Species to planet-wide Conservation

Peter Rauch anamaria at GRINNELL.BERKELEY.EDU
Tue Jan 12 08:51:56 CST 1999


On Tue, 12 Jan 1999, Paul Williams wrote:
> I agree with John Shuey that 'it all has value', and many different kinds
> of value to different people.

I think you're both right --many of us (most?) think "it all has value",
and that the "value" is itself very complex (of many different kinds to
different folks).

> Much of the discussion seems to stem from two different outlooks on
> diversity: those who see ecosystems, and those who see organisms.

Again, this simplified dichotomy rears its head...

> One of the issues that appears to separate the two approaches described is
> the units used as surrogates for biodiversity value.

That's the thought I've been looking for-- "Surrogates!" Thanks, Paul.

What's been bothering me about these dichotomies (extremes) is that much
of what is talked about as "species approach" or "species focus" is
really about surrogate representatives of biodiversity, and not simply
about "saving this or that species". So, maybe the discussion could
focus more on whether or not the process of identifying, selecting, and
using certain kinds (individual species, cohorts of species, etc) of
surrogates is more or less robust than other kinds of surrogates.
Identifying a "single species" as the sole target of protection seems to
be more often a mis-reading of the intention which that species
represents --a surrogate for a much larger assemblage of diversity.
Granted, this single species may not provide the robustness of a more
wide-reaching set of identification criteria, but isn't that to be
examined in the individual cases? Some species make fine (economical,
efficient, practical, useful) "miner's canaries" (and not just fine
pets in isolation), for example.

 Peter




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