Biological Diversity, Ecology, and Global Climate Change

Peter R. Jutro
1991 Environmental Health Perspectives  
Worldwide climate change and loss of biodiversity are issues ofglobal scope and importance that have recently become subjects ofconiderable public coerm. UnHlke clialpublic healthimues and manyenvironmentl ues, their perceived threat lies in their potential to disrupt ecolgical functioning and stability rather than from any direct threat they may pose to human health. Over the last 5 years, the international scientific community and the general public have become aware ofthe implications that
more » ... implications that atmospheric warming might have for world climate patterns and the resulting changes in the persistence, locon, andcompostionof ecst wodwide. Atthe sametime, awa henessite-tude ofcurrent and impending losses of the world's biological diversity has increased. Human activites are currently responsible for a species loss rate that is the most extreme in millons of years, and an alarmingly increasing rate of transfonntion and fragmentation ofnatural landscapes. We ar just beinning tograsp the meaning ofthis loss in terms ofopportunity costs to human society and the less quantifiable losses associated with simplification ofnatural ecosystems. In the case ofboth global warming and reduction of biological diversity, man is affecting nature in an unprecedented fashion, on a global scale, and with unpredictable and frequently irreversible results.
doi:10.2307/3431226 fatcat:ad7rriyf2zbqnanty23zdixhrq