structure, " that is, the unequal distribution in space and time, of biological requirements, rather than to sheer bulk accounts. Plant growth, for instance, does not depend locally on the average amount of water available, but on the availability at the proper soil depth at the right season within a tolerable margin between drought and flooding; not on the total amount of light, but on the proper ratio and timing between light and darkness; not on the total freedom from admixtures of other (not directly needed) forms of life, but on the presence of the right proportions of par- ticular populations of microbes, other plants and animals of in- direct benefit in their complex contributions to more immediate environmental prerequisites for optimal growth. Technological control and corrective measures based on thorough understanding of such ecological requirements can greatly improve upon con- ditions found in raw nature, in the sense of increasing yield and reducing waste. But they will fail in a purely compartmentalized approach, without due regard to the cohesiveness of the total net- work of interrelations. The treatment of such complex multi- factorial and multivariant systems requires suitable new method- ologies, the development of which ought to be given high priority. Besides the techniques of dealing with such relational networks, however, serious attention ought to be focused on the development of public understanding and acceptance of the underlying principle of interrelatedness and interdependence, and the consequent im- possibility of reaching decisions by confining considerations to limited aspects or sectors of ecological systems. It is always pos- sible to find a categorical solution to a problem if one is free to circumscribe the problem as narrowly as is necessary to find a solution. The artificiality of such a procedure should be impressed upon the public mind early in the educational process, to which reference will be made in a later section. -6-

Proposition III The artificiality of singling out for study in- dividual components or aspects of a complex eco- logical network, as if these component members could actually exist in isolation, finds its counter- part in practical applications in the field of renew- able natural resources in the no less fallacious tendency to concentrate more and more on purity, uniformity, and single-track standardization of isolated measures and practices. Since the survival of any ecological system is based on the coexistence of interdependent mixtures of components and environ- mental conditions in requisite proportions, the omission of any one often leads to wholly unnatural and self-defeating results. And, as stated above, their significance or insignificance cannot be judged from sheer data on bulk or averages. As examples, we may cite the detrimental effect on plant growth of the lack of trace elements in the soil; the reduction of viability in animals raised germ-free; the self-sterility of highly inbred lines; the epidemic over-growth of species of prey after the artificial elimination of their predators; and, in general, the often fatal disruption of organic equilibria by the disturbance of the equilibrated fabric of competitive, as well as cooperative, relations. Again, however, existing equilibria are not necessarily op- timal. By moderate alterations of the mixture of components, on a scale short of endangering the vital integrity of the whole system, improved combinations could be discovered which would come closer to maximizing the total yield than do the current ones. Some such practices have already been introduced into animal and plant breeding, where past trends toward specialized breeding for weight or composition or growth rate or reproductive capacity or palata- bility or disease-resistance or climatic tolerance or food economy or longevity, and so on, are being increasingly paralleled by tend- encies to breed for the optimum common denominator of all of these. Optimizing the total result should become more generally an objective at par with maximizing a specific partial result at the sacrifice of other interrelated parts. This requires the introduction into the total perspective of the field of natural resources of the basic principle of "sense of proportions." It requires, for instance, that one not only investigate how to eradicate a given pest or wastage, but also determine the lower limit to which such reduction could be carried and still remain harmless for the continued survival and -7-

thriving of the afflicted system. In other words, a certain mini- mum of impurities, contaminants, and admixtures of organisms and inorganic items is often not only compatible with, but essen- tial for, optimum results. Clear recognition of this fact will open numerous new and important lines of research. Where such research can be carried out by first identifying, then analytically separating, and eventu- ally recombining in steps the several components of a complex ecological system, this would be the investigative course of choice. In most cases, however, the network of conditions is too intricate and many of the factors involved are too intangible to be isolated or too far removed from experimental control (e.g., in the case of climatic, geographic, and economic factors) to be amenable to this analytic and recombinative procedure; in that case, recourse to statistical studies will have to be taken. Either way, however, the opportunities for potential major progress by trying a much wider variety of heretofore untried novel combinations for the pro- duction of unprecedented major advances are not yet being explored and exploited as fully as current research technology would permit. By way of example, one may point to three areas of great promise in this regard. In microbiology, deliberate induction of mutations by radiation and by exposure to chemical compounds and environmental extremes, followed by careful selection of viable strains with new useful properties, promises to lead to break- throughs in the cheap supplementation of deficient diets (for in- stance, amino acid additives to plant proteins of inferior dietary composition); in the chemical decomposition for industrial use of organic fibers, including, perhaps, the processing of lignin; in the biological control of pests; and in the biological solution to problems of waste disposal and environmental pollution. Although still largely on an empirical basis, rational courses for methodi- cal progress are beginning to emerge from the results of basic research in microbial systematics, genetics, biophysics, and bio- chemistry, and intensified investment in this area is indicated. In the macroorganismic field, probing for new combinations between animals and plants, on the one hand, and between them and their environments, on the other, has been undertaken so far only on a scale incommensurate with its potential successes. Such explora- tions can proceed along two different lines. The growing knowledge of genetics can be used to accelerate the production and appropri- ate selection of improved animal and plant races within given en- vironments, with the concomitant development of proper techniques for the preservation and storage of seeds, sperm, and perhaps ova -8-

in germ-plasm banks. The other approach is to test existing spe- cies in new environments to which they have been transported and transplanted. Thus far, for instance, only a small number of wild species of plants have been domesticated, although the recent up- surge in the raising of industrially or dietarily desirable crops (soybean, castor bean, sesame seeds, safflower, etc.,) documents well the feasibility and merits of such an approach. A much wider search, particularly of the lesser-known vegetation and fauna of the more remote parts of the globe, followed by locating biologic- ally and economically superior environments and culture conditions in more accessible regions, should receive increased emphasis. The use of phytotrons, in which the testing, sorting, and evaluation process can be greatly accelerated and optimum constellation of conditions can be established much more rapidly than in tests in nature, would serve an important auxiliary function in this effort, with the understanding, according to the earlier statements of this proposition, that the ultimate verdict of success or failure will still rest with conclusive tests in nature. The ecological argument against excessive one-sided pre- occupation with standards of absolute purity applies to the level of human affairs and industrial uses as well. For instance, it suggests greater emphasis on multiple land use of somewhat flexible pro- portions, as contrasted with the current trend to rigorous single- use parcellation. That is to say, in many areas the same forest land could serve at the same time for timber production, wildlife preservation, and human recreational use (provided a correlated educational program is undertaken to minimize the attendant hazards, like fire hazard, traffic volume, etc.). On the industrial side, likewise, the use of different resources in combination could lead to major innovations over the separate use of the pure com- ponent items. To give an example, wool fibers coated with plastics have already given fabrics with properties superior to those attain- able from either component alone. Similarly, a mixture of wood fibers and plastics in laminated or dispersed form promises to yield building materials of greater total utility (strength, durability, temperature and humidity resistance, molding capacity, etc.) than would reside in either the pure lumber or the pure plastic product. To reduce steadily the role of blind empiricism in the search for such new combinations, it is absolutely essential to give maxi- mum support to any line in the basic sciences that promises rele- vant and major advances of knowledge in the following areas: cel- lular biology (including biochemistry and biophysics); developmental biology (including growth, differentiation, and nutrition) ecologic -9-

biology (the mutual interaction, beneficial or harmful, between organisms and their environment, including other organisms, particularly, also, the problems of parasitism); soil biology (in- cluding the physical chemistry of polydisperse systems in col- loidal dimensions); and bioclimatology (the interactions between meteorological factors and organisms). It is particularly impor- tant, however, to emphasize that in line with the conclusions of Proposition III, undue preponderance of research support in so- called molecular biology, which deals with isolated components of biological entities, however valuable in itself, cannot provide the knowledge of the behavior of the organized complex networks needed for both fundamental and practical purposes; hence, that in research support of the biological sciences, likewise, a "sense of proportions" must be maintained and one-sided distortions pre- vented. In conclusion, it is imperative that in dealing with problems of renewable natural resources, whether in study or application, one clearly recognize that viable ecological systems are composed of mixtures of heterogeneous member units and that this hetero- geneity be fully taken into account as vital for the existence and equilibrium of each system. Such equilibria are by no means yet the optimal states attainable; hence they permit of continued evo- lutionary improvements. Yet, steps aiming at improvement must not be of a rate and magnitude that would exceed what is compatible with the conservation of the system as a whole. In view of the nature of ecological systems, matching combinations of steps for groups of components are apt to be less disruptive than would be isolated steps taken separately for individual components. Moreover, by the same token, equivalent improvements, that is, the same degree of opti- mization of the total result, can be achieved by a variety of com- binations of steps involving different parts of the system. It is a scientific task to circumscribe the degrees of recombinative free- dom within such systems and eventually to define precisely the margins of tolerable adaptive flexibility within a given ecosystem between complete and lethal solidification at one extreme, and perilous distortions to the point of disintegration at the other. Proposition IV The net-like character of the natural re- sources problem calls for the replacement of linear chain-reaction determinism by principles of thought and action which are based on the fact -10-

that in such network systems there can be many equivalent, multi-pathway, multiple-choice ap- proaches to the same goals — in the present case, the common objective of optimization. The older concept of single rigid linear cause-to-effect chains of natural events has given rise to legalistic, organically unreal, and practically untenable conclusions, according to which any deviation of any link along such a chain would inevitably and irrevocably lead to a correspondingly deviant result. By contrast, the network type of causal relations in an integrated system, with its branched and reanastomosing lines of interdependencies, establishes a multiplicity of alternative routes toward a given end. Deflection, reduction, or even complete obliteration of one of the multiple communicating channels in such a system in no way need interfere with the attainment of the end or goal, and the collateral channels can automatically act as substitutes. Historically, in human affairs such substitutive collaterals have usually been looked for and set in operation only after an emergency had changed or occluded some established conventional channels. This has been as true of agricultural practices as of industrial production lines. Our growing knowledge and experience, however, makes it incum- bent on us to lay out patterns of alternative and substitutive prac- tices in advance, so as to have acceptable and feasible schemes for vicariation ready for immediate activation, if and when the unfore- seen necessity for bypassing conventional channels should arise. While this is commonplace in military planning, and partly also in economic planning, the resources field has not yet adopted the forward projection of versatility as a major principle and task. And, consequently, it is not properly prepared for sudden emer- gencies or, what is more important, for the continual adjustive shifts in volume and direction between different production channels for which there is a ceaseless call in the interest of optimal total results. For example, a sudden shift, because of a probable or just rumored effect on health, from animal to vegetable fats finds the dairy industry essentially unprepared for alternative uses for its products on a scale that could compensate for the sudden loss. Evidently, the singular over-emphasis on the fatty component of dairy products had deflected attention from the potential value of the non-fatty content, which, both as a dietary supplement of in- adequate plant protein and as industrial raw material (e.g., in plastics, paints, glues, etc.), could fill the economic breach. Examples of this kind are too numerous to be cited in detail. -11-

To cope with such situations effectively and without the temporary loss of efficiency, alternative pathways for production, processing and usage should be laid out in advance on scientific grounds so as to be ready to open the appropriate valves in re- sponse to any changes in the pressure distribution within the total network. Ideally, one should aim at the construction of a complete flow-chart of the channel system, leading from production sources, through distribution, conversion and processing, to utilization and consumption. As indicated before, the current pattern has a way of becoming stabilized as a result of the relative stability of social, economic and political conditions. The volume and rate of flow in any given channel are, therefore, determined not by their utility and efficiency rating alone, but these factors are weighted, in ad- dition, by an inertia factor inherent in the status quo. Taking cog- nizance of this principle, it will be necessary, therefore, to make allowance in the design of alternative flow channels for potential changes in social, economic, and political patterns which may sig- nificantly modify the practicability, efficiency, or acceptability of a given channel. For instance, if dietary considerations should force a continued retreat from consumption of animal fat, the al- ternative diversion of some such fat to more economical soap pro- duction would, in turn, displace some of the detergents; this would result in a healthier downstream ecology of microorganisms by reducing the harmful effects of the accumulation of detergents in streams, which in turn, could be instrumental in both waste dis- posal and industrial chemistry (see above). Each link in this chain of consequences has certain sociological and economical connota- tions, the momentum of which will weigh heavily in the decisions of whether given existing practices will be retained or allowed to be modified. Despite the uncertainties of the task, however, it would seem imperative to try to assess these variables in the de- sign of alternative multiple-choice channels in a resource master chart of the future, and to weigh the role of factors established on purely objective, scientific grounds — biological, physical, and technological — accordingly. In this manner, the prospective equiv- alence or nonequivalence of alternative routes could be determined with at least some degree of validity. Proposition V The value of marginal resources should be assessed in the light of the principle of multiple al- ternative pathways and the equivalence considerations outlined in the preceding proposition. -12-

What taken by itself might amount only to an insignificantly small contribution to the total resource structure might often, by its singularly favorable position in the total network, assume strategic significance way above its quantitative rating. Sea-water desalination and solar-energy utilization are examples of this cate- gory. Even though the energy requirements for pumping might make irrigation by desalinated sea water economically prohibitive except for coastal strips and depressions, the fact that this would liberate corresponding amounts of fresh water from higher ele- vations for alternative uses might mark a significant improvement for the total situation in the direction of an overall social and eco- nomic gain. Similarly, the partial desalination of some rivers which have an agriculturally undesirable salt content could render wastelands, even though only of regional interest, productive. To give another example, if cheap devices for converting solar energy into refrigeration in small mobile units could be developed for transport and storage of perishable food, such as fish from the sea, in sparsely populated, undernourished regions, such a small- scale improvement could be of crucial benefit. The more sensitive and responsive the resource network can be made, the more the distribution of flow from source to consumption among alternative equivalent channels will be regulated by relatively small changes of conditions. It would be unjustified, therefore, to let resource planning be dominated by gross bulk considerations. Proposition VI The abandonment of the outmoded linear, single-track, causal-chain model and its replace- ment by the systems concept require a major and profound reorientation of public thinking, for which the foundation must be laid in the educational pro- cess. It is one thing to decide what course in natural resources planning would be the most desirable on objective scientific grounds in the sense of reducing inconsistencies to a minimum and optimizing the benefits to the public as a whole, but to obtain voluntary public acceptance of the necessary is another matter. Ideally, such acceptance should be based on insight into the nature of organic ecosystems and a thorough understanding of the inter- relatedness among all components and aspects of such systems, as well as on the realization of the power and obligation of the human individual within such a system to use his understanding -13-

intelligently for the promotion of the common good. To cultivate both the necessary perspective and balanced attitude should be- come a major concern of our educational system. Since the field of natural resources offers a host of dramatic examples of the interconnectedness of individuals, groups, and environments, an elementary introduction to it early in the educational program could have a telling effect in preparing a citizenry fit to face re- source problems realistically and judiciously. A few well-chosen lectures on the high school level, and certainly in all college cur- ricula, could go far in promoting a general awareness and even appreciation of the "system" character of man's universe. To be truly effective, such lectures would have to be carefully purged of bias and propaganda. Yet, the lead time to bring up a properly informed citizenry through regular schooling is too long to meet the need. Additional efforts must be directed to the adult population. This should be done by the insertion of natural resources discussions into adult education courses, and above all, by giving the topic far wider currency in the press. Moreover, the higher education programs will have to recognize their obligation to procure adequately trained expositors for the larger professional, educational, and publicity tasks to be performed. This would become part of a more general trend, already noticeable, of giving man's interest in his future a more central position in the educational spectrum. The miserly allocation of time and emphasis to nutritional science in medical schools is just as pertinent an example of educational deficiencies in need of correction as is the relatively low level of education in agriculture and veterinary medicine. Routine training perpetuates existing practices. To be able to meet the changing demands of the future will require an educational upgrading, including the attraction of high-grade manpower, in all areas bearing on the optimization of man's vital needs. In summary, it is doubtful whether efforts in the field of natural resources can ever become fully effective unless they are matched by educational measures of the required orientation and magnitude. Proposition VII In view of the principles set forth in the pre- ceding six propositions, it is evident that optimiza- tion of natural resources for human use and welfare cannot be achieved by fragmentary and sporadic at- tention given to isolated parts of the problem, but that the issues involved must be made the subject of -14-

a permanent and systematic process of investigation, recording and evaluation, carried on continuously in reference to the total perspective. It would seem mandatory, therefore, to entrust an independent organization with this task. Such a body would function in essence as an intelligence agency in matters of human ecology. It should keep itself con- stantly informed of all physical, biological, sociological, geo- graphic, and economic events and developments of potential bear- ing on man's optimal adjustment to his environment, and attempt to evaluate in scientific terms the probable net effect of their mutual interactions on man's future— short-range and long- range—in national, regional, and global respects. In this pursuit, it should avail itself of the cooperation of the best talent of the country in the natural sciences and relevant branches of the social sciences. It should determine for any single alteration in the total scene — man-made or beyond man's control — the net balance be- tween risk and benefit, not in absolute terms of the intrinsic properties of that particular change, but in relative terms of its putative consequences for the whole fabric of human affairs. In view of the ever-increasing rate of man-made alterations, with their ever-widening circle of sequelae, such an intelligence agency of broad scope would have to cultivate the highest degrees of per- ceptiveness and sensitivity so as to be able to feel the pulse of the ecosystem, as it were, and to register and assess incipient de- velopments before they have reached critical dimensions. These diagnoses would then serve as guides for action programs, pre- cautionary measures and the exploration of alternative courses. By its cultivation of a total integrative overview, such an organi- zation would be in. the most favorable position to detect signal gaps and incongruities in the map of existing knowledge in need of filling or reconciling by further research. And by its anticipatory point of view, it would be singularly qualified to identify what kinds of research might be undertaken or intensified in order to forestall, counteract or rectify predictable future disruptions and imbalances of the human ecosystem. The contemplated agency should not, however, be given powers of decision or enforcement and it should steer clear of the political arena. To summarize; 1. No detailed problem bearing on renewable natural re- sources seems at present in critical need of remedial program research, whether in "crash" or more protracted form, beyond what is already underway or envisaged. -15-

2. The detection and accommodation of future specific re- search needs should be made the concern of a separate agency to keep the field under continuous surveillance. 3. There are, however, two major and unchanging pre- requisites for optimizing man's station in his environment by re- search which do deserve immediate and continuing attention: (1) The scientific concepts and methodology to deal with ecological "systems" of heterogeneous composition must be further developed and strengthened and made to penetrate educational practices and public thinking. (2) Vigorous general support should be given to basic research and education in the life sciences because of (a) their relatively immature state of development; (b) their newly acquired capability for greatly accelerated progress; and (c) their intimate bearing upon any future successes in improving the bal- ance sheet of human ecology by rational procedures. Such promo- tion of the life sciences should be carried on along a broad front, with neither shortsighted concentration on "fashionable" sectors (e.g., molecular biology, radiobiology, and others) nor an equally unwise neglect of less popular ones (e.g., parasitology, biocli- matology, soil science, nutrition, and others). -16-

CONFERENCE ON RENEWABLE NATURAL RESOURCES* Woods Hole, Massachusetts August 15, 16, 18, 1961 Paul Weiss, Chairman Carl Swanson, Vice Chairman R. B. Stevens, Rapporteur Participant Members Of NAS Committee Detlev W. Bronk D. F. Fraschc5 M. K. Hubbert F. W. Notestein S. T. Pike Roger Revelle Athelstan Spilhaus G. F. White Guest William Thurston Speakers W. H. Allaway Vernon Bryson T. C. Byerly George Decker E. S. Deevey V. L. Harper G. W. Irving, Jr. C. F. Korstian Herman Mark John Mero Roy Newton M. B. Russell Alfred Redfield M. B. Schaefer H. Sebrell C. W. Thornthwaite L. D. Walford F. W. Went Review Consultants D. G. Aldrich, Jr. George Allen D. I. Arnon Gordon Ball James F. Bonner M. J. Copley Floyd De Eds Stanley Gregory E. F. Heacox J. A. Kneeland John Kimber W. F. Lamoreux J. C. Lewis Robert Olson Fred Stitt I. W. Youngquist *This report represents a condensed version of the formal papers and open discussions of the first two days of the conference and the summary statements on the final day. A first draft, prepared by the Rapporteur, was distributed to all participants and committee members, and suggested changes have been incorporated in this final version. In addition, the material has been compared with the taped recordings of the sessions and necessary changes and additions made. Several participants and consultants provided the chairman of the conference with comments as to topics needing further emphasis, upon which research might well be concentrated, or which merited special consideration. In accordance with the agreement reached at the time of the conference, these supplemental com- ments have been added, essentially without editing, at the end of this report. -17-

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The area of concern of the study on renewable natural resources was the total range of living organisms providing man with food, fibers, drugs, etc., for his needs, but also including hazards to his health and welfare. Renewable Resources declares no detailed problem bearing on renewable natural resources seems at present in critical need of remedial program research, and the detection and accommodation of future specific research needs should be made the concern of a separate agency to keep the field under continuous surveillance.

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