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Lecture 3

BIOC63Fall2013 Lecture 3 Notes.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Biological Sciences
Karen Williams

BIOC63Fall2013 Lecture 3 Notes: Value of Biodiversity Intrinsic or inherent value o Independent of value to anyone or anything o Philosophical concept  who are we to destroy a species? o Right to exist in itself o Biocentric or ecocentric perspective o Picture of lichens growing on tree bark  they don’t really do much (don’t serve as good, don’t help the tree, don’t harm the tree)  they are just there but that doesn’t make them not important Religious biophilia o Humans have no right to destroy biodiversity o Protection of species/nature justified in many religions o If God (or other diety or process) created natural world, creatures are sacred and have intrinsic value Religion-based conservation ethics o o Judeo-Christian world-view God conferred intrinsic value on every living creature by pronouncing creation to be ‘goog’ (Genesis) o i.e. we should not e destroying what God values as good o Islamic worldview  Allah calls for man’s stewardship to provide a just distribution of natural resources across generations o i.e. we should be using creatures in such a way that future generations cal also use them and enjoy them the same way (sustainability) o Hinduist worldview  all beings are a manifestation of the one essential Being (Brahman) so human beings are to identify with and respect other life forms o Buddhist worldview  other organisms = companions on path to enlightement (Nirvana), explicit ethic of non-injury of an kindness to all beings Usefulness of intrinsic value for conservation o Most fundamental o Key to many motivations for conservation o Operationally often based on religion o Often ineffective in policy debates with diverse stakeholders o Intrinsic value should be the most important reason as to why we shouldn’t be destroying the wolrd, but we often need other reasons than just that Extrinsic value  we add value and we define why species are important Value is dependent on circumstances o When I am hungry, a date palm = food, when I am full, tree = beauty o Both extrinsic values depends on the person and on the circumstance I. Direct-use value: goods o Food, medicine, oils and chemicals (waxes) – industrial products, fibres and paper products, building materials, fuel 1. Food 1 o o people consume mostly corn, wheat, rice and potao and soy bean (excluding sugar cane and sugar beet) Diversity in food plants and wild relatives o 1970ies: virus ‘grassy stunt’ = threat to Asia’s rice production (miracle rice), expected to destroy 30-40% of crop o search for immunity conveying gene from some species of wild rice relative o screen of 6700 wild samples  one wild species was effective (from India) o the part in India where this rice was found is under a dam and is now all lost o so wild relatives of our cultivated plants are still importat source of genes of our domesticated plants and could one day save us from world wide famine like this rice incident Decreasing diversity in food plants o because agriculture is industrialized, we only use a small variety of domesticated plants o this is a threat to our safety as a human population o o disasters never stop though… o 2 2. Building materials o
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