Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Who is Conservation For?

Interesting article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, following up an important theme in conservation discussions (see my earlier post of Peter Kareiva here).  What gives value to the natural world?  Some intrinsic worth? Or the sum of the "services" it provides for humanity?  The Chronicle article personalizes this in terms of the contrasting careers and goals of two scientists, Gretchen Daily and Michael Soule.  It begins:

Once, Gretchen Daily only had eyes for the rain forest.
Eighteen years ago, as a young scientist on the rise, Daily arrived at a renowned research station in the hills of Costa Rica armed with nearly 100 shellacked plywood platforms. As a student at Stanford University, studying under the famed biologist Paul Ehrlich, she had seen how large birds, defying expectations, seemed to thrive on small bits of forest spackled in the area's coffee plantations, when theory predicted their demise. On her return, she planned to spread her feeding platforms in staggered densities to test that observation; local kids promised to monitor the mesitas.
But when the morning came, so did the bees.
Read the rest of the article here.

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