The Values of Biodiversity - Perspectives on Biodiversity - NCBI Bookshelf
information about biodiversity conservation in relation to the tourism industry. Such networks are also valuable sources of current information about new. Acknowledgments. e Tourism and Biodiversity research project was led by the Ecotourism Department of .. e maps in this report are a useful tool for examining some ing the direct relationship between tourism and biodi- versity, will be. negative effects on the environment worthy of mention (Bundesamt für Naturschutz Such attempts in the relation between tourism and biodiversity should also.
Related guides at ConservationTools. The heading of each section is the title of the study and is hyperlinked to the ConservationTools. The organization responsible for the study is given, followed by a summary of the key economic findings of the study.
Economic Impact Studies Economic and Environmental Benefits of Biodiversity BioScience Maintaining biodiversity is essential for organic waste disposal, soil formation, biological nitrogen fixation, crop and livestock genetics, biological pest control, plant pollination, and pharmaceuticals.
Plants and microbes help to degrade chemical pollutants and organic wastes and cycle nutrients through the ecosystem. Pollinators, including bees and butterflies, provide significant environmental and economic benefits to agricultural and natural ecosystems, including adding diversity and productivity to food crops. About of the crops gown in the United States are insect pollinated. Habitat fragmentation and loss adversely affects pollinator food sources, nesting sites, and mating sites, causing precipitous declines in the populations of wild pollinators.
There are 6 million tons of food products harvested annually from terrestrial wild biota in the United States including large and small animals, maple syrup, nuts, blueberries and algae. Maintaining biodiversity in soils and water is imperative to the continued and improved effectiveness of bioremediation and biotreatment. Biodiversity is essential for the sustainable functioning of the agricultural, forest, and natural ecosystems on which humans depend, but human activities, especially the development of natural lands, are causing a species extinction rate of 1, to 10, times the natural rate.
A State of Knowledge Review Convention on Biological Diversity Biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction are two global challenges that are inextricably linked. But biodiversity is generally a public good, so it is under-valued, or not valued at all, in national economies.
Ten conservation mechanisms that can reduce poverty in the rural poor are identified: There are caveats to these links. The poor depend disproportionately on biodiversity for their subsistence needs and biodiversity conservation can be a route out of poverty under some circumstances. The scale of poverty reduction may be small; conservation interventions do not necessarily lend themselves to poverty interventions. A focus on the cash benefits of biodiversity conservation is too limited; it excludes the ability to meet basic human needs.
And biomass may matter more in the short term, biodiversity as the foundation for biomass more in the long term. Efforts to curb the loss of biodiversity have intensified in recent years, but they have not kept pace with the growing encroachment of human activities.
Yet, parasites and predators existing in natural ecosystems provide an estimated times this amount of the pest control. Without the existence of natural enemies, crop losses by pests in agriculture and forestry would be catastrophic and costs of chemical pest controls would escalate enormously.
A diverse group of microbes fix nitrogen from the atmosphere for use by crops and forests. Second, ecosystem services are often public goods. Individual landowners who cut their forests bear little if any of the cost associated with the reduction of water quality experienced by downstream water-users. Similarly, the flood control service that is lost when landowners fill their wetlands might have little direct effect on those landowners, but the private economic benefits of land conversion to agriculture will be important see the following case study on the Everglades.
Such losses are described in economic terms as "externalities"; the changes in the environment occur as a result of economic activity, such as land development or cutting forests for lumber, but the losses are external to the market transactions.
The Everglades This case study shows the complexity of valuing ecological resources and developing achievable scenarios for ecological and economic sustainability in a watershed system, particularly one in which human activities that change the quality or flow of water in one area affect the biological uniqueness, aesthetic value, and local economy of other areas.
The Everglades are part of the largest wetland ecosystem in the lower 48 states. Historically, water from the Kissimmee River flowed southward into Lake Okeechobee and during wet years overflowed the southern rim of the lake, spreading across the Everglades in a broad "river of grass" that slowly flowed southward to the Florida Bay estuary. The large spatial scale of the system, the highly variable seasonal and interannual patterns of water storage and sheet flow across the landscape, and the very low concentrations of nutrients in the surface waters led to a unique assemblage of wading birds, large vertebrates, and fish and plant communities in a mosaic of habitats over the region Davis and Ogden Since the early s, the environment of Southern Florida has undergone extensive habitat degradation associated with hydrological alterations by humans.
Initially, these were to drain land for agriculture and human settlements; later alterations were to protect against flooding. The human population of Southern Florida is now 4. The Everglades has been compartmentalized for a variety of land uses: About half the original Everglades remains in some semblance of its natural state in the water-conservation areas and the park Gunderson and others The construction of canals, levees, and pumping stations has changed the hydrology of the entire system, leaving it vulnerable to a variety of influences.
Populations of a dozen animal species and 14 plant species have been so reduced that they are now endangered or threatened. Nonnative and nuisance species, such as Melaleuca quinquinervia a tree introduced from Australia in the early s to help drain the Everglades and the Brazilian pepper tree Schinus terebinthifoliushave invaded extensive areas, outcompeting native plants.
In the converted agricultural areas, soil subsidence and water-level declines so great that they are measured in feet Alexander and Cook have increased the susceptibility of the Everglades to drought and fires. Agriculture has introduced excessive nutrients into the system, and the decreased overland flow of freshwater has resulted in salt-water intrusion into the Everglades National Park and along areas of urban development to the east.
If the present ecosystem continues to degrade, ecological sustainability cannot be achieved without fundamental changes Davis and Ogden Over the last several decades, state and federal programs have been created to address water-conservation problems in the Everglades. Crises resulting from a failure of existing policies have led to major reconfigurations and new institutions, structures, and policies Gunderson and others Even among the agencies and institutions that were concerned primarily with the ecological functioning of the Everglades, there were conflicts over specific management objectives, owing in part to differences in the legal mandates governing the different management agencies.
Conflicts were also generated by a lack of critical data needed to evaluate the likely effects of potential manipulations of the hydrological regimes of today's Everglades and by legal and other constraints on the options considered and evaluated by the agencies. The agencies recognized that single-purpose interventions were unlikely to succeed and that restoration activities needed to be evaluated in a system-wide context.
There was also common recognition that it was impossible to recreate precisely the original ecological conditions, because the drainage system had been altered in irreversible or very difficult-to-reverse ways. At issue were maintenance of the integrity of the watershed and water quality, preservation of biodiversity in a region of great interest, conservation of endangered species as required by law, and the sustainability of natural resources in a setting of rapid economic and population growth.
Two current examples illustrate the complexity of the process. Restoration objectives included increasing the total spatial extent of wetlands, increasing habitat heterogeneity, restoring hydrologic structure and function, restoring water quality, improving availability of water, and reducing flood damage on tribal lands.
The reconnaissance study was the first step in development of a restoration plan. It set the stage for feasibility studies to develop further the most promising alternatives and recommend a plan for authorization by Congress.
The second example is a 4-year US Man and the Biosphere US MAB study on ecosystem management for sustainability of southern Florida ecological and associated societal systems Harwell and others in press. This project places water-management and biodiversity issues into an ecosystem-management framework that presumes that the last century's fragmented and compartmentalized approach to management must evolve to one that explicitly recognizes the mutual interdependence of society and the environment.
Such an approach will require integration of theory and knowledge from the natural sciences with analyses of societal and ecological costs and benefits of ecosystem restoration. The US MAB project defined ecological sustainability goals for each component of the landscape with a focus on core areas of maximal ecological goals and buffer areas to support the attainment of those goals, established plausible management scenarios, and examined how the scenarios were related to the desired goals for sustainability of the regional ecological and societal systems Harwell and Long Three management scenarios were examined.
The report concluded that only one was ecologically sustainable. A National Audubon Society report on the endangered species in the Everglades made a similar recommendation National Audubon Society Although this scenario was considered sufficient to achieve the ecological goals for the core areas it was concluded that complete acquisition of the EAA would have too high an economic and social cost Bottcher and Izuno However, on the other hand, the sustainability of the sugar industry in the EAA itself is at risk because of extensive soil degradation, possible changes in the subsidies that support sugar prices, political efforts to tax the sugar industry exclusively for funds to restore the Everglades, and economic pressure to acquire EAA lands for residential development.
Thus, it was seen that putting part of the EAA in a buffer to support ecological systems might counteract some of the risks to sustainability of the agricultural system.
The US MAB report suggested possible uses for the EAA that would allow for sugar production to continue and for the water-management needs to be met, thereby linking the sustainability of the ecological system with the societal sustainability of the local community.
The analysis concluded that sugar is probably the most desirable form of agriculture for the EAA, in that its nutrient demands and nutrient exports to the Everglades are considerably lower than those of vegetable crops. Sugar agriculture was seen as much preferable to the alternative of housing developments or urbanization. The study concluded that the environment of southern Florida has more than enough water, except in severe drought years, to support all expected urban, agricultural, and ecological needs but that currently the greatest fraction of the freshwater is lost directly to the sea through the engineered system of drainage canals.
The critical issue, then, is not competition for resources, but the storage and wise management of this renewable resource. Risk Management of Ecosystem Diversity and Services From the standpoint of resource management and policy-making, the link between species diversity and ecosystem services can best be characterized in a risk-management framework. For any given service, a number of changes in the relative abundance of species in an ecosystem could often be made with relatively little impact on the service in question.
But addition or removal of particular species could profoundly alter one or more services. Moreover, the presence of a diversity of species—and the genetic diversity in those species—will aid in the persistence of a particular service in the face of changing ecological and climatic conditions. We rarely have sufficient ecological knowledge of a system to allow an accurate assessment of how a change in species diversity is likely to affect one or more services, although we often can identify at least some of the species whose depletion or addition is likely to matter.
Management decisions involving potential impacts of changes in species populations on ecosystem services thus typically confront the problem of analyzing and managing risk in the face of scientific uncertainty. No two species are identical, so, in a general sense no species in any ecosystem is "redundant". Nevertheless, for any particular ecosystem service, some species could be added or removed from the ecosystem or be replaced with other, nonnative species with little detectable influence on that service.
In such cases, one species functionally compensates for another Menge and others A clear example is the service that different plant species provide in slowing soil erosion and thereby maintaining clean water and soil productivity. A natural forest is often extremely effective at minimizing soil loss from an ecosystem. However, knowledge of the plant species in a particular forest ecosystem is necessary before one decides what plant species might be removed without changing the efficiency of erosion control.
Although the species in an ecosystem might perform similar functions, there is insufficient knowledge to predict when removing a species from an ecosystem will have an impact. Species in each ecosystem interact—are linked—and removing them might have serious effect; a change that has little effect on one ecosystem service might affect other services profoundly.
Species whose low relative abundance would not suggest their large impact on populations of other species in a community are referred to as "keystone" species Paine ; Power and others The chestnut blight largely eliminated the once-dominant chestnut from eastern deciduous forests the species is still present, but now grows only in a bushy formbut its loss seems to have had relatively little influence on patterns of water runoff or sedimentation in the region because diverse species of hardwoods growing in similar habitats with similar canopy coverage and similar patterns of evapotranspiration were present in the system.
Economic Benefits of Biodiversity
However, if a keystone species were removed or added in this example, it could profoundly affect one or more services. The loss of a keystone species is likely to influence many of the functional processes in an ecosystem, as in the sea otter example earlier in this chapter.
Few communities and virtually no regional ecosystems have been studied in sufficient detail to allow an accurate assessment of all the species that are likely to play keystone roles in relation to various ecosystem services.
Often, some species can be identified as likely keystone species in the absence of careful study and experimentation, but ecological science can help little in predicting which other species will play such roles. A virus, for example, could play a keystone role in a particular ecosystem. The rinderpest virus has gradually been eliminated from wild cattle near the Serengeti, and their populations have increased spectacularly over the last 20 years, as have predator populations Dobson ; Dobson and Hudson The dramatic growth in the population of grazers, however, has reduced recruitment of trees in the area.
Indeed, the ages of trees growing in several areas of East Africa suggest that recruitment of trees occurs only rarely and might be strongly influenced by the patterns of disease in the ungulate populations Dobson and Crawley Box presents some changes in species or populations of particular species that have had substantial effects on ecosystem services. The introduction of exotic species of Myrica faya with nitrogen fixing-symbionts into Hawaii dramatically increased productivity and nitrogen cycling and altered the species composition more A particular species might compensate functionally for another that is removed from an ecosystem, but a simplified ecosystem is less likely to maintain a particular ecosystem service than one with a greater diversity of species playing similar functional roles.
A reduction in the diversity of species performing similar functions in an ecosystem reduces the likelihood that the related service can persist in the face of changing ecological or climatic conditions. Reduction in the population of a species due to the introduction of a pest or pathogen is less likely to disrupt a particular service if species that are unaffected by the pest or pathogen play similar functional roles.
Similarly, climatic change is less likely to affect a particular service if a diversity of species perform similar functional roles. Each species is likely to be affected differently by a given change in climate, so the risk that all species involved in a particular service will be lost from a system is lessened. Another way that diversity could affect ecosystem services is by increasing their stability.
Again, the underlying idea is simple. In the face of year-to-year fluctuations or sustained directional changes in climate or soil fertility or other environmental conditions, productivity and nutrient cycling are more likely to be sustained at high rates if a number of species are present. Some species might be most effective under current conditions; while others might become more important unless conditions change.
For example, in an year field experiment based on grassland plots, increased plant species diversity resulted in greater stability in the community and ecosystem process in experimental plots, especially in the face of a severe drought Tilman ; Tilman and Downing Experimental studies also indicate, for example, that species diversity itself can influence some ecosystem services, particularly in species-poor systems.
In their study of artificial tropical communities in which experimental plots contained 0, 1, and species of plants, Ewel and colleagues found that the total number of species had a greater effect than species composition on a variety of biogeochemical processes Ewel and others Artificial communities with different combinations of one to four species also differed dramatically in net primary productivity: Those results are all consistent with the idea that one of the benefits of diversity is that it increases the likelihood that a species that is highly productive under any particular conditions will be present in the community Hooper ; Hooper and Vitousek Where highly productive species have been identified in advance and conditions are managed so as to be suitable as in agricultural monoculturesvery high rates of productivity can be attained without much onsite diversity.
For example, American farmers produce on average about 7 tons of corn per hectare, but when challenged, as in National Corngrowers' Association competitions, farmers have tripled those yields, producing 21 tons per hectare.
Social and Cultural Values Many people develop a deep aesthetic appreciation for biodiversity and its components. This appreciation has several dimensions, including an appreciation of how biodiversity reveals the complex and intertwined history of life on Earth and a resonance with important personal experiences and familiar or special landscapes. Interest in nature is manifest in many hobby activities, including bird-watching and butterfly-watching; keeping reptiles, tropical fish, and other ''exotic'' species as pets; raising orchids or cacti; participating in native-plant societies; viewing nature photographs and reading nature writing; and watching nature televisions shows.
Kiester has suggested that such experiences provide the basis for a connoisseur's appreciation of biodiversity.
By cultivating a connoisseur's perspective, we might develop a better understanding of the aesthetic value of biodiversity just as art critics and scholars help us to appreciate art. Information Biodiversity holds the potential for applied knowledge through the discovery of how different species have adapted to their varied environments Wilson That is, biodiversity holds potential insights for solutions to biological problems, both current and future.
We might discover bacteria that inhabit hot springs and have evolved enzymes that function at unusually high temperatures, as in the case of PCR described earlier. We might discover novel predator defense mechanisms of plants and develop previously unimagined alternatives to pesticides for our foods. Or from indigenous peoples we learn about poison-dart frogs; study of the toxins of poison dart frogs is providing insight into fundamental neural mechanisms.
Such new insights and tools came not from our imaginations but from observations of other peoples and other species. Even with the dazzling power of modern molecular biology, is it reasonable to expect that we can imagine all the new solutions that can be devised? The diversity of life supplies us not only with new tools and techniques, but also with the inspiration to imagine innovations. Biodiversity holds the potential for us to understand ourselves better.
We have developed profound insights about our own culture and society through the study of other peoples. Likewise, we can learn about our physiology through the study of other species. Many of our insights about ourselves could only have come through the study of other species. For example, our knowledge of our development and reproduction rests on the study of many diverse species beyond the common laboratory species, such as bacteria, nematodes, rats, mice, and monkeys.
It had long been presumed that testosterone is necessary for mating behavior in males—except possibly in humans—because it was the case for all animals that had been studied.
However, the discovery that this was not the case in the red-sided garter snake showed that the correlation between testosterone and behavior in vertebrates was not, after all, axiomatic Joy and Crews The zebra fish has recently proved to be an especially useful model for understanding the molecular genetics of neural development Brown Even plants reveal important cues to our physiology.
Research on the circadian clock of the mustard plant Arabidopsis has led to techniques for studying circadian clocks in animals in more detail and with greater precision than ever before possible Kay Considerable advances in understanding of the human nervous system have come from studying nonhuman vertebrates and invertebrates. For example, the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans has provided insights into nervous disorders and diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease.
Biodiversity has often served as an early-warning system that has foretold threats to human health before sufficient data had been collected to detect effects directly. Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, for example, established a strong case against the use of pesticides primarily on the basis of threats to wildlife populations.
The same pesticides have since been found to present serious public-health risks. Similarly, declines in populations of the common seal in the Wadden Sea and reproductive failure in the Beluga whale in the St. Lawrence River in Canada might stem from the ingestion of PCB-contaminated fish—if so, caution should be used to ensure the safety of marine food supplies for human consumption Chivian Wildlife studies have shown evidence of effects of various chlorinated organic compounds on the immune systems of animals reviewed in Repetto and Baliga and on their reproductive physiology Colborn and others The evidence is much less conclusive that these compounds have an effect on human physiology, but the accumulation of evidence from wildlife studies points to the need for more-detailed research on possible effects on humans.
Much of the study of biodiversity might have no immediate applied value, but it is valuable nonetheless. It is impossible to predict how new knowledge will be used. Knowledge about various forms of life has, as seen in the above examples, had direct effects on improving human health and has led to revolutions in science, such as our understanding of molecular genetics. Few people in Darwin's time would have imagined how his fascination with animal variation would transform the study of biology and so profoundly alter our notions.
Bacterial genetics was an obscure field of research in the s, but it led directly to what we now call molecular biology. Even the small cadre of bacterial geneticists could not have known how their research would revolutionize biology and medicine.
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Transformation Biodiversity can transform our values in the sense that experiences with and knowledge of biodiversity provide opportunities for self-knowledge—knowledge of our own values, attitudes, and beliefs and our place within life as a whole. Although we often regard our natural environment as either a means or a hindrance to such ends as satisfying our physical needs and accumulating material goods, our interactions with our environment also develop our sense of aesthetic pleasure, our curiosity, and our sense of where we fit in the broader scheme of things.
A biologically diverse environment offers broad opportunities for developing new ways of appreciating one's place, the scope of one's enjoyments, and oneself Kellert and Wilson ; Norton ; Wilson Sometimes, the contributions of biodiversity are indirect: Their attitudes change Hair and Pomerantz They become more concerned about wildlife in general; that is, about wildlife in other parts of the world.
There is a small but growing literature on how experience with wildlife—and especially with wilderness and outdoor recreation—influences values, beliefs, and attitudes Finger ; Hendee and Pitstick ; Kaplan and Talbot ; Orams ; Rossman and Ulehla ; Shearl ; Shin One's conception of self is related to nature in highly symbolic ways.
Few Americans wish to live in the kind of society that poisons the Bald Eagle, our symbol of national strength and pride. The grandeur of the symbol is enhanced by the opportunity to watch the Bald Eagle in flight. Conversely, the symbolic power of the eagle would inevitably be diminished if there were no eagles living in the wild.
People are motivated by more than the satisfaction of their physical needs; they are moved by the possibility of expanding their horizons—both their own experience and also knowledge "for its own sake". The experience of biodiversity provides such opportunities.
The examples cited above suggest that diverse environments contribute to a self-knowledge that, although it can take a multitude of forms and is difficult to catalog, is nonetheless irreducibly valuable in its own right.
Aesthetics To superkill a species is to shut down a story of millennia and leave no future possibilities [Holmes Rolston III, quoted in Natural Historyp 75]. Many people develop a deep aesthetic appreciation for biodiversity and its components. In addition to moral, ethical, and religious values, there also are deeply intellectual reasons for conservation of biodiversity; chapter 4 reviews these in detail. The Copernican revolution was an intellectual breakthrough that changed our view of ourselves.
The self-awareness that comes from knowledge of biodiversity is only beginning to be realized. Biodiversity ultimately arises from the fact that there has been one evolutionary history of life on Earth, with vertical through time inheritance. It follows that the species present today have unique histories.
There are many definitions of organic evolution, but two that are especially relevant in this connection are "descent with modification" Darwin and "accumulated history" Salthe. Species contain the histories of their lineages. It is the concept of lineage that is central to the imagery of evolution, and the vast panoply of life through time has become part of our culture. Equally central is the notion of relationship: There are now well worked-out methods for assessing degree of phylogenetic relationship and for reconstructing the history of life on Earth.
These developments have made it possible to express values in new ways. Sense of Place Long-branch taxa frequently have played special cultural roles or have been recognized as having intrinsic value Dworkin The Ginkgo tree was saved from extinction in Buddhist monasteries because of a concern that is moral and cultural in origin.
It now has a "sense of place" value in many parts of the world. Surprisingly, this is a case in which other values also come into play, in that Ginkgo extracts now constitute one of the most widely used medicines in Europe, prescribed by German medical doctors to over 10 million patients annually. Many writers have noted that biodiversity, especially the habitats of native and indigenous species, helps to root not only plants but also people by giving them a sense of place.
As noted in chapter 2it is a characteristic association of species that usually leads us to categorize a place. Indeed, some have suggested that the conservation of landscapes is the best remedy we might have to counter the transience, or rootlessness, that has become one of the most salient characteristics of American society.
For example, Wallace Stegner wrote about American rootlessness and restlessness especially in the American West. He understood the lure of freedom in the absence of obligation. But that rootlessness, Stegner wrote, has often been a curse. Our migratoriness has hindered us from becoming a people of communities and traditions, especially in the West. It has robbed us of the gods who make places holy.
It has cut off individuals and families and communities from memory and the continuum of time. Gary Snyder and Carolyn Merchant have suggested that our ethics and by implication the value we place on biodiversity, must be grounded in an understanding of local habitats and the functioning of ecosystems.
This work, especially Leopold's notion of a "land ethic" has inspired work in both environmental philosophy and social psychology; the latter has indicated that concern with the intrinsic value of biodiversity is widespread in the United States Karp ; Stern and others A sense of place is founded on relationships—for example, with nature, with the past, with future generations, and with those with whom one shares responsibility for maintaining the essential character of one's surroundings Gussow To belong to or in a landscape, one must feel connected to its past, both natural and human.
One is then aware of the moral obligation to cultivate the landscape in ways that maintain its identifying characteristics so that future generations can recognize it as one does now.
Economic Benefits of Biodiversity : ConservationTools
The work of protecting native flora and fauna establishes a continuity with the future through a consistency with the past. Thus, we maintain a connection with a landscape through time Cronon ; Worster The effort that we make to protect the habitats of native species entrenches a relationship between people and places. One sees one's own activities and those of one's community as rooted in a particular place; one's experiences, in other words, depend on where one is Gallagher ; Light and Smith The protection of biodiversity is often the catalyst that turns generic locations into distinct places.
The difference is that a place is a location that we have filled with meaning and thus have claimed with our feelings.
History, natural or human, insofar as we claim it as our own, must be imbedded in places that we cherish in shared memory and whose symbols we maintain and respect. Native and indigenous species are living parts of our community history Baily See the case study below on Boulder, Colo.
Space is the symbol of freedom in the western world; it is a frontier to conquer; it is the potential, not the actual. It is an ever-receding horizon. Place, in contrast, involves commitment and responsibility, actuality rather than potential.
It is not the realm of conquest, but the sphere of concern and conservation. The reintroduction and protection of native species, in contrast, follows Virgil's counsel: It is well to be informed about the winds, About the variations of the sky, The native traits and habits of the place, What each locale permits and what denies. Much of what many people deplore about the human subversion of nature—and fear about the destruction of the environment—has to do with the loss of places that they keep in shared memory and cherish with collective loyalty.
Many fears stem from the loss of the particular—the specific characteristics of places that make them ours—and so from the loss of the security one has when one is able to rely on the lore and the love of places and communities that one knows well. The beauty and majesty of nature have always affected human beings: The aesthetic categories of the beautiful and the sublime, which became prominent in the writings of 18th-century philosophers, apply to our understanding of the value of biodiversity today.
Plants and animals in their intricate and functional design are beautiful; we perceive that beauty with pleasure. We garden; we cut flowers for our homes; we keep birds, fish, and many other animals in our homes; we frequent zoos; and so on. Ecotourism is based largely on people's enjoyment of natural beauty. Artists celebrate that beauty in paintings and sculptures drawn from nature. Indeed, nature is the primary object of representation in art and a constant theme of poetry.
The record of evolution stretches the limits of our understanding and imagination. Those who study this record—paleontologists, zoologists, ecologists, botanists, and many others—discover in every kind of plant and animal a story worth telling, a complex tale of adaptation that exemplifies evolutionary processes.
No less than the artifacts of great civilizations gone by, rare species descended from organisms that lived eons ago possess a historical value and authenticity that demand attention and appreciation. When we take pleasure in the qualities of these organisms—when we enjoy simply knowing and perceiving them with no further use or application in mind—we are engaged in the experience of the aesthetic.
The citizens of Boulder, an affluent educated community, have long valued and protected its natural setting, most recently by establishing the so-called blue line, a contour at the city's western edge above which no development is to be extended, and by approving an increase in the city sales tax of 0.
Boulder now has the highest per capita acreage of municipally owned natural area of cities in the United States. The purposes of open space, as codified in a charter amendment approved by voters inare preserving and restoring natural areas and their biota, preserving land for passive recreational use, retaining traditional agricultural land uses, limiting urban sprawl, and preserving aesthetic values City of Boulder Open Space Department Loss of natural areas to urban sprawl is proceeding rapidly throughout most of the region around Boulder, and there have been attempts to curtail the open-space program, initiated primarily by the real-estate, development, and general business communities in the Boulder Valley.
However, care has been taken to get city council and general public support and involvement during all phases of land purchase and policy implementation. Public-opinion polls conducted in and indicate that although conservation of biodiversity is a factor in public support for open space, the primary purpose in the minds of most people is to keep urban and suburban sprawl at bay Miller ; Miller and Caldwell It is clear that, to the great majority of Boulder's population, the value of open space as natural viewscape exceeds the value of the same land for possible commercial and residential development.
In recent years, the Open Space Department has begun shifting its emphasis from the purchase of new land to the development of management plans that will ensure its ecological integrity into the future. Of particular concern is the increasing use of open space for outdoor recreation Zaslowsky Two issues illustrate the growing conflicts between the value of Boulder open space as a biodiversity reserve and its value as a template for outdoor recreation.
The first involves closing a trail to protect the high biodiversity of habitats and replacing it with a nearby trail. The second involves an attempt to implement leash laws in some areas where dog owners traditionally had been permitted to walk their pets off-leash. In both cases, the managers in the Open Space Department recommended restricting, but not prohibiting, recreation uses.
Neither the users nor those who favored protection were satisfied. Those examples suggest three general lessons about the challenges that managers of suburban open spaces can expect to face. First, it is more difficult to impose restrictions on the use of open space after its establishment than at the time of its establishment.
Second, hard data on the consequences of recreation on the biodiversity of open space will be helpful in resolving conflicts. Third, the ecological integrity of suburban open spaces will persist only if citizen users can be educated as to the consequences of their collective impacts.
It is a daunting educational challenge. Public participation has long been an integral part of the planning process regarding Boulder open space. The relative success of the program is attributable largely to deliberate efforts to integrate public opinion and participation into the decision-making process. Ethics and Religion Very often, people value biodiversity for ethical and religious reasons.
These reasons are often part of a comprehensive ethical or cosmological world view that, on the one hand, is anchored in a self-conception or identity and, on the other hand, is supported by an interpretative tradition and the communities that share it.
Such values—and the worldly points of reference that support them—are held not in the form of needs or preferences, but rather as judgments that attach to identity. One does not "choose" these values; they are the deeply held values that form our identity. Summary In this chapter, we have discussed how the many dimensions of biodiversity and its components contribute to decisions on management of biodiversity. The goods and services, present and potential, that humans derive directly or indirectly from biodiversity can be viewed from different social and cultural perspectives.
The case study examples of the Everglades and Boulder illustrate why a broadened understanding is necessary for management considerations. In the next chapter, we see that information on the many philosophical and systematic approaches to valuing biodiversity can favor particular outcomes in management decisions.