chapter  2
Disturbance ecology and symbiosis in mine-reclamation design
ByPeter Del Tredici
Pages 13

Nature is a process, not a product, and its primary driver is the Darwinian principle of natural selection, which is succinctly described as the survival of the fittest. There is no morality in this evolutionary process, only the reality of which individuals live and which ones die. Over the past two hundred years, human activities associated with industrialization have brought about changes in the global environment that are unprecedented in both scale and magnitude. This disruption of natural ecosystems has led to the breakup of long-established biological associations among organisms that were once native to an area and the creation of new niches that are open to a cosmopolitan array of non-native species. In the context of these changes, natural selection dictates greater reproductive success and ecological dominance for those species that are best adapted to the new environmental conditions, regardless of their past evolutionary or ecological history (Gould 1998: 2-10).