The stock of the world's biological diversity and the state of its ecosystems are major determinants of the availability of commodities, both essential and desirable, for human life. This leading-edge study provides an overarching and balanced approach to the economics of biological conservation; considering man made and natural components, and their interdependence. Recognising the deficiencies of many contemporary studies, which focus almost entirely on natural capital, Clement Tisdell utilizes the concept of heritage biological capital, including germplasm, as part of his analysis of changes in the stock of biological capital. This comprehensive synthesis casts doubt upon some propositions and policies for resource conservation recommended by eminent ecologists in areas such as GM crops and livestock husbandry as well as agroecosystems and the concept of sustainable agricultural intensification. The propositions presented are lent strength by the author's decision to relate his analysis to pertinent contemporary institutional developments and scientific advances. The broad scope and rational scepticism with which this book has been compiled make it an ideal read for economists interested in ecological and environmental economics, natural scientists with an interest in biodiversity conservation and higher level policy makers in ecological and environmental fields.
An interdisciplinary research unit consisting of 30 teams in the natural, economic and social sciences analyzed biodiversity and ecosystem services of a mountain rainforest ecosystem in the hotspot of the tropical Andes, with special reference to past, current and future environmental changes. The group assessed ecosystem services using data from ecological field and scenario-driven model experiments, and with the help of comparative field surveys of the natural forest and its anthropogenic replacement system for agriculture.
The book offers insights into the impacts of environmental change on various service categories mentioned in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005): cultural, regulating, supporting and provisioning ecosystem services. Examples focus on biodiversity of plants and animals including trophic networks, and abiotic/biotic parameters such as soils, regional climate, water, nutrient and sediment cycles. The types of threats considered include land use and climate changes, as well as atmospheric fertilization. In terms of regulating and provisioning services, the emphasis is primarily on water regulation and supply as well as climate regulation and carbon sequestration. With regard to provisioning services, the synthesis of the book provides science-based recommendations for a sustainable land use portfolio including several options such as forestry, pasture management and the practices of indigenous peoples. In closing, the authors show how they integrated the local society by pursuing capacity building in compliance with the CBD-ABS (Convention on Biological Diversity - Access and Benefit Sharing), in the form of education and knowledge transfer for application.
During the last 10 years, there has been a 'revolution' in ecosystem modelling. The generality and predictive power of our models have increased in a way that was inconceivable 10 years ago. This book describes a new generation of practically useful models that predict as well as one can measure - if one measures well. And yet, they are driven by readily available driving variables and have a general structure that applies to most types of pollutants in aquatic systems. The major reason for this development is, in fact, the Chernobyl accident. Large quantities of radiocesium were released in April/May 1986 as a pulse. To follow the pulse of radiocesium through ecosystem pathways has meant that important fluxes and mechanisms, i.e., ecosystem structures, have been revealed. It is important to stress that many of these new structures and equations are valid not just for radiocesium, but for most types of contaminants, e.g. for metals, nutrients and organics. This means that the models, methods (of building and testing models) and equations described in this book for lakes and coastal areas should be of great interest also to other ecosystem modellers. This book will be of considerable interest to: students in radioecology, geosciences and biology; environmental engineers; consultants; administrators and scientists interested in the spread, biouptake and ecosystem effects of chemical pollutants in aquatic ecosystems.
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