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Wild Solutions: How Biodiversity is Money in the Bank, Second Edition
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0300105061, Paperback)If there is an intelligence to the design of nature, an old question has it, then how could mosquitoes ever have come into being? Andrew Beattie and Paul Ehrlich have an answer: adult mosquitoes are an important source of food for birds, while their larvae are a major part of the diet of many species of fish. Moreover, mosquitoes pollinate some orchid species, and even their role in the spread of certain diseases appears to have a function in nature. Though it poses an annoyance and hazard, then, the mosquito has its place in the world, a world that is constantly impoverished by the destruction of species.
We humans, Beattie and Ehrlich suggest, are only beginning to understand that ecological health depends on the diversity of nature, a diversity that embraces mosquitoes. By way of illustration, they cite an experiment in which scientists created a sealed environment that was meant to approximate conditions in a self-supporting extraterrestrial colony--and that failed, in the end, because the scientists neglected to introduce easily overlooked but nonetheless critical microorganisms. "We are dependent in the short term," they write, "on many more kinds of organisms than it would seem at first glance." And, they add, humans directly benefit from the services that millions of species provide, whether appreciated or not. To remove those species, the authors argue, is akin to squandering a carefully built and irreplaceable fortune, "our biological wealth, our biological capital." Their thoughtful essay offers many reasons for curbing this spending spree. --Gregory McNamee
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:27:19 -0400)
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Two editions of this book were published by Yale University Press.
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