chapter  2
21 Pages

Roles for Land and Resource Managers in Conserving Biological Diversity

WithHal Salwasser

Biodiversity is the variety of life and its processes. It includes all lifeforms from bacteria, fungi, and protozoa to higher plants, insects, fishes, birds, and mammals. Biodiversity also includes millions of races, subspecies, and local variants of species and the ecological processes and cycles that link organisms into populations, communities, ecosystems, and ultimately the entire biosphere. The best research and resource management will have minor lasting effects on biological diversity if social and political systems do not address the global "megathreats" of human population growth, poverty, pollution, and political instability. Conserving biological diversity while meeting people's needs for resources is not going to be easy. Goals for specific ecological conditions will have to compete effectively with goals for specific resources. Conservation of land and resources has come a long way on the path toward biodiversity. The foundation of biodiversity is genetic variation. Genetic variation affects a species' physical characteristics, productivity, resilience to stress, and long-term evolutionary potential.