OOPS! - we lost count...

Peter Rauch anamaria at GARNET.BERKELEY.EDU
Wed Jan 27 10:15:25 CST 1993


Jim, You said:
> "ps. people with money and influence keep asking this question and it
>  is embarrasing not to have a good answer..."

So, let's educate them to ask better questions, instead of fueling this
sinkhole.

Or, to put it another way, why is it very important to have "good"
estimates of numbers of species? Having the answer(s) to that question,
do we (those who could guesstimate the numbers) think these answers
are worth getting the numbers for (compared to many other, possibly more
interesting, pursuits)?

So far, the only "reason" given (your posting) is the implication that
we can win money and influence, and avoid embarrassment. Maybe we shouldn't
be seeking money for the kinds of projects for which knowing how many species
there might be in the world is important.

OK. So for example, one might say "if we guesstimate how many species there
are, then we will know how many species we still have to collect and learn
about, and thus will know the magnitude of the grant funds we'll need to
request." Perhaps. On the other hand, if instead (assuming there is limited
funding available --should we assume this?) we as for funds to save what
*is* already known, we'll probably also save much of what isn't known too,
because they'll be living in the same regions. And, by taking action to
save something, rather than collect examples of it, there will be plenty
of time to collect the examples anyway. So, we don't have to know how
many species are out there --all we have to do is save environments (first).
Well, sort of ....

Peter




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