Advertisement

Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 841–855 | Cite as

Maximizing biodiversity, information and sustainability

  • Charles W. Fowler
Original Paper

Abstract

Numerous global changes—notably anthropogenic extinction—force reconsideration of our management practices and the ways we regulate human influence in today’s world. Here, I define management to maximize biodiversity and illustrate the science that provides information to set goals for such management. Maximizing biodiversity simultaneously achieves sustainability and systemic health by avoiding the abnormal or pathological. The normal or sustainable are determined through the use of empirical integrative patterns to objectively account for the complexity of systems within which we find ourselves as a species. The science that reveals these integrative patterns provides measures of problems that can be solved by maximizing biodiversity—problems heretofore recognized only qualitatively. I use the Shannon-Weiner information index to test, and, with no surprise, reject the null hypothesis that there is no direct anthropogenic effect on biodiversity. The results of this science serve as examples of the kind of information most useful for guiding management and illustrate maximized biodiversity as a standard for management. Reference points based on maximized biodiversity are preferable to statistical parameters in meeting the objective of avoiding the abnormal or pathological in our interactions with other species, ecosystems and the biosphere. Management to maximize biodiversity is implemented by modifying human interactions with other biotic systems to achieve consistency in such interactions by mimicking natural role models of sustainability. Human influence is a significant factor in today’s world and the magnitude of such influence is illustrated by comparing humans with other species.

Keywords

Applied macroecology Biosphere restoration Complexity Emergence Footprint Macroecological patterns Systemic health Systemic management 

Notes

Acknowledgments

I thank Gary Duker, Jean Fowler, James Lee, Robert Montgomery, Sue Moore, Jay Ver Hoef and several anonymous individuals for reviews and constructive comments on previous versions of this paper.

References

  1. Ashford RW (2007) Disease as a stabilizing factor in the protection of landscape: the leishmaniases as models. EcoHealth 4:99–103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Backus RH, Bourne DW (1986) Georges Bank. MIT Press, BostonGoogle Scholar
  3. Belgrano A, Fowler CW (2008) Ecology for management: pattern-based policy. In: Munoz SI (ed) Ecology research progress. NOVA Science Publishers, Hauppauge, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  4. Boulter M (2002) Extinction, evolution and the end of man. Columbia University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  5. Brooks DR, Wiley EO (1988) Evolution as entropy: toward a unified theory of biology. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  6. Brown JH (1995) Macroecology. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  7. Camazine S (2001) Self-organization in biological systems. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  8. Chew RM (1965) Water metabolism of mammals. In: Mayer WV, Van Gelder RG (eds) Physiological mammalogy, vol 2. Academic Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  9. Christensen NL, Bartuska AM, Brown JH, et al (1996) The report of the Ecological Society of America Committee on the scientific basis for ecosystem management. Ecol Appl 6:665–691CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Colborn T, Dumanoski D, Myers JP (1997) Our stolen future: are we threatening our fertility, intelligence, and survival?: a scientific detective story. Penguin Group, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  11. Ehrlich PR, Ehrlich AH (1996) Betrayal of science and reason. Island Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  12. Encyclopædia Britannica (1977) Helen Hemingway Benton, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  13. Etnier MA, Fowler CW (2005) Comparison of size selectivity between marine mammals and commercial fisheries with recommendations for restructuring management policies. U.S. Dep. Commer., NOAA Technical Memorandum, NMFS-AFSC-159. U.S. Dep. Commer., Natl. Tech. Inf. Serv., SpringfieldGoogle Scholar
  14. Feely RA, Sabine CL et al (2004) Impact of anthropogenic CO2 on the CaCO3 system in the Oceans. Science 305:362–366PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fowler CW (1999) Management of multi-species fisheries: from overfishing to sustainability. ICES J Mar Sci 56:927–932CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fowler CW (2003) Tenets, principles, and criteria for management: the basis for systemic management. Mar Fish Rev 65:1–55Google Scholar
  17. Fowler CW (2005) Sustainability, health, and the human population. EcoHealth 2:58–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Fowler CW, Crawford R (2004) Systemic management of fisheries in space and time: tradeoffs, complexity, ecosystems, sustainability. Biosph Conserv 6:25–42Google Scholar
  19. Fowler CW, Hobbs L (2002) Limits to natural variation: implications for systemic management. Anim Biodivers Conserv 25:7–46Google Scholar
  20. Fowler CW, Hobbs L (2003) Is humanity sustainable? Proc Roy Soc Lond B 270:2579–2583CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Fowler CW, Perez MA (1999) Constructing species frequency distributions—A step toward systemic management. U.S. Dep. Commer., NOAA Tech Memo NMFS-AFSC-109. U.S. Dep. Commer., Natl. Tech. Inf. Serv., SpringfieldGoogle Scholar
  22. Fowler CW, Smith TD (2004) Preface to the 2004 printing. In: Fowler CW, Smith TD (eds) Dynamics of large mammal populations. Blackburn Press, CaldwellGoogle Scholar
  23. Fowler CW et al (1999) Sustainability: empirical examples and management implications. In: Ecosystem approaches for fisheries management. University of Alaska Sea Grant Program, AK-SG-99-01, FairbanksGoogle Scholar
  24. Grumbine RE (1997) Reflections on “What is Ecosystem Management?” Conserv Biol 11:41–47CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Heylighen F (2003) The science of self-organization and adaptivity. In: The encyclopedia of life support systems. Eloss Publshers, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  26. Hobbs L, Fowler CW (2008) Putting humans in ecology: consistency in science and Management. Ambio (in press)Google Scholar
  27. Hughes JB et al (1997) Population diversity: its extent and extinction. Science 278:689–692PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kowak RM (ed) (1991) Walker’s mammals of the world, 5th edn. Johns Hopkins University Press, BaltimoreGoogle Scholar
  29. Krebs CJ (1972) Ecology: the experimental analysis of distribution and abundance. Harper and Row, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  30. Lubchenco J et al (1991) The sustainable biosphere initiative: an ecological research agenda. Ecology 72:371–412CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Macdonald D (ed) (1984) The encyclopedia of mammals. Facts On File Inc., New YorkGoogle Scholar
  32. Mangel M et al (1996) Principles for the conservation of wild living resources. Ecol Apps 6:338–362CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005a) Ecosystems and human well-being: synthesis. Island Press, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  34. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005b) Ecosystems and human well-being: biodiversity synthesis. World Resources Institute, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  35. Nash J (1950) Non-cooperative games. Ph.D. Dissertation, Mathematics Department, Princeton University, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  36. National Research Council (1999) Sustaining marine fisheries. The National Academies Press, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  37. National Research Council (2004) Improving the use of “best scientific information available” standard in fisheries management. The National Academies Press, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  38. Nielsen SN (2000) Ecosystems as information systems. In: Jørgensen SE, Müller F (eds) Handbook of ecosystem theories and management. Lewis Publishers, Boca RatonGoogle Scholar
  39. Pauley D, Christensen V, Dalsgaard J, Froese R, Torres F Jr (1998) Fishing down marine food webs. Science 279:860–863CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Peters RH (1983) The ecological implications of body size. Cambridge University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  41. Pielou EC (1969) An introduction to mathematical ecology. John Wiley and Sons, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  42. Postel SL, Daily GD, Ehrlich PR (1996) Human appropriation of renewable fresh water. Science 271:785–788CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Ridgway SH, Harrison R (eds) (1981–1999) Handbook of marine mammals, vols 1–6. Academic Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  44. Silver CS, DeFries RS (eds) (1990) One earth, one future: our changing global environment. National Academy Press, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  45. Solé RV, Bascompte J (2006) Self-organization in complex ecosystems. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  46. Thompson JN (2005) The geographic mosaic of coevolution. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  47. Turner BL et al (1990) The earth as transformed by human action; global and regional changes in the biosphere over the past 300 years. Cambridge University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  48. Vitousek PM et al (1986) Human appropriation of the products of photosynthesis. Bioscience 36:368–373CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Vitousek PM et al (1997) Human domination of Earth’s ecosystems. Science 277:494–499CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Vörörsmarty CJ et al (2000) Global water resources: vulnerability from climate change and population growth. Science 289:284–288CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Wackernagel M, Rees W (1996) Our ecological footprint: reducing human impact on the Earth. New Society Publishers, Gabriola Island, BCGoogle Scholar
  52. Walters C (1986) Adaptive management of renewable resources. Macmillan, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  53. Walters C (1992) Perspectives on adaptive policy design in fisheries management. In: Jain SK, Botsford LW (eds) Applied population biology. Kluwer Academic, DordrechtGoogle Scholar
  54. Wilson EO (1985) The biological diversity crisis: a challenge to science. Issues Sci Technol 2:20–29Google Scholar
  55. Woodwell GM (ed) (1990) The earth in transition; patterns and processes of biotic impoverishment. Cambridge University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  56. World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2004 (2004) World almanac and book of facts, 2004. World Almanac Books, MahwehGoogle Scholar
  57. World Conservation Monitoring Centre (1992) Global biodiversity. Chapman and Hall, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  58. Wright DH (1990) Human impacts on energy flow through natural ecosystems, and implications for species endangerment. Ambio 19:189–194Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Marine Mammal LaboratoryAlaska Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries ServiceSeattleUSA

Personalised recommendations