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In the light of evolution II: Biodiversity and extinction

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Avise, John C.  Search this
Hubbell, Stephen P.  Search this
Ayala, Francisco J.  Search this
Object Type:
Smithsonian staff publication
Electronic document
First paragraph The Earth’s biodiversity is a wellspring for scientific curiosity about nature’s workings. It is also a source of joy and inspiration for inquisitive minds, from poets to philosophers, and provides life-support services. According to Kellert (2), biodiversity affords humanity nine principal types of benefit: utilitarian (direct economic value of nature’s goods and services), scientific (biological insights), aesthetic (inspiration from nature’s beauty), humanistic (feelings deeply rooted in our inherent attachment to other species), dominionistic (physical and mental well-being promoted by some kinds of interactions with nature), moralistic (including spiritual uplifting), naturalistic (curiosity-driven satisfaction from the living world), symbolic (naturestimulated imagination, communication, and thought), and even negativistic (fears and anxieties about nature, which can actually enrich people’s life experience). Whether or not this list properly characterizes nature’s benefits, the fact is that a world diminished in biodiversity would be greatly impoverished.
Avise, John C., Hubbell, Stephen P. and Ayala, Francisco J. 2008. In the light of evolution II: Biodiversity and extinction. <i>Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America<i>, 105(Supplement 1): 11453-11457. doi:10.1073/pnas.0802504105
Tropics  Search this
Biology  Search this
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Smithsonian Libraries