National Academies Press: OpenBook
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1997. Nature and Human Society: The Quest for a Sustainable World. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6142.
×

Nature and Human Society

The Quest for a Sustainable World

Peter H. Raven, Editor
Tania Williams, Associate Editor

Proceedings of the 1997 Forum on Biodiversity

Board on Biology
National Research Council

image

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1997. Nature and Human Society: The Quest for a Sustainable World. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6142.
×

Page ii

National Academy Press 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20418

NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for this report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

This study was supported between the National Academy of Sciences and Monsanto Company; The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation through grants 97-50855 and 97-48904; The Winslow Foundation; National Science Foundation through grant DEB-9729452; The David and Lucile Packard Foundation through grant 97-8124; Homeland Foundation through grant 3-97-085; Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg Foundation; V. Kann Rasmussen Foundation; The World Conservation Union; Trillium Corporation; The Jenifer Altman Foundation through grant 231. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.

This material is not an official report of the Board on Biology or the National Research Council and the opinion reports are solely those of the individual forum participants. The papers presented in this volume are based upon presentations made at the October 27–30, 1997 meeting.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Forum on Biodiversity (1997 : National Academy of Sciences)
Nature and human society : the quest for a sustainable world :
proceedings of the 1997 Forum on Biodiversity / Board on Biology,
National Research Council.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 0-309-06555-0 (hardcover)
1. Biological diversity--Congresses. 2. Nature—Effect of human
beings on—Congresses. 3. Human ecology—Congresses. 4. Sustainable
development—Congresses. I. National Research Council (U.S). Board on
Biology. II. Title.
QH541.15.B56 F685 1997
333.95'11—dc21
                                                                      99-50565

Cover: Art by Bert Dodson.

Nature and Human Society: The Quest for a Sustainable World is available from the National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Box 285, Washington, DC 20055; 1-800-624-6242 or 202-334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area). Internet: www.nap.edu

Printed in the United States of America

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1997. Nature and Human Society: The Quest for a Sustainable World. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6142.
×

Page iii

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

National Academy of Sciences
National Academy of Engineering
Institute of Medicine
National Research Council

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences.

The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering.

The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine.

The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1997. Nature and Human Society: The Quest for a Sustainable World. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6142.
×

There was a problem loading page R4.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1997. Nature and Human Society: The Quest for a Sustainable World. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6142.
×

Page v

FORUM ON BIODIVERSITY COMMITTEE

Peter H. Raven (Chair), Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO

Michael J. Bean, Wildlife Program, Environmental Defense Fund, Washington, DC

Colin W. Clark, Mathematics Department, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Rita R. Colwell, University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute, University of Maryland System, College Park, MD

Joel L. Cracraft, American Museum of Natural History, Department of Ornithology, New York, NY

Frank W. Davis, Department of Geography, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA

Prosser Gifford, Director of Scholarly Programs, Library of Congress, Washington, DC

Gary S. Hartshorn, Organization for Tropical Studies, Duke University, Durham, NC

Olga F. Linares, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Miami, FL

Thomas E. Lovejoy, Counselor for Biodiversity and Environmental Affairs, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC

Jane Lubchenco, Department of Zoology, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR

Dan Martin, World Environment and Resources Program, John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Chicago, IL

Nalini Nadkarni, The Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA

Michael H. Robinson, National Zoo, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC

Daniel Simberloff, Department of Biological Sciences, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL

David B. Wake, Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University of California, Berkeley, CA

Edward O. Wilson, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

Joy B. Zedler, Pacific Estuarine Research Laboratory, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA

Advisor

Stuart Pimm, Department of Zoology and Graduate Program in Ecology, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN

Convener Liaison

Lynne Corn, Environment and Natural Resources Division, Congressional Research Service, Washington, DC

Victoria Dompka, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington, DC

Don E. Wilson, Neotropical Biodiversity Program, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC

Staff

Paul Gilman, Project Co-Director

Donna M. Gerardi, Project Co-Director

Kathleen A. Beil, Administrative Assistant

Norman Grossblatt, Editor

Erika Shugart, Research Aide

Susan S. Vaupel, Editor

Tania Williams, Program Officer

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1997. Nature and Human Society: The Quest for a Sustainable World. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6142.
×

There was a problem loading page R6.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1997. Nature and Human Society: The Quest for a Sustainable World. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6142.
×

Page vii

PREFACE

The 1986 National Forum on BioDiversity carried the urgent warning that the habitats and environments necessary to foster biodiversity were rapidly being altered. The Second National Forum on Biodiversity was held in Washington, DC, on October 27–30, 1997, under the auspices of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the Smithsonian Institution, the Library of Congress, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). It conveyed the positive message that we had learned and were making efforts to conserve biodiversity—that it does not have to be a win-lose situation. It highlighted a number of outstanding efforts to conserve biodiversity in ways that are amenable to all parties involved.

The second forum was envisaged to celebrate how much we had achieved since the 1986 forum. We hoped to target the general public as the audience, using dynamic means to catch their interest. It was to be a dialogue, using, for instance, a town meeting, live chat rooms on the Web, and a live-action camera in the Amazon rain forest canopy. The speeches would be peppered throughout to convey our progress and the direction we needed to head in. Although we could not secure the funds necessary to support such a venture, we believe that that format should be used for a third forum. It will be valuable to assemble top scientists to discuss where we are and where we should go. We were impressed and pleased by how easily we secured eminent speakers; many of them had to rearrange their schedules to speak but did so eagerly because of the importance of the topic.

We were confounded by the difficulty of presenting all the desired topics at the 3-day forum in such a way that there would be enough time to cover them fully

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1997. Nature and Human Society: The Quest for a Sustainable World. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6142.
×

Page viii

and to allow question and answer sessions with the audience. To fit more topics in, we held several brown-bag luncheon discussions each day; these discussions received favorable comments because they allowed adequate give and take in an intimate atmosphere. When we were putting this volume together, we took the opportunity to address some of the lesser-known groups of organisms that had not been well covered, such as protists, mites, and fungi. We also held a number of events to increase outreach to the public and Congress: several speakers were sent to Capitol Hill to brief congressional members and staff, others participated in radio news events, and all participated in a lunch with the press.

The body of the program, including lectures and brown-bag sessions, was held at NAS. An opening evening lecture was held at the Baird Auditorium of the National Museum of Natural History. The Library of Congress hosted a special dinner and exhibit for the speakers. And the premier screening of the National Geographic film, Don't Say Goodbye, and an accompanying exhibit of the photographic work of Susan Middleton and David Liittschwager were held at AAAS. Over 750 people registered for the 3-day forum, and all the events were well attended.

Numerous people were involved in organizing the forum. The National Research Council empaneled a committee to serve as science advisers. That panel enlisted the help of David Wilcove, George Woodwell, and Walt Reid to finalize the program. Staff of the convening organizations did the brunt of the planning: Tania Williams of the National Research Council directed the staff efforts with the invaluable assistance of Donna Gerardi, Erika Shugart, and Kathleen Beil, also of the National Research Council; Prosser Gifford of the Library of Congress; Lynne Corn of the Congressional Research Service; Don Wilson of the Smithsonian Institution; and Dick Gertzinger, Victoria Dompka, and Lars Bromley of AAAS. Ruth O'Brien of the National Research Council organized the complicated arrangements that led to a smoothly conducted meeting; she was assisted by Stacey Burkhardt of the National Research Council. Authors were sent completed and edited manuscripts in late 1998 so that they could update the references. Hence in this volume, there are many references to work published after the forum was held.

We wish to thank the Mansanto Company, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Winslow Foundation, National Science Foundation, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Homeland Foundation, Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg Foundation, V. Kann Rasmussen Foundation, The World Conservation Union, Trillium Corporation, and The Jenifer Altman Foundation for their support of this effort.

Tania Williams served as managing editor for this volume, Norman Grossblatt was senior manuscript editor, and Karen Phillips edited several of the manuscripts.

The beautiful art created for the forum, which serves as the cover of this volume, was the work of Bert Dodson.

PETER H. RAVEN
CHAIR

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1997. Nature and Human Society: The Quest for a Sustainable World. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6142.
×

Page ix

CONTENTS

Introduction

Peter H. Raven

1

Part 1
Defining Biodiversity

Barriers to Perception: From a World of Interconnection to Fragmentation

David T. Suzuki

11

The Creation of Biodiversity

Edward O. Wilson

22

The Dimensions of Life on Earth

Robert M. May

30

The Sixth Extinction: How Large, How Soon, and Where?

Stuart L. Pimm and Thomas M. Brooks

46

The Meaning of Biodiversity Loss

Norman Myers

63

The Loss of Population Diversity and Why It Matters

Jennifer B. Hughes, Gretchen C. Daily, and Paul R. Ehrlich

71

Keeping a Finger on the Pulse of Marine Biodiversity: How Healthy Is It?

Jerry R. Schubel and Cheryl Ann Butman

84

Countryside Biogeography and the Provision of Ecosystem Services

Gretchen C. Daily

104

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1997. Nature and Human Society: The Quest for a Sustainable World. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6142.
×

Page x

Part 2
Less Well-Known Individual Forms of Life

Microbial Diversity and the Biosphere

Norman R. Pace

117

Biodiversity, Classification, and Numbers of Species of Protists

John O. Corliss

130

Estimating the Extent of Fungal Diversity in the Tropics

K.D. Hyde, W.H. Ho, J.E. Taylor, and D.L. Hawksworth

156

Nematodes: Pervading the Earth and Linking All Life

J.G. Baldwin, S.A. Nadler, and D.H. Wall

176

Global Diversity of Mites

R.B. Halliday, B.M. OConnor, and A.S. Baker

192

Biodiversity of Terrestrial Invertebrates in Tropical Africa: Assessing the Needs and Plan of Action

Scott Miller, Barbara Gemmill, Hans R. Herren, Lucie Rogo, and Melody Allen

204

Global Diversity of Insects: The Problems of Estimating Numbers

Ebbe S. Nielsen and Laurence A. Mound

213

Part 3
The Role of the Group in Biodiversity

The World Beneath Our Feet: Soil Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning

Diana H. Wall and Ross A. Virginia

225

Natural Investment in Diversity: The Role of Biological Communities in Soil

Frans A.A.M. de Leij, David B. Hay, and James M. Lynch

242

Part 4
Means to Measure Biodiversity

Conservation Biology and the Preservation of Biodiversity: An Assessment

Gary K. Meffe

255

Conservation Genetics: Applying Molecular Methods to Maximize the Conservation of Taxonomic and Genetic Diversity

Don J. Melnick, Juan Carlos Morales, and Rodney L. Honecutt

264

Application of Geospatial Information for Identifying Priority Areas for Biodiversity Conservation

Ashbindu Singh

276

Hawaii Biological Survey: Museum Resources In Support of Conservation

Allen Allison and Scott E. Miller

281

Building the Next-Generation Biological-Information Infrastructure

John L. Schnase, Meredith A. Lane, Geoffrey C. Bowker, Susan Leigh Star, and Abraham Silberschatz

291

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1997. Nature and Human Society: The Quest for a Sustainable World. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6142.
×

Page xi

Part 5
Threats to Sustainability

Nature Displaced: Human Population Trends and Projections and Their Meanings

Richard P. Cincotta and Robert Engelman

303

Population Growth, Sustainable Development, and the Environment

Sergey Kapitza

315

Nonindigenous Species: A Global Threat to Biodiversity and Stability

Daniel Simberloff

325

Part 6
Infrastructure for Sustaining Biodiversity—Science

Science and the Public Trust in a Full World: Function and Dysfunction in Science and the Biosphere

George M. Woodwell

337

The Response of the International Scientific Community to the Challenge of Biodiversity

David L. Hawksworth

347

The Millenium Seed Bank at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Ghillean T. Prance and Roger D. Smith

358

Charting the Biosphere: Building Global Capacity for Systematics Science

Joel L. Cracraft

374

Science and Technology in the Convention on Biological Diversity

Calestous Juma and Gudrun Henne

387

Ecology and the Knowledge Revolution

Graciela Chichilnisky

398

Part 7
Infrastructure for Sustaining Biodiversity—Society

Biodiversity: A World Bank Perspective

Ismail Serageldin

413

Creating Cultural Diversity: Tropical Forests Transformed

Olga F. Linares

420

Endangered Plants, Vanishing Cultures: Ethnobotany and Conservation

Paul Alan Cox

435

Religion and Sustainability

James Parks Morton

443

Reaching the Public: The Challenge of Communicating Biodiversity

Jane Elder and John Russonello

455

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1997. Nature and Human Society: The Quest for a Sustainable World. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6142.
×

Page xii

Center for Environmental Research and Conservation (CERC): A New Multi-Institutional Partnership to Prepare the Next Generation of Environmental Leaders

Don J. Melnick and Mary C. Pearl

462

Natural Capitalism

Paul G. Hawken

471

Part 8
Infrastructure for Sustaining Biodiversity—Policy

Linking Science and Policy: A Research Agenda for Colombian Biodiversity

Cristián Samper

483

Sustainability and the Law: An Assessment of the Endangered Species Act

Michael J. Bean

493

Government Policy and Sustainability of Biodiversity in Costa Rica

René Castro

500

National Security, National Interest, and Sustainability

Thomas E. Lovejoy

506

Biodiversity and Organizing for Sustainability in the United States Government

Timothy E. Wirth

514

Part 9
Examples of Sustainability

How to Grow a Wildland: The Gardenification of Nature

Daniel H. Janzen

521

Measures to Conserve Biodiversity in Sustainable Forestry: The Río Condór Project

Mary T. Kalin Arroyo

530

Chemical Prospecting: The New Natural History

Thomas Eisner

543

Conservation Medicine: An Emerging Field

Mark Pokras, Gary Tabor, Mary Pearl, David Sherman, and Paul Epstein

551

How Countries with Limited Resources Are Dealing with Biodiversity Problems

Jeffrey A. McNeely

557

Biodiversity and Sustainable Human Development: The Costa Rican Agenda

Rodrigo Gámez, Sandra Rodríguez, and Ana Elena Valdés

573

The National Biodiversity Information System of Mexico

Jorge Soberón and Patricia Koleff

586

Community Involvement and Sustainability: The Malpai Borderlands Effort

William McDonald and Ronald J. Bemis

596

Index

605

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1997. Nature and Human Society: The Quest for a Sustainable World. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6142.
×
Page R1
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1997. Nature and Human Society: The Quest for a Sustainable World. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6142.
×
Page R2
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1997. Nature and Human Society: The Quest for a Sustainable World. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6142.
×
Page R3
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1997. Nature and Human Society: The Quest for a Sustainable World. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6142.
×
Page R4
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1997. Nature and Human Society: The Quest for a Sustainable World. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6142.
×
Page R5
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1997. Nature and Human Society: The Quest for a Sustainable World. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6142.
×
Page R6
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1997. Nature and Human Society: The Quest for a Sustainable World. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6142.
×
Page R7
Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1997. Nature and Human Society: The Quest for a Sustainable World. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6142.
×
Page R8
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1997. Nature and Human Society: The Quest for a Sustainable World. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6142.
×
Page R9
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1997. Nature and Human Society: The Quest for a Sustainable World. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6142.
×
Page R10
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1997. Nature and Human Society: The Quest for a Sustainable World. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6142.
×
Page R11
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1997. Nature and Human Society: The Quest for a Sustainable World. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6142.
×
Page R12
Next: Introduction »
Nature and Human Society: The Quest for a Sustainable World Get This Book
×
Buy Hardback | $85.00
MyNAP members save 10% online.
Login or Register to save!

From earliest times, human beings have noticed patterns in nature: night and day, tides and lunar cycles, the changing seasons, plant succession, and animal migration. While recognizing patterns conferred great survival advantage, we are now in danger from our own success in multiplying our numbers and altering those patterns for our own purposes.

It is imperative that we engage again with the patterns of nature, but this time, with awareness of our impact as a species. How will burgeoning human populations affect the health of ecosystems? Is loss of species simply a regrettable byproduct of human expansion? Or is the planet passing into a new epoch in just a few human generations?

Nature and Human Society presents a wide-ranging exploration of these and other fundamental questions about our relationship with the environment. This book features findings, insights, and informed speculations from key figures in the field: E.O. Wilson, Thomas Lovejoy, Peter H. Raven, Gretchen Daily, David Suzuki, Norman Myers, Paul Erlich, Michael Bean, and many others.

This volume explores the accelerated extinction of species and what we stand to lose--medicines, energy sources, crop pollination and pest control, the ability of water and soil to renew itself through biological processes, aesthetic and recreational benefits--and how these losses may be felt locally and acutely.

What are the specific threats to biodiversity? The book explores human population growth, the homogenization of biota as a result in tourism and trade, and other factors, including the social influences of law, religious belief, and public education.

Do we have the tools to protect biodiversity? The book looks at molecular genetics, satellite data, tools borrowed from medicine, and other scientific techniques to firm up our grasp of important processes in biology and earth science, including the "new" science of conservation biology.

Nature and Human Society helps us renew our understanding and appreciation for natural patterns, with surprising details about microorganisms, nematodes, and other overlooked forms of life: their numbers, pervasiveness, and importance to the health of the soil, water, and air and to a host of human endeavors.

This book will be of value to anyone who believes that the world's gross natural product is as important as the world's gross national product.

  1. ×

    Welcome to OpenBook!

    You're looking at OpenBook, NAP.edu's online reading room since 1999. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

    Do you want to take a quick tour of the OpenBook's features?

    No Thanks Take a Tour »
  2. ×

    Show this book's table of contents, where you can jump to any chapter by name.

    « Back Next »
  3. ×

    ...or use these buttons to go back to the previous chapter or skip to the next one.

    « Back Next »
  4. ×

    Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book.

    « Back Next »
  5. ×

    Switch between the Original Pages, where you can read the report as it appeared in print, and Text Pages for the web version, where you can highlight and search the text.

    « Back Next »
  6. ×

    To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter.

    « Back Next »
  7. ×

    Share a link to this book page on your preferred social network or via email.

    « Back Next »
  8. ×

    View our suggested citation for this chapter.

    « Back Next »
  9. ×

    Ready to take your reading offline? Click here to buy this book in print or download it as a free PDF, if available.

    « Back Next »
Stay Connected!