chapter  1
6 Pages

Introduction: Ricardo Bayon, Nathaniel Carroll and Jessica Fox

Species go extinct practically every day and we lose yet another ecosystem to human development. The problem is not new, it has been going on since time immemorial: humans and wildlife have always competed for food, resources and land. Some forms of biodiversity are seen as valuable; others as expendable. The valuable plants and animals have usually been those that provided us with food, shelter, clothing and other such useful products. The rest don’t even make it onto our balance sheets. Of course, we have enjoyed wildlife protected in parks – and have recognized that some small species are important for cultural and spiritual reasons. But, for the most part, we have not seen the value in many aspects of biodiversity, and this means that in a head-on collision between biodiversity and a golf course (or some other form of human use), the golf course will win. Rainforests recede in favour of palm oil plantations, mangroves make way for shrimp farms and wetlands wind up losing to Wal-Marts.