chapter  4
21 Pages

Biodiversity Conservation, Economic Development, and Drug Discovery in Suriname

ByDavid G. I. Kingston, Maged Abdel-Kader, Bing-Nan Zhou, Shu-Wei Yang, John M. Berger, Hendrik van der Werff, Randall Evans, Russell Mittermeier, Stanley Malone, Lisa Famolare, Marianne Guerin-McManus, Jan H. Wisse, James S. Miller

The terrible irony is that as advances in biology expand our ability to use genetic diversity to combat these diseases, the raw material is being lost to extinction. Perhaps even more urgent than the losses of genetic and chemical diversity as sources of potential pharmaceutical and agricultural protection agents are the immediate repercussions of biodiversity loss in many developing countries where herbal remedies from diverse biota are a primary source of health care. Simultaneous with these biological losses to extinction are accelerating losses of traditional knowledge associated with the biota. This

knowledge of the identity and utility of specific organisms for medicinal and other uses has intrinsic value as part of our cultural patrimony, is currently important as a source of health care for many people, and may offer important leads for future treatments of numerous human ailments.