13 - Enhancing biodiversity and humanity  pp. 295-310

Enhancing biodiversity and humanity

By Susanne Stoll-kleemann and Tim O'Riordan

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On biodiversity and humanity

This volume has covered aspects of the state of biodiversity, the threats and the possible solutions, many of which give hope and offer much promise. In poverty-stricken and war-torn lands the fabric of people, species and habitats is being repaired, often at the micro-scale. Where there is a real bond between biota, people and economic opportunity, there can be enriched biodiversity. The following list from Jeff McNeeley (1995: 5) shows that there are many good reasons for protecting beyond the protected:

  • maintaining the essential ecological processes that depend on natural ecosystems, and which provide real economic services;
  • preserving the diversity of species and the genetic variation between them;
  • ensuring the productive capacities of ecosystems as a central element of future economies;
  • preserving historical and cultural features of importance to the traditional lifestyles and well-being of local peoples so that they remain at peace and strengthen their collective esteem;
  • safeguarding habitats that are critical for the sustainable use of species for a variety of moral, utilitarian and spiritual purposes;
  • securing landscapes and wildlife that enrich human experience through their beauty;
  • providing opportunities for community development, scientific research, education, training, recreation, tourism and mitigation of the forces of natural hazards;
  • serving as sources of national pride and human inspiration;
  • providing the basis for genetic safeguard and evolution, for pharmaceuticals and for forest evolution.

All of these opportunities and values are well known nowadays. They appear in many text books, consultants reports and national strategies.