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This volume focuses on solutions to complex ecological problems with the objective of developing a new science for sustainability. Improving the health of people and animals, and improving the health, integrity or sustainability of ecosystems are laudable and important objectives. Can we do both? No ecosystems are untouched by human activity, and it appears that the world's ecosystems are reaching the limits of their ability to adapt to human impacts. The book draws on fields as diverse as epidemiology and participatory action research, philosophy and environmental sciences to examine this vital issue.
Countless ants transport and deposit seeds and thereby influence the survival, death, and evolution of many plant species. In higher plants, seed dispersal by ants (myrmecochory) has appeared many times independently in different lineages. More than 3000 plant species are known to utilize ant assistance to be planted. Myrmecochory is a very interesting and rather enigmatic form of mutualistic ant-plant associations. This phenomenon is extremely complex, because there are hundreds of ant species connected with hundreds of plant species. This book effectively combines a thorough approach to investigating morphological and physiological adaptations of plants with elegant field experiments on the behaviour of ants. This monograph is a first attempt at collecting information about morphology, ecology and phenology of ants and plants from one ecosystem. The book gives readers a panoramic view of the hidden, poorly-known interrelations not only between pairs of ants and plant species, but also between species communities in the ecosystem. The authors have considered not just one aspect of animal-plant relationships, but have tried to show them in all their complexity. Some aspects of the ant-plant interactions described in the book may be of interest to botanists, others to zoologists or ecologists, but the entire work is an excellent example of the marriage of these biological disciplines.
Using a selection of authoritative and original contributions, this timely book explores the uncertainty surrounding the impacts of decisions undertaken to manage ecosystem services worldwide. Invariably, the policies designed and implemented to manage forests, wetlands, and marine and costal environments often involve conflicts of interest between various stakeholders. This has added an additional layer of complexity in the context of developing countries where institutions and governance are weak or absent. Economic valuation and the subsequent design of innovative response tools such as payment for ecosystem services (PES) have the potential to offer far greater transparency. In the case of LDCs, the identification of suitable institutions for executing these tools is also of vital importance. With a strong policy focus, the contributors synthesise the scientific approaches to PES, valuation, trade-offs, equity and the institutional requirements to operationalize a credible concept of economic value. The book also addresses the behavioral foundations of creating the incentive design and response policies for ecosystem management. This book will appeal to ecological economics researchers and postgraduate students of conservation and development. Conservation managers, decision makers and development practitioners will also find this resource both interesting and instrumental to their work.
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