Volume 85, Number 3, July 2004
Photo: Temperate deciduous forests of the northeastern United States are believed
to be undergoing a shift from mixed-oak (Quercus sp.) to red maple (Acer
rubrum) domination. As temporary ponds are common in the forests of the
Northeast, and rely upon inputs of leaf litter as the primary source of energy
for their food webs, this system may be susceptible to changes in the composition
of the forest. The larger wood frog (Rana sylvatica) in the picture spent
its larval period in a mesocosm with oak leaves as the primary energy input,
while the wood frog on the right developed in a mesocosm with red maple leaves
as the primary energy input. These results suggest that litter composition can
impact consumer performance by altering the processing of energy in this system.
Therefore, subtle compositional shifts in the forest have the potential
to influence species populations and the communities that rely upon leaf-litter
inputs as a primary source of energy. The photograph, by J. M. Kiesecker, taken
in central Pennsylvania, is from the paper, Leaf-litter composition and
community structure: translating regional species changes into local dynamics,
by M. J. Rubbo and J. M. Kiesecker, to be published in the September 2004 issue
of Ecology 85(9).
Back to Main Bulletin Page
Table of Contents (click on a title to view that section)
Society Notices Updated August 18, 2004
Candidates for ESA Offices 2005
SEEDS News of Note
Resolution of Respect: Stanley I. Auerbach
Society Section and Chapter News
Applied Ecology Section Newsletter
Southeastern Chapter Newsletter
Urban Habitats Electronic Journal Launched
2004 Wildlife Population Assessment Training Workshops
Forest Biodiversity: Lessons from History for Conservation
Biobased Products: the Sustainability Solution
A New Means of Presenting the Results of Logistic Regression. J. Smart, W. J. Sutherland, A. R. Watkinson, and J. A. Gill
WinSSS: Stochastic Spatial Simulator. Y. Guan and S. M. Krone
Homebrew Camera Traps. D. Inouye
Plant Invasions and Vegetation Succession: Closing the Gap. P. Pyek, M. A. Davis, C. C. Daehler, and K. Thompson
A History of the Ecological Sciences, Part 13: Broadening Science in Italy and England, 1600 1650. F. E. Egerton
Natures Surprises. B. Zeide
Instructions for Contributors
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for ESA Offices 2005
The ESA Nominations Committee (Chair Ann Bartuska, Jim Ehleringer, Ed Johnson, Jianguo Liu, Margaret Palmer, Osvaldo Sala, Monica Turner) has submitted the following slate of nominees for ESA offices for 2005. Additional nominations may be made in writing by 25 members eligible to hold office in the Society. They should be forwarded to reach the Secretary (David Inouye) no later than 1 September 2004.
Vice President for Public Affairs (three-year term, 20052008)
Vice President for Finance (three-year term, 20052008)
Member-at-Large (two-year term, 20052006)
Board of Professional Certification (two to be elected, three calendar year term, 1 January 200531 December 2007)
Kevin L. Erwin
Geoffrey M. Henebry
Rebecca R. Sharitz
SEEDS News of Note
The SEEDS program is pleased to announce the six recipients
of the 20042005 SEEDS Undergraduate Research Fellowship: Stevland Charles,
Howard University; Ricardo Colón, University of Puerto Rico; Julie
James, Haskell Indian Nations University; Bruce Machona, Wiley College; Thalia
Tooke, University of Kansas; Lucero Vasquez-Radonic, University of Texas,
El Paso. The six selected students display great promise in successfully
pursuing a career in the profession of ecology, and the SEEDS Fellowship will
be an excellent opportunity to help these students fulfill their goals.
The SEEDS Advisory Board met in late February to provide input
into the next funding proposal to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. A proposal
was submitted in early April for the second phase of funding for the next
The SEEDS Program is also busy planning a student field trip to the University of Calgary Kananaskis Field Stations, and coordinating student and faculty travel awards to the 2004 ESA Annual Meeting. Twenty-three students from across the country were selected to participate in the June 2004 field trip. The field trip, which will feature the research of the Kananaskis Field Stations, will focus on the theme determining global change in wildland ecosystems. ESA members Ed Johnson and Mike Mappin are coordinating the field trip along with ESA Education staff. A selection committee is reviewing ESA Annual Meeting travel award applications, and recipients will be announced at the end of April.
Back to Table of Contents
Stanley I. Auerbach
Dr. Stanley Irving Auerbach, 82, died Saturday, 1 May
2004 in Nashville, Tennessee, following an extended illness. He was
a scientist, research administrator, educator, and professional leader.
Most of all he was devoted to his wife of 50 years and their four children.
He was a mentor and colleague to many at Oak Ridge National Laboratory
(ORNL) and across the country. Stan Auerbach, a founder of the science
of radioecology and always a champion of modern ecological science,
was one of those pioneers from the post-WW II era to whom we owe a great
deal for the legacy that they created.
Stan grew up in Chicago, Illinois, where his parents had a movie theater in which he worked part-time. In 1942, he enlisted in the U.S. Army to serve in World War II as a second lieutenant until 1944. In 1946 he earned a bachelors degree in zoology, and in 1947 a masters degree in zoology from the University of Illinois. His MS studies were carried out under the tutelage of world-famous ecologist Victor E. Shelford. Stan earned his doctorate in 1949 at Northwestern University, specializing in invertebrate ecology under Orlando Park. With this superb academic training, Stan began his career teaching zoology and ecology at Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois, and was also active in the Chicago Academy of Sciences.
The story of how Stan came to Oak Ridge National Laboratory is humorous. Sometime in late 1954 (the Cold War was raging) he got a call from his major professor, who asked if they might have a meeting. Orlando picked him up in his car
and they drove for a long time through Chicago with little
conversation. Finally, they arrived at a large, deserted parking lot
in an industrial area. Orlando looked all around and said in a hushed
voice, Stanley, I have something to talk with you about that is
of the utmost secrecy. It turned out that Orlando, a renowned
Sherlock Holmes aficionado who enjoyed intrigue, had been serving as
a consultant to ORNLs Health Physics Division. Thus Stanley learned
for the first time about Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Atomic Energy
Commission (AEC), and found out that Orlando had recommended him as
ORNLs first full-time ecologist.
This was the early 1950s, and the Laboratory was becoming more sensitive to its waste management and waste disposal practices. It was discovered that liquid and solid waste disposal to trenches for soil retention had serious deficiencies; radioactivity was appearing in surface waters and was being taken up by surrounding trees. More intensive study was necessary. Several years earlier, while at Northwestern University pursuing advanced study, Ed Struxness, himself a pioneer in the area of health physics, had by chance taken an ecology course (this was then a relatively new field in academia) offered by Orlando Park. So Struxness naturally turned to Professor Park for a recommendation, and Stan Auerbachs life was forever changed.
Auerbach arrived in Oak Ridge at the end of 1954. He immediately
set about conducting laboratory radiation experiments and laboratory
studies of the biological uptake of strontium. By the
summer of 1955 a team of 10 researchers was assembled by Auerbach, consisting mostly of visiting scientists, consultants, and students. Park visited other national laboratories and found that they were experiencing similar environmental problems. Stan solicited the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) to research the environmental fate and effects of radionuclides. Auerbach and Park got the Ecological Society of America to raise awareness in the scientific community, and ESA created the Radiation Ecology study section. (Stan would eventually become ESA Secretary from 1965 to 1970 and President in 19711972.) As a result, the AEC established the Division of Biology and Medicine in 1955 and set up a national ecology program in Washington, D.C., under the direction of John Wolfe, an ecologist from Ohio State University.
Stan leaves behind not a body of ecological knowledge for which he is primarily responsible, nor is there a legacy of graduate students whocarry on this line of research. Rather his legacy lies in his influence on government programs, such as radioecology in the Atomic Energy Commission, or the Biome Programs that presaged ecosystem studies supported by the NSF. Stans career epitomizes the conundrum, does man make history or does history make the man? This remains unanswered, but what we can say is that Stan took the right courses of action when presented with the events of his time.
Two significant events shifted Stans career and his eventual ecological legacy in the mid-1950s. In early 1956, John Wolfe made his first visit to Oak Ridge, and as a consequence emphasis was placed on field-oriented research in contrast to laboratory studies. In the same year, Auerbach was able to add a second full-time ecology position and redirected the research program to the waste disposal sites and the contaminated sediments of the drained White Oak Lake bed. Thus began many decades of pioneering research at ORNL. By the end of 1959, the Radiation Ecology Section was created and Auerbach, as its Chief, had assembled his initial team of early Oak Ridgers: Dan Nelson, Jerry Olson, Paul Dunaway, D. A. Crossley, John Witherspoon, Don Jacobs, and Gordon Blaylock, among others, with Gene Odum as a consultant. The scientific field of radioecology had emerged. Large-scale field studies of ecological systems were the focus.
This post-Sputnik period of the late 1950s was characterized by dynamic planning at the Laboratory, and these young ecologists were encouraged to actively participate. ORNL was and is first and foremost a physical sciences laboratory. That ecology gained a foothold in this scientific environment is testimony to Stans doggedness. Because of the complex pathways for movement of radionuclides in the environment, ecologists were forced early on to think in terms of environmental systems.
Staff continued research on radionuclide uptake by the vegetation and radiation effects on native mammal populations on the White Oak Lake bed, and colleagues in the Waste Disposal Section of the Health Physics Division were completing one of the first studies of the transport of low-level radionuclide discharges to the Clinch River. (A companion study was underway at Hanford on the Columbia River.) In 1964 the ecologists were conducting the first experimental tagging of a natural ecosystemthe Cesium-137 forest. In 1967, Walker Branch Watershed was established to study natural biogeochemical cycles, and Walker Branch continues to serve as an ecological research platform today.
Under Stans visionary leadership, his growing cadre of young ecologists gained recognition internationally as the leading center of the emerging area of ecosystem research and systems ecology. Stan had recruited Jerry Olson, who used a Ford Foundation grant to train students at the University of Tennessee in systems ecology. Stan also recruited Bernie Patten, a University of Georgia professor, the late George Van Dyne (later to become director of the Grasslands IBP Site at Fort Collins), and later Bob ONeill, to form the nucleus of his systems ecology group. In 1968, the
|National Science Foundation selected Auerbach
to direct its pioneering, multi-university/laboratory research program
on forest ecosystems and aquatic ecosystems of the Eastern Deciduous Forests.
This multi-biome effort was the largest and most complex interdisciplinary
ecological research program ever attempted up to that time. The new NSF
research program was part of the International Biological Programme (IBP),
and it brought ORNL to the center of ecological research, as well as bringing
ecology into the realm of big-scale, multi-institutional and multidisciplinary
science. IBPs important legacy was a new Ecosystem Studies Program
at the National Science Foundation. Ecosystem analyses and simulation
modeling of ecological processes at ORNL moved to the cutting edge of
ecological research. Stan pressed interactions with university colleaguesa
move that at the time was new to national laboratories, which had lived
behind security fences in the Cold War era. The Environmental Sciences
Divisions program of university collaborations expanded dramatically
to become a model for the Laboratory. By 1969 Stan was working with The
University of Tennessee to establish the Graduate Program in Ecology,
now the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.
Creation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in 1969 changed the course of environmental research in Auerbachs program forever. The AEC directed that all aquatic research staff drop their research and immediately support the AEC in the preparation of environmental impact statements. To many directors, this directive would have elicited (and did) angst and a woe is me attitude, because their carefully honed scientific agenda had to be changed. Not Stan. He saw this as an opportunity to bring the still largely descriptive field of ecology to bear on an immediate societal issue. Additional scientists were hired to meet these demands, including Steve Hildebrand, who now occupies Stans former position. For many, it was their first employment after graduate school. In later years, when they were able to return to research, their perspectives on environmental issues were changed, as were those of their colleagues. Ecology at ORNL now became acclaimed not only for the quality and innovation of the basic research, but also for the relevance of its application to real-world problems. The first evidence of this was the creation of the ORNL thermal effects research program on aquatic biota and ecosystems, led by Chuck Coutant.
About this time, Stanley began a remarkable personal
transformation in leadership style, a transformation which
few pioneers in science have made successfully. From the very hard-driving,
authoritative, and centric leader, he became open, inclusive, and sharing
of decisions with his subordinates. He championed workplace diversity
long before it was recognized as important. He was training the next
generation of leadership, but he still retained his dogged leadership
style. His protegees occupy and have occupied important academic and
governmental leadership positions across the country as well as at ORNL.
Dave Reichle remembers the atmosphere in the research group. In the early years, Stan, who had a knack for hiring bright and creative people, was also inheriting their individualism and rebellious attitudes to authority. Stan once remarked in response to Daves frustrations with bureaucracy and personnel issues, Dave, if it werent for these problems, we would not have jobs. It was like herding cats, in a laboratory environment that was serious about the one and only right way to get things done. Staff got him into trouble more than a few times, but like responding to an Army drill sergeant, they knew who the boss wasthey complained a lot, but they congealed as a team.
The internationally renowned ecology program under Stans
leadership grew rapidly. In March 1970, the Laboratory established the
new Ecological Sciences Division, and very shortly thereafter, in 1972,
it evolved into the Environmental Sciences Division. In 1973, the AEC
became the Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA). By
the middle of the decade, the Division had a staff of 127. Eight years
later the Department of Energy was established, and Assistant Secretary
for the Environment Ruth Clusen dedicated the Oak Ridge National Environmental
Research Park on 2 October 1980.
Formation of ERDA and the experience of the NSF programs provided Stan with yet another opportunity to extend the scope of environmental research at ORNL. Radionuclides were no longer to be defined as the only environmental pollutants. Natural biogeochemical cycles were seen as the basis of ecosystem functioning. A new ERDA Synfuels program introduced organic toxicants. The Environmental Sciences Division also brought a new style of research to ORNL. Instead of secret research inside the security fences, ORNL ecologists were moving across the country analyzing the function of different ecosystems, as the nation recognized that
varying geographic scales were a critical part of environmental
problems. By the time the Department of Energy was created, Stan had
positioned the Environmental Sciences Division as one of the leading
research centers for studying hazardous wastes, the ecological effects
of global change, and renewable energy. New scientific fields were pioneered
by the new staff recruited to Oak Ridge in answer to Stans vision
and determination to keep ecological sciences at the forefront; these
included landscape ecology (notably including Bob ONeill and later
Virginia Dale) and ecological risk analysis (with Glenn Suter and Larry
Dave Reichle, Stans mentoree, who remained his close friend, remembers what it was like to work for Stan. You always knew where you stood with Stan. Clarity in communication was not one of his weaknesses. Stan was a visionary and a builder. Stan would never ask you to do something that he wouldnt be willing to do himself, nor would he work less hard than you. Stan did not constrain initiative, and he helped you to learn your limits. He prized good science. He always supported his staff, gave credit to others and celebrated their accomplishments, but he expected you to remember who was the boss.
|At Stans retirement, in 1986, he was recognized by scientists around the world. Over the course of his career he received many awards and recognitions of his service to science, federal agencies, and other organizations, including the Distinguished Service Awards from both the Department of Energy and the Ecological Society of America. Stan left behind a tremendous legacy of science, a premier research organization then consisting of over 225 staff, and a cadre of future leaders at ORNL. Most significantly, he retained the respect and affection of colleagues. The Environmental Sciences Division at ORNL and large-scale ecological research around the world remain today as a strong tribute to Stan Auerbach.|| Stan and his wife, Dawn, moved to Nashville
in 1993 to be close to their two daughters, Allison and Ann. Their son
Andrew and family live in Wichita, Kansas, and their son Jonathan in Colorado.
But Stans heart has always remained in Oak Ridge, with his friends
and his legacy of science at ORNL. He missed Oak Ridge and the fields
and forests of the Ridge and Valley Province very much, and we who knew
and worked with him and for him will miss him even more.
David E. Reichle
Oak Ridge, TN
W. Franklin Harris
University of Tennessee
Greetings! The Applied Ecology, Agroecology, Rangeland
Ecology, and Soil Ecology Sections are once again planning a joint mixer
for the ESA 2004 meeting in Portland, Oregon. The mixer will be held
on Wednesday, 4 August, from 6:30 to 8:00 pm, at the Oregon Convention
Center, Portland Ballroom 251. The Applied Section will hold a business
meeting toward the end of the mixer to discuss the 2004 election results.
Special thanks to Deborah Ulinski Potter for serving as Chair of the
Nominating Committee and for preparing the ballot for this years
election. I also thank the 20022004 officers, Jon Keeley, Vice
Chair, and Dan Binkley, Secretary, for their service to the Section.
I have enjoyed my tenure as Chair, and I thank the members of the Section
for giving me the opportunity to serve.
The Applied Ecology Section has selected Justin Touchon, a Ph.D student in the Department of Biology at Boston University, to receive a $750 Student Travel Award to attend the 89th ESA Annual Meeting this summer. He will be presenting his research on the interactions of biotic and abiotic risks affecting eggs and larvae of the neotropical tree frog Hyla ebraccata in the symposium, Ecological Implications of Phenotypic Plasticity. Congratulations Justin!
This year we are also sponsoring the symposium Ecological
Implications of Fuel Reduction Treatments to Reduce Fire Hazards in
Forested Landscapes. The symposium will be held Thursday, 5 August,
1:30-5:00 pm, in Oregon Ballroom 204 of the Oregon Convention Center.
Many forests today are denser, contain fewer large trees,
and have higher fuel loads and greater fuel continuity, increasing the
probability of unnaturally severe wildfires. Until recently, little
data that would allow managers to evaluate the ecological comparability
of different fuel reduction treatments had been collected. This symposium
brings together researchers affiliated with several large multidisciplinary
fuel reduction and stand structure manipulation experiments nationwide.
Speakers will present findings from different study disciplines to provide
the best current understanding of the ecosystem-level impacts that fuel
reduction treatments are likely to have.
Hope to see you in Portland!
Paulette Ford, Chair
Rocky Mountain Research Station
333 Broadway SE, Suite 115
Albuquerque, NM 87102-3497 USA
Fax: (505) 766-1046
Welcome to New Officers
|We elected two new officers for the 20042006 term. Congratulations to James Luken, who was elected chair, and will replace Paul in August, and to Nicole Turrill Welch, who was elected Secretary/Treasurer.|
Spring 2004 Chapter Meeting in Memphis
The minutes of our business meeting and luncheon, held at the meeting of the Association of Southeastern Biologists (ASB) in Memphis, are posted on our web site. The ESA Southeastern Chapter cohosted a symposium, Invasive Plant Awareness and Research: Priority Status, coordinated by Pat Parr and Jack Ranney.
2004 Odum Award
We presented the 2004 Eugene P. Odum award to two student recipients: Nicole M. Hughes of Appalachian State University for her paper, Functional role of anthocyanins in high light winter leaves of the evergreen herb, Galax urceolata, coauthored with Howard S. Neufeld, and Christopher Winne of Savannah River Ecology Laboratory for his paper Daily activity patterns of whiptail lizards (Squamata: Teiidae: Aspidoscelis): a proximate response to environmental conditions or an endogenous rhythm? coauthored with Michael Keck.
Membership Renewal and Award Support
Please remember to renew your membership in the Southeastern
Chapter when you renew your ESA membership. Your donations to the Eugene
P. Odum Fund support the best student paper award and those to the Quarterman-Keever
Fund support the best poster award. Thanks to your donations, and two
generous contributions by Bill Martin and Joe Winstead at the business
meeting, we have reached our goal of $10,000 for the Odum Fund. Brooks-Cole
Publishers has also expressed interest in contributing to the fund.
We voted on and passed a proposed bylaws amendment to establish the Quarterman-Keever Award for the best student poster at our April 2004 meeting. Apparently, the growth of the new fund will need to be quite rapid in order for ESA to maintain it. A new committee was formed to oversee the Quarterman-Keever Award consisting of Howie Neufield (chair), Andy Ash, and Cliff Hupp.
Upcoming Meetings and Symposia
2004 Meeting: The Annual Meeting of ESA will be in Portland,
Oregon on 16 August. The Chapter will have a brown bag lunch meeting
on Tuesday, 3 August.
Meeting: ASB will meet on 1316 April 2005 in northern Alabama.
Proposals for symposia at this meeting will be due in early September
2004. The ASB standing committees request members for a list of committees.
Please see Claudia Jolls if you are interested.
Meeting: ESA will meet with INTECOL in Montreal, Canada on 712
August 2005. Proposals for symposia at this meeting will also be due
in early September 2004.
SEAFWA 2004: The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources invites you to the 58th Annual Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Conference, Hilton Head, South Carolina, 30 October3 November 2004. www.dnr.state.sc.us/seafwa
Keeping in Touch
Check the Chapter home page: http://www.auburn.edu/seesa/ for updates and additional information. Join the Southeastern Chapter of ESA ListServer: to join the ListServer, send a message to email@example.com with subscribe scesa in the body of the message. Please send news or announcements to firstname.lastname@example.org for distribution to the listserv, or to email@example.com for inclusion in the next quarterly newsletter.
Electronic Journal Launched
The premier issue of Urban Habitats, a new electronic journal
that focuses on current research on the biology of urban areas,
is now available online. Papers cover a range of related subject
areas, including urban botany, conservation biology, wildlife and
vegetation management in urban areas, urban ecology, restoration
of urban habitats, landscape ecology and urban design, urban soils,
bioplanning in metropolitan regions, and the natural history of
cities around the world. Urban Habitats is a peer-reviewed,
fully indexed, scientific journal, written and edited for a wide
audience of researchers, restoration ecologists, park and preserve
managers, government officials, and naturalists.
Dr. Steven Clemants, vice president for Science, Brooklyn Botanic
Garden, and codirector of the Center for Urban Restoration Ecology,
is a coeditor. Urban areas are often overlooked as important
habitats for plants and wildlife. We feel there is a global need
to increase awareness and interest in urban habitats. To make this
knowledge available to science professionals, educators, policymakers,
and the general public, we have taken advantage of our long experience
in publishing and the incredible opportunities for dissemination
globally via the Web to launch Urban Habitats, Clemants
says. The journal is published by the Center for Urban
Restoration Ecology, a collaboration between Rutgers University and Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
We are particularly interested in featuring papers that take
advantage of the unique possibilities of the e-journal format, such
as color illustrations, animated models, video, sound, downloadable
databases, and interactive discussions, Dr. Clemants explains.
Articles are welcomed from scientists, scholars, and practitioners
in urban habitat restoration, conservation biology, urban botany,
landscape architecture and design, and other fields related to urban
Janet Marinelli, coeditor of Urban Habitats, Director of
Publishing for the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and member of the steering
committee for the Center for Urban Restoration Ecology, says of
the new publication, Were publishing studies covering
cities from Brooklyn to Beijing. She adds, For the first
time, more people live in cities than in rural areas worldwide,
and urban areas are growing fast. Cities are the future of this
planet. In Urban Habitats, were exploring their evolution
and ecological potential.
The premier issue of Urban Habitats presents Urban Floras, Volume 1, Number 1, December 2003. The e-journal is available free at <www.urbanhabitats.org>.
Wildlife Population Assessment Training Workshops,
St Andrews, Scotland
|The Centre for Research into Ecological and Environmental Modelling (CREEM) at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, is hosting a series of three linked training workshops on wildlife population assessment. The target audience is ecologists, wildlife managers, and conservation biologists, but the workshops will also be of interest to applied statisticians working in these fields.|
1: Estimating Animal Abundance, 2428 August
This workshop will introduce participants to the most important methods of estimating animal abundance in a rigorous but accessible way. We cover plot sampling, distance sampling, markrecapture, removal methods and, later in the course, more advanced and recently developed methods.
Workshop 2: Introduction to Distance Sampling, 13 September
Distance sampling is the most widely used method for estimating density and abundance of wildlife populations. The objective of this workshop is to give participants a solid grounding in the basic methods for design and analysis of distance sampling surveys, and the use of the software Distance.
Workshop 3: Advanced
Techniques and Recent Developments in Distance Sampling,
This workshop will cover the latest advances in distance sampling
research and software, including the use of covariates for modeling
the detection function, double-observer methods for when detection
at the line or point is not certain, spatial modeling of density,
automated survey design, and adaptive sampling.
Forest Biodiversity: Lessons from History for Conservation
Forest Biodiversity: Lessons from History for Conservation,
edited by O. Honnay, K. Verheyen, B. Bossuyt, and M. Hermy. IUFRO
Research Series No. 10, March 2004, 320 pp., hardbound, ISBN: 085199802x.
Special discount price for ESA members: $88.00 (normal price £110.00).
Suitable for researchers within the areas of forestry, ecology, conservation, and environmental history, this book focuses on the diverse impact of forest history in general, and of forest continuity, fragmentation, and past management in particular, on the diversity and distribution of species. The implications for the conservation of biodiversity in forests are also addressed. Chapters have been developed from papers presented at a conference held in Leuven in January 2003. The emphasis is on temperate forests in Europe and North America, but the information may also be applicable to other regions or biomes. As a special offer to members of the Ecological Society of America, CABI Publishing are offering a 20% discount on this title. North and Central America book orders are handled by our exclusive books distributor, Oxford University Press, 2001 Evans Road, Cary, North Carolina 27513-2009, (800) 451-7556, fax: (919) 677-1303, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. To obtain your discount simply quote reference L175 when placing your order by phone, fax, or e-mail, or go to http://www.us.oup.com/us/catalog/general/ enter the code L175 in the Enter Sales Promo Code box and then select Forest Biodiversity.
Products: The Sustainability Solution? Insights from the Journal of Industrial
Interest in the use of agricultural products and wastes for energy
and industrial materials is growing throughout the world. Optimists
foresee a new system of production that will produce a virtuous
cycle of benefits for the environment and society. Envisioning a
return to renewable raw materials in lieu of feedstocks and fuels
based on petrochemicals, they predict a reduction in demand for
fossil fuels, a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions, as well as
the mitigation of a host of other environmental threats.
A more pessimistic outlook for the bioeconomy also exists, which
foresees the increased use of synthetic fertilizers, a related reduction
in water quality, and an increase in soil erosion and greenhouse
Articles in the special issue analyze the opportunities, processes,
and environmental impacts of biofuels, bioplastics, biolubricants,
and biosurfactants. Government initiatives to support biobased products
are summarized, and leading biobased product companies are profiled.
The special issue also features a look at the predecessor to todays
efforts to make greater industrial use of agricultural crops
and residues, the American chemurgy movement of the 1920s and 1930s.
Research published in this issue suggests:
Robert Anex, associate professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, served as the guest editor for the special issue.
A New Means of Presenting the Results of Logistic Regression
The use of logistic regression analysis in ecological studies has greatly increased in recent years. It is a popular and useful statistical tool for predicting the probability of occurrence of a categorical dependent variable (e.g., presence or absence, male or female) based on predictor variables. The results of logistic regression have been presented in a number of ways in the scientific literature: equations with statistics (e.g., Sydeman et al. 1991, Stewart et al. 1996, Bolger et al. 1997, Gross and Kapuscinski 1997, Morrison 1998, Wiser et al. 1998a); probability response curves (e.g., Sydeman et al. 1991, Van Sickle et al. 1996, Wiser et al. 1998a); and bar charts of the percentage deviance explained by different models (e.g., Wiser et al. 1998b). However, these traditional means of presenting the results have many limitations in the information that they provide. We propose a new method for presenting logistic regression data, describe how it can be achieved with current software, and suggest that it should be routinely incorporated in future updates of statistical packages.
Fig. 1a (see below) shows one of the commonest current
methods of presenting logistic regression output, using hypothetical
data that describe the probability of a pool being occupied by an
invertebrate in relation to pH. The two main limitations of this type
of figure are:
|Fig. 1. Fitted logistic regression curves showing that the probability of pool occupation by an invertebrate (presence and absence) is dependent on pH. Both graphs present the same hypothetical data, but (a) is the traditional method of presenting logistic regression graphs produced in SPSS using overlay scatterplots, and (b) is the new method produced using a combination of SPSS and PowerPoint, where the histograms represent the observed data and the line is the predicted probability that a pool will be occupied.|
Fig. 1b shows the same hypothetical data as shown in Fig. 1a, but in this case the observed data are presented in the form of frequency histograms for each category of the dependent variable, with the associated scale on the right-hand axis. These changes overcome the limitations of the traditional method, outlined above, because the frequency of the observed data at each interval along the axis is now clearly displayed. It is now easy to interpret the summed effect of these points on the logistic regression curve. For example, in Fig. 1a it is impossible to determine how many unoccupied pools have a pH of between 5 and 6. However, we can see from Fig. 1b that there are ~80 pools within this category. It is also now possible to assess the sample size from the figure alone, as the observed data points are displayed against a scale.
Method for the new presentation of logistic regression graphs
At present, combination graphs of this type are not available on any of the standard statistics or graphing packages of which we are aware. Although the presentation of this type of graph is therefore more time consuming, we would argue that, in terms of ease of interpretation, it is worth the extra time and effort. We are sure that there are many different methods and design packages available that could ultimately be used to produce these graphs, but as an example we describe here our step-by-step method, which uses a combination of SPSS v. 11.0 and Microsoft PowerPoint.
1) The data view should have three variables, (a) the
dependent variable (e.g., coded 0 and 1), (b) the observed data for
the predictor variable, and (c) the predicted probability of group
membership saved from the logistic regression analysis.
1) Copy and paste the two histograms and the scatterplot
onto a PowerPoint slide.
The new method for graphical representation of the results of logistic regression analysis presented here greatly increases the information that can be extracted from these figures, and should therefore improve the ease of interpretation of the output. However, the manual production of these figures can be time consuming. If software manufacturers incorporate this type of combination graph in future software updates, we hope that this type of figure will become a common feature of logistic regression analyses.
Bolger, D. T., A.
C. Alberts, R. M. Sauvajot, P. Potenza, C. McCalvin, D. Tran, S. Mazzoni,
and M. E. Soulé. 1997. Response of rodents to habitat fragmentation
in coastal southern California. Ecological Applications 7:552563.
Sydeman, W. J., H. R. Huber, S.
D. Emslie, C. A. Ribic, and N. Nur. 1991. Age-specific weaning success
of northern elephant seals in relation to previous breeding experience.
Jennifer Smart, William J. Sutherland, Andrew R. Watkinson,and
Jennifer A. Gill
WinSSS: Stochastic Spatial Simulator
WinSSS is a Windows-based program for simulating stochastic
spatial models that are individual-based, have discrete spatial structure,
and continuous time. This class of models is commonly referred to
as interacting particle systems or asynchronously updated
probabilistic cellular automata. It is ideally suited for developing
insight and making predictions in spatial ecology. Ecological examples
can be found in Dieckmann et al. (2000) and Durrett and Levin (1994).
WinSSS features an elaborate graphical interface that allows one to choose from various models, specify parameters such as birth/death rates and interaction strengths, initialize with various starting configurations, and view spatial dynamics as well as time series and phase diagrams corresponding to spatial windows of various sizes. One can download the program freely at the URL below. This includes a ready-to-run simulator, with pre-programmed models and an HTML tutorial and help window. For those who would like to code their own models, the C++ code can also be obtained from the authors.
The models in WinSSS include mechanisms for invasion of new territory and competition for resources, head-to-head competition, pathogen spread, and various types of successional dynamics. For example, one can easily run simulations of the ``Rock-Scissors-Paper model that recently appeared in Nature (Kerr et al. 2002) describing spatial coexistence of three competing strains of bacteria. The HTML tutorial gives a brief introduction to these spatially extended individual-based models and provides some references for further reading.
Model specification and parameters
To describe the models and simulations, we begin by
noting that all the action takes place on a two-dimensional rectangular
lattice (or grid) of sites, with a number of options for the lattice
These changes occur in continuous time and very quickly, so when watching the simulation one typically observes sites changing all over the lattice. However, the changes are asynchronous, due to the continuous-time nature of this (Markov) process. The way to think of this is that every site has associated with it an (exponential) alarm clock whose rate depends on the state at that site and the states at neighboring sites. The site whose alarm rings first makes the appropriate change and all neighboring sites recalculate their rates. All the alarm clocks then start over and we wait for the next one to ring. (We remark that the behavior of synchronously updated cellular automata can be similar in some respects but very different in others. For example, updating all the sites at once can lead to very rigid behavior that produces patterns not typically seen in biological populations.)
Rates and interaction neighborhoods
There are two basic types of rates that allow one to build most models of interest. These are contact and spontaneous rates. Contact rates are for events that depend on the types at neighboring sites. For example, a vacant site might become occupied by an offspring from a given species at a rate that is proportional to the number of individuals of that species currently within some distance of the vacant site. Contact rates can depend linearly or nonlinearly (e.g., a threshold event) on the states at neighboring sites. There are several options for neighborhood size in the simulator. Spontaneous rates are for events that occur independently of nearby sites. For example, an individual might die or change its life stage after some random time through no effect from other individuals.
Window size and time series
The overall lattice size can be selected from a number of options ranging from 100 ´ 100 up to 500 ´ 500. The densities of the different species appear, color-coded, in a separate window below the main simulation. These densities are averages over a spatial window that the user chooses. They can be recorded in an accessible file and used to obtain information about spatial length scales, as in Rand and Wilson (1995). The user can also choose to watch the phase plane trajectories corresponding to any two species. All of these observations of densities under various window sizes yield perspective on the effects of randomness, correlations between sites at various distances, and comparisons with the corresponding mass-action ordinary differential equations.
The models in WinSSS were developed using Visual C++.
The graphical interface employs OpenGL, the premier
environment for developing portable, interactive two-dimensional and three-dimensional graphics applications.To run WinSSS at reasonable speeds with lattice size 250 ´ 250 and above, a Pentium III 866 with 256M RAM is recommended. WinSSS has been tested on Windows 2000 and Windows XP. Other operating systems in the Windows family (e.g., Windows 98 and Windows NT) should also work, but we have not tested them. We plan to initiate improvements and extensions based in part on user feedback.
Although most of the C++ code and the graphical interface for this simulator were written independently, we were inspired by the pioneering efforts of Ted Cox and Rick Durrett, who created the Unix-based simulator S3. Y. Guan and S. M. Krone were supported in part by NSF grant EPS-00-80935 and NIH grant P20 RR016448.
Dieckmann, U., R. Law, and J. A. J. Metz, editors. 2000.
The geometry of ecological interactions: simplifying spatial complexity.
Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.
Homebrew Camera Traps
|Subscribers to ECOLOG-L post queries a few times a year about camera traps (shutter-trip systems that automatically photograph passing wildlife), asking for recommendations about particular models, or how to find the least expensive options. During one recent exchange a reader suggested the web site below, which has complete instructions about how to build your own camera trap. In this case, the builder was able to make one for about $80. If youre competent with a soldering iron and know a little about electronics, it looks like a relatively easy project.|
University of Maryland
Plant Invasions and Vegetation Succession: Closing the Gap
Plant Invasions and Vegetation Succession: Closing the Gap, a workshop held in eské Budjovice, Czech Republic, 2628 November 2003. The workshop was organized by the Institute of Botany, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Prhonice, and University of South Bohemia, eské Budjovice, Czech Republic, and was sponsored by the European Science Foundation.
The recent turmoil in biological invasions research has resulted in the publication of many compendia (Drake et al. 1989, Mooney and Hobbs 2000). A solid knowledge base comprising both formal frameworks (Williamson 1996, Richardson et al. 2000b) as well as theories of species invasiveness and community invasibility (Rejmánek 1996, Tilman 1999, Davis et al. 2001) has been established. However, as pointed out recently by Davis et al. (2000), there is a gap between some of the most dynamic fields of contemporary ecology, namely, plant invasions and vegetation succession. Despite powerful development of both fields and ecological proximity between both phenomena/processes, the two fields communicate poorly. Incorporating insights from succession ecology can be expected to help invasion ecology become more quantitative and predictive (Davis et al. 2000). Moreover, both fields are contributing ideas or findings that may help solve environmental problems. Nevertheless, the field of invasion biology has been largely resistant to incorporating knowledge from successional ecology. As a step toward bringing these fields closer together, the workshop entitled Plant invasions and vegetation succession: closing the gap was held with the goal of opening communication among workers and evaluating the available data to identify relationships between invasion and succession.
A formal framework for studies of vegetation change
In his introductory talk to the first session, Mark Davis (Macalester College, Minnesota, USA) reviewed the milestones in vegetation succession and biological invasions and pointed out that the seed for the dissociation of both fields was sown by Charles Elton (1958), who focused explicitly on population outbreaks caused by invasions of foreign species. Davis stressed that reassociation of the two fields is desirable; reciprocal awareness, explicit integration, and the metaperspective are convenient tools to achieve this goal. Successional models such as that of Connell and Slatyer (1977) can be applied to all combinations of alien and native species involved in succession.
Goals of this first session were to (a) develop a conceptual framework
to better integrate succession and invasion ecology, (b) identify
key research questions that should guide future research, and (c)
describe the types of studies needed to answer these questions.
The following concepts were identified, defining crucial areas of
research: (1) Interactions with other plants and other trophic levels
are central for the establishment and spread of native and introduced
plant species. (2) Vegetation dynamics depend on the spatial context
and history of the site, comprising both natural and anthropogenic
activities. (3) Global change, e.g., warming, nitrogen deposition,
and shifting precipitation, can affect patterns of species establishment
and spread. (4) The evolutionary history of the species involved
influences the establishment and spread of native and introduced
plant species. (5) Transient windows of opportunity are critical
for the establishment and spread of native and introduced plant
To treat these issues adequately, future studies should focus on clarifying mechanisms of establishment and spread, and studying cause and effect. The same mechanisms influence the establishment and spread of both native and introduced species and the impacts of these spreading species on their new communities and ecosystems. The following categories of studies should be involved in future research linking the dynamic fields of plant invasions and succession: (a) comparative studies of distribution and abundance (phylogenetically corrected approach; geographic approach: recipient habitat vs. source habitat, gradients of latitude, altitude, climate, land use intensity); (b) for small-scale systems, manipulative experiments are needed (deletion/addition studies) focusing on effects of resident populations, communities, and ecosystems on arriving species, and of arriving species on resident populations, communities, and ecosystems; (c) for large-scale systems, observational and correlative studies of existing natural experiments are necessary. (d) Modeling studies of establishment and spread are needed, using knowledge gained from field data. Findings from studies based on these approaches will provide society with a greater understanding of the consequences of establishment and spread of both alien and native species on land use, biodiversity, ecosystem services, and trophic interactions.
Participation of alien species in succession
The second session focused on the role of alien species in successional seres worldwide. Petr Pyek (Institute of Botany Prhonice, Academy of Sciences
of the Czech Republic) assembled 55 data sets documenting native and alien species numbers and cover values during primary succession; most data come from Central Europe and North America. The average proportion of alien species in a sere was 25%, ranging from 2% to 81%. Aliens are best represented in successional seres in ruderal (urban) habitats and old fields. Preliminary statistical analysis revealed the following. (a) In most seres, alien species decrease during succession (Rejmánek 1989). The rate of this decrease does not differ between species number and cover but does vary among seres. (b) Aliens contribute more in terms of species number than cover; this might reflect the fact that many of them are casuals (Richardson et al. 2000b) and are on average less abundant in the landscape than native species. (c) Residence time, i.e., how long the alien species have been present in the region, plays an important role in determining their dynamics in succession. In European seres, archaeophytes (introduced after the beginning of agriculture but before European exploration of the Western Hemisphere) and neophytes (introduced after that date) differ among habitat types, as demonstrated for old fields and dumps from coal mining, and so do successional trends: neophytes seem to be more capable of becoming dominants.
Karel Prach (University of South Bohemia, eské Budjovice, Czech Republic) analyzed the pattern of succession in Central European human-made habitats; soil pH seems to be the most important factor determining the course and character of succession. In seres with a low initial pH, annual
ruderal species prevail, while in those with high
initial pH, succession is dominated by clonal perennials.
Among the best data available are long-term observations from old-field succession in Cedar Creek (reported by Johannes Knops, University of Nebraska, USA) and the Buell-Small Succession Study (reported by Scott Meiners, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, USA). Similar data sets are available for eastern European old fields (presented by a group represented by Sandor Bartha, University of Vacrátot, Hungary); these data permit studying species behavior during succession in their native and introduced ranges, by comparing species that occur in the data as native in one region and alien in another. Such comparison is feasible on data from Europe and North America where the reciprocal exchange of species on an historical time scale has been extensive.
Jan Lep (University of South Bohemia, eské
Budjovice, Czech Republic) demonstrated how a random event can completely
change the successional pathway and pointed out the importance of
knowledge of site history when interpreting the vegetation pattern
in successional sites. The course of succession in old fields that
Lep studied was crucially affected by
whether willows established in the first year following abandonment, which in turn depended on the weather conditions during a rather short period of germinability of willow seed. Divergent successional pathways were still obvious after 20 years of succession.
Discussions during this second session outlined factors that determine the representation of alien species in successions starting on bare ground. Availability of propagules of both alien and native species is determined by a number of related factors such as floristic history, human activities in the region, as well as at the time of initial disturbance, since modern landscapes tend to be progressively more invaded by alien species (Pysk et al. 2003). Other important factors include habitat type and landscape character, and the frequency and intensity of disturbances. Preliminary analysis with habitats classified according to the character of surrounding landscapes indicated that industrial habitats have a high proportion of aliens at the beginning, but their decrease in rate of succession is faster than in habitats located in agricultural landscapes. In natural habitats, aliens are poorly represented; hence their decrease with continuing succession is not so profound.
Colonists and invaders: getting the traits and comparisons right
The last session dealt with comparison of traits of alien and native species colonizing sites of various successional status. Ken Thompson (University of Sheffield, UK) pointed out that current analysis of traits promoting invasions is limited by the availability and quality of information on traits involved. Comparative analyses tend to employ traits on the basis of whether they are readily available or can be rapidly abstracted from floras, rather than on any assessment of their intrinsic importance. Thus we know a lot about patterns of plant height, growth form, seed mass, and (apparent) dispersal syndrome, but very little about growth rate, palatability, or seed production. Alien/native comparisons are also frequently drawn too narrowly (e.g., single pairs of species) or too broadly (e.g., whole native and introduced floras). Finally, we should beware of trying to answer ecological questions with inappropriate data from other fields, for example using economic impact as a measure of success of aliens, and of the dogmatic application of unproven hypotheses, e.g., the supposed trade-off between colonizing and competitive abilities.
Some talks discussed rather underexplored phenomena in invasion biology: David Richardson (University of Cape Town, South Africa) stressed that to obtain a better picture of invasion patterns, mutualistic
relationships with organisms of other trophic levels must be taken into account. Invasions are to a large extent idiosyncratic and the outcome is often determined by factors that are impossible to control in comparative analyses, e.g., the availability of dispersers, pollinators, and root symbionts (Richardson et al. 2000a). This was demonstrated in detail by Johannes Kollman (Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Copenhagen, Denmark) who concluded that invading native and alien fleshy-fruited species in temperate ecosystems use similar mutualistic interactions during dispersal and regeneration stages of succession.
Discussion during this session indicated the following. Further progress in comparative studies to reveal the determinants of species invasiveness is only possible by improving the quality of input data, both by obtaining more detailed information on species traits and by clearly defining what we mean by species success. Since different traits may be associated with different measures of species invasiveness or success, we should distinguish among alien species (a) frequency or range size, (b) local abundance as a measure of ability to dominate vegetation locally, and (c) persistence, i.e., ability to invade seminatural vegetation. As distribution of early- and late-successional species in these three dimensions depends on different suites of traits, this approach has potential to increase understanding of the role of individual traits in plant invasions.
Future perspectives on linking invasion and succession ecology
The workshop discussions indicated that the gap between studies on plant invasions and vegetation succession is detrimental and fosters intellectual isolation, resulting in investigators paying insufficient attention to ideas and findings in related subdisciplines. This is particularly worrying since these two specialties, while focusing on different questions and patterns, are actually studying the same mechanisms. Efforts to reunify specialty areas in plant ecology have the potential to substantially enhance ecologists ability to discover and describe the mechanisms responsible for vegetation change. Experiments designed to link invasion and succession are urgently needed to make some progress in this area.
There are numbers of successional seres with detailed, high-quality data
available from various geographical regions and habitat
types, but they have not been systematically analyzed up to now.
Their analysis has potential to outline general patterns of alien
species participation in succession, test the hypothesis of alien
species decrease in succession (Rejmánek 1989), and permit
investigation of the variation of this process and relate it to
the underlying factors.
Researchers would benefit greatly from the intellectual synergy that would inevitably result from better communication among research specialty areas. Outputs from such studies are urgently needed for a broad spectrum of professionals working in biological invasions, vegetation succession and associated applied fields (e.g., land-managers, conservationists, governmental and NGO policy-makers involved in landscape restoration and control of invasive species).
Connell, J. H., and R. O. Slatyer.
1977. Mechanisms of succession in natural communities and their
role in community stability and organization.
American Naturalist 111:11191144.
2000a. Plant invasionsthe
role of mutualisms. Biological Reviews 75:6593.
Mark A. Davis
Curtis C. Daehler
A History of the Ecological Sciences, Part 13: Broadening Science in Italy and England, 16001650
|The number of European scientists and their publications increased steadily during the 1500s to the point that science needed social organization beyond what universities provided. Scientists corresponded with each other (Hatch 2000), and botanical gardens and museums were founded, often connected to a university or a city (Impey and MacGregor 1985, Findlen 1994, 2000, Cooper 2000). Italy led the way. In the later 1500s, a Neapolitan nobleman and natural philosopher, Giambattista della Porta (15351615) established the first scientific society, Academia dei Segreti (Academia Secretorum Naturae), while still a teenager (Rienstra 1975, Eamon 2000). He was inspired by the literary academies of Naples. He and his group investigated a wide variety of science topics, such as magnetism, optics, distillation, mechanics of water and steam, making plants bloom or fruit out of season, physiognomy, and topics now called pseudo-sciences, such as physiognomy and strange curesall of which they called natural magic. Porta was a prolific author, whose most famous work, Magia Naturalis, included results from the Academias investigations; it first appeared in four books in 1558, but grew through many later editions to 20 books by 1589. Besides the 12 Latin editions, there were four in Italian, seven in French, two in German, and two in English. The English translation was not published until 1658 and the second edition appeared in 1669.|
Fig. 1. Giambattista della Porta. Frontispiece of Porta 1608.
Although Porta reported discovering small black
seeds in fungi in his Phytognomonica (1588:240;
quoted in English by Ainsworth 1976:14), this did not lead
him to conclude that fungi only reproduce by the seeds
we call spores (Porta 1658:60). One historian of science claimed
that in Phytognomonica Porta set out the first
ecological grouping of plants according to their geographical
locale and distributions (Price 1957), but this claim
could only be made by someone unfamiliar with the botanical
works by Theophrastos (Egerton 2001). Portas discussions
of physical sciences in Natural Magic is based to some extent
on actual experiments, but his accounts of the generation
of animals and production of plants is merely a repetition
of traditional beliefs (Porta 1658:27):
There is no explicit evidence that he performed any of the experiments that he explained for making plants bloom or fruit out of season, all of which seem
culled out of authorities he cited, and some
of which seem unlikely to work, such as grafting grapevines
onto cherry trees (Porta 1658:7478).
|The Linceans chose to focus their attention and their microscopes first on the honey bee, which was readily available, but especially because there were three bees on the coat of arms of the Barberini family, one of whom had become Pope Urban VIII in 1623. They wanted his support at a time when various churchmen were already complaining about Galileos publications. In 1625 Johan Friedrich Greuter produced for the Linceans the first printed illustration made with a microscope, entitled Melissographia and magnified about 20 times (Fig. 2). Also in 1625 Cesi published an||accompanying Apiarium, a synthesis of everything known about honey bees. Although the Linceans published books of conventional size by Galileo, Cesi chose to publish Apiarium as four gigantic sheets, 107 ´ 69.5 cm (Freedberg 2002:160192). This awkward format, with small Latin print, greatly limited its dissemination and preservation. The Lincei also used magnification to elucidate various aspects of plants. They discovered that the brown grains on the underside of fern leaves are actually seeds, and next they discovered the seeds of mosses (Freedberg 2002:225232).|
Fig. 2. Melissographia, the first published microscopic drawing (Singer 1953).
|Despite these discoveries, Cesi, like Porta,
still believed that some plants can arise by spontaneous generation
(1630; cited from Thorndike 1958:59). Cesis ambitious plans
to publish on botany were cut short by his death. A Lincean who did
publish important botanical works was Fabio Colonna (15671650),
though he had published a substantial part of them before he joined
the Accademia in 1612 (Greene 1983:Chapter 23, Freedberg 2002).
Another important Lincean project was publication of an abridgement of a natural history of Mexico by Francisco Hernández (15171587). Freedberg (2002:246) calls this the central project of Cesis life, as well as that of his fellow Linceans. Hernández was a Spanish physician who was interested in his countrys natural history.
|He began an annotated Spanish translation of Plinys Natural History in 1566, which he finished while in Mexico in the 1570s, and it was published in Madrid in 1624 (reprinted as Volumes 4, 5, and 5a in Hernández 19591976). Felipe II, who had a general interest in science (Pierson 2000), made Hernandez the chief medical officer for Mexico on 11 January 1570, and then sent him there to study its plants, animals, and minerals, with emphasis on medicinal uses (Somolinos dArdois 1960, Vernet 1972, Lopez-Piñero 2000a, Varey et al. 2000). Hernández heterodox religiousphilosophical views might have been a factor in the kings decision (Benito-Vessels 2000). They assumed that it would take about five years, but in his fourth letter to Felipe, on 30 April 1572, Hernández (2000a:50) reported it might take nine or ten years.|
|Finally, he accumulated a vast collection of 10 folio volumes of colored paintings and six of verbal descriptions of 3000 plants, 40 quadrupeds, 229 birds, 58 reptiles, 30 insects, 54 aquatic animals, and 35 minerals, and also dried Aztec plants (Chabrán and Varey 2000:4, Freedberg 2002:246247). Seeds and plants he brought back were planted in Spanish botanic gardens, particularly at Aranjuez (Weiner 2000:8). Although he took notes on geography and climate (Weiner 2000:5) he focused primarily on collecting and describing specimens, presumably intending to organize the collection for publication after he returned. He lived another decade after returning to Spain but never did organize it. That he returned in poor health was perhaps relevant, though there is also the possibility that his heterodox outlook was a factor (Benito-Vessels 2000, Weiner 2000:8). In 1580 he retired, and Felipe II gave his successor, Nardo Antonio Recchi (d.1595), the responsibility of preparing the immense amount of written and illustrated manuscripts for publication. In 1582 Recci completed his task and||returned to his native Naples, carrying his reorganized manuscript with him, under the assumption that he would publish it. But he never did that either. Hernandez had left a copy of his materials in Mexico City, and some of it was published there in 1579 and more in 1615. The latter, entitled Quatro libros de la naturaleza, is now in English (Hernández 2000b:117156); it may be the earliest natural history book published in the New World. Porta wrote to Ulisse Aldrovandi in 1589 that Hernandez had died of a broken heart when Felipe IIs Council of the Indies told him that his illustrations and descriptions of 4000 plants and animals were of little use since they were of Indian plants that could not be used in Spain; and besides, the book had no order to it (Freedberg 2002:248). If Portas information was correct, Felipe did not take the advice seriously, since he continued to want to have it published, but the Council might have delayed its publication (Weiner 2000:89).|
Fig. 3. Fabio Colonna. Frontispiece, Ecphrasis
(1616). From Greene 1983:834.
|In 1610 Cesi went to Naples to view Recchis redaction, which Recci had left to a nephew. He was able to obtain a copy of the text and gained access to the illustrations in 1611. Publishing it occupied Cesi and other Linceans for the rest of their lives (Freedberg 2002:254). The great magnitude of the undertaking caused delays beyond anyones imagining. They printed almost 900 pages and 800 illustrations in 1628, and a few copies were published in 1630, but Cesis death in that year was a big setback. Colonna published his own botanical works with etchings that show fine details, but there were only 37 of them in his Phytobasanos (1592) and 210 in Ecphrasis (1616). The Linceans could not afford 800 etchings and made do with simpler woodcuts having less detail.||Despite Recchis work, their editorial tasks were demanding. There were corrections to be made and commentaries to write (many of which were longer than necessary), and when three churchmen returned from Mexico with additional information on plants and animals, the Linceans were glad to add their contribution (Freedberg 2002:261). The long struggle for publication ended successfully in 1651, but the whole process was so complex that no two copies of Rerum Medicarum Novae Hispaniae Thesaurus seu Plantarum Animalium Mexicanorum Historia ex Francisci Hernandez are the same (Varey 2000:xviixix, Freedberg 2002:272,). It is reprinted in Hernándezs Obras Completas under the title Historia Natural de Nueva España (Volumes 23).|
Fig. 5. Tlatlauhquiítztic. Hernandez 19591976, II:424.
|Another project that occupied the Accademia dei Lincei was a collection of a vast paper museum (Freedbergs term)well-executed color drawings of plants, animals, and fossils. Unfortunately, due to Cesis early death, this impressive contribution to natural history lay buried in European libraries until its recent publication by Freedberg (2002:1564). Linceans also became quite interested in fossils. Cesi wanted to find a way to classify them. The Linceans commissioned an impressive series of drawings of fossils, and since they published few of them, they were also part of its paper museum. Cesi had hoped to publish their findings, and Francesco Stelluti did finally publish a regional study, Trattato del Legno Fossile Minerale (1637), in which he implied that he spoke from a consensus of Linceans. He believed that fossil wood is not generated from the seed or root of any plant whatsoever, but only from a piece of earth, containing much clay (1637:6, translated by Freedberg 2002:332333). Freedberg wonders if the struggles Galileo was having with the Catholic Church in the 1620s may have||
caused Cesi to postpone publication of his own thoughts on the origin of fossils, and then the writer died before he could publish.
An impulse to organize science also arose in England around the same time, but took a different form. Francis Bacon (15611626) became both a philosopher and advocate of science, and his influence was as great or greater than Porta and Cesis combined, although it came almost entirely after his death (Hesse 1970, Rees 2000a, b, Van Helvoort 2000). Bacons education included three years in France to learn Roman law and French, but while there he read the writings of radical education reformer Pierre de La Ramée (15151572), famous for his attacks on the sterile teachings of the Aristotelians (Mahoney 1975). Bacons prominent career in government undoubtedly lent weight to his pronouncements on science. He attacked the education of the time in The Advancement of Learning (1604), but his own attempt to steer science toward meaningful research was unsuccessful.
His posthumous Sylva Sylvarum (1627) is largely a compendium of traditional knowledge, as for example: The moss of trees is a kind of hair; for it is the juice of the tree that is excerned [exuded], and doth not assimulate (Bacon 18571874, Volume 2:511). Such notions led William Harvey to famously comment that Bacon wrote natural philosophy like a Lord Chancellor (Crowther 1960:11). Nevertheless, Bacon was influenced by Portas Natural Magic to conduct a series of experiments to increase plant growth rate; he grew several plants in water and found they sprouted more quickly than in soil (Bacon 18571874, Volume 2:477478). Bacons Catalogue of Particular Histories by Titles served later as a list of desirable projects for English scientists; among the titles were (18571874, Volume 4:266267):
One of the few experiments Bacon actually performed killed himhe took a gutted chicken outside and stuffed snow in it to test its preservative properties, and later died from the effects of his exposure to the cold (Aubrey 1949:16).
Fig. 6. A much later illustration of Bacons
|Animal physiology may not be an ecological science, but the contributions by William Harvey (15781657) are nevertheless of interest here. To establish his discovery of the circulation of the blood, he needed to refute the teachings of Galen, and the only way to do that was to experiment. Ancient and medieval science were overwhelmingly observational sciences. Occasional experimentation, including several experiments by Galen, did not revolutionize scientific methodology. However, when Galileo and Harvey set out to refute Aristotelian physics and Galenic physiology, respectively, the only way to convince skeptics was to perform repeatable experiments (Bylebyl 2000). In doing so, they not only revolutionized their own sciences, but also influenced the methodology of some other sciences. Sciences relevant to ecology were slower than others to adopt experimentation, although Francesco Redi set an example that some of these sciences could have||followed. In De motu cordis (1628, 1957), Harvey described experiments he had conducted on dogs, rabbits, snakes (vivisectional), and humans (nonvivisectional). Harvey seemed ambivalent about spontaneous generation of some species. His book on reproduction and embryology (1651) carried a phrase on the frontispiece, ex ovo omnia (all are from eggs), that caught the interest of Redi and others, but he nevertheless seemed to accept spontaneous generation for some species (Keynes 1966:352, Lopez-Piñero 2000b). When Harvey investigated the mating habits of the red deer, Cervus elaphus, he could draw upon first-hand experience. As the Kings physician, he often accompanied Charles I on his almost weekly hunts of bucks during the summer and hinds in the fall, and he had opportunities to observe mating and to study and describe deer genitals and embryos. He also gleaned information from the Kings game wardens (Harvey 1847:474476, Egerton 1961).|
|A younger fellow physician, Thomas Browne (16051682), had an English and Continental medical education comparable to Harveys, but he did not aspire to practice among the élite of his hometown, London. He settled instead in Norwichbecoming a big fish in a small pond rather than a little fish in a big pond. Brownes interests were much broader than Harveys, but because of that, his scientific investigations were also more superficial. Browne addressed his broad interests in a very popular book, Pseudodoxia epidemica: or Enquiries Into Very Many Received Tenents and Commonly Presumed Truths (published 1646; Browne 1964). Many contemporaries approved of his desire to separate fact from folklore, but it was a difficult project when one cast ones net as broadly as he did. Worthy predecessors who had met with only limited success included Pliny, Albertus Magnus, and Gessner. One of the errors Browne investigated was the claim by Pliny, Virgil, and others that Viscus Arboreus or Misseltoe is bred upon Trees, from seeds which Birds, especially Thrushes and Ring-doves let fall thereon (Browne 1964, Volume 2:146). If that were true, he wondered, why does it only grow on some of the species in which they perch?||
Browne was inclined to agree with Bacon that mistletoe is an arboreous excrescence, or rather super-plant, bred of a viscous and superfluous sap which the tree it self cannot assimilate. Browne collected galls from oaks and other plants in November and found that little maggots in them became flies in June. From these observations he concluded that if the putrifying juices of bodies bring forth plenty of Flies and Maggots, they give testimony of common corruption, and declare that the Elements are full of the seeds of putrifaction, as the great number of Caterpillars, Gnats, and ordinary Insects do also declare (Browne 1964, Volume 2:151152). He easily dismissed such claims as elephants having no joints in their legs, horses having no gall, and badgers having legs on one side longer than on the other side. When he tackled the claims of great longevity for animals he employed several kinds of evidence.
|Aristotle had noted some correlation between gestation period, maturation period, and longevity. An elephant, which might live to be a hundred, has a gestation period of a year and takes 20 years to mature. Sheep and goats, which live only 8 or 10 years, have a gestation period of five months and reach maturity in two years. Therefore, Deer that endureth the womb but eight moneths, and is compleat at six years, from the course of Nature, we cannot expect to live an hundred; nor in any proportional allowance much more then thirty (Browne 1964, Volume 2:181). Furthermore, animals like deer that have excess of venery do not live as long as those that do not. Some species (as Aristotle noted) can also be aged by their horns and teeth. In the case of deer, From the horns [antlers] there is a particular and annual account unto six years: they arising first plain, and so successively branching: after which the judgment of their years by particular marks becomes uncertain. But when they grow old, they grow less branched, and first do lose their propugnacula; that is, their brow-antlers . In old age they have few or none [teeth] in either jaw (Browne 1964, Volume 2:183).||
Later editions of Pseudodoxia Epidemica appeared
in 1650, 1658, 1669, and 1672all containing revisions and
additions. That book was not the end of his writings, however. He
also wrote Miscellany Tracts, which were not
refutations of errors; these essays were only published
posthumously in 1683.Among them was Of Hawks and Falconry,
Ancient and Modern, which is an intelligent summary of
lore from many sources, except that he was obviously unaware of
Frederick IIs De arte venandi cum avibus, which had
been printed in 1596 (Browne 1964, Volume 3:6064, Egerton
2003:43). International communication among scholars was improving,
but was still quite modest by modern standards. Brownes Garden
of Cyrus (1658) will be discussed in Part 14 of the History
of the Ecological Sciences.
Ainsworth, G. C.
1976. Introduction to the history of mycology. Cambridge University
Press, Cambridge, UK.
| Egerton, F. N. 1961.
William Harvey on the mating of red deer. Journal of Mammalogy 42:124125.
Egerton, F. N. 2001. A history of the ecological sciences, Part 2: Aristotle and Theophrastos. ESA Bulletin 82:149152.
Egerton, F. N. 2003. A history of the ecological sciences, Part 8: Frederick II of Hohenstaufen: amateur avian ecologist and behaviorist. ESA Bulletin 84:4044.
Finch, J. S. 1950. Sir Thomas Browne: a doctors life of science and faith. Henry Schuman, New York, New York, USA.
Findlen, P. 1994. Possessing nature: museums, collecting, and scientific culture in early modern Italy. University of California Press, Berkeley, California, USA.
Findlen, P. 2000. Museums and collections. Pages 446448 in W. Applebaum, editor. Encyclopedia of the Scientific Revolution from Copernicus to Newton. Garland, New York, New York, USA.
Freedberg, D. 2002. The eye of the lynx: Galileo, his friends, and the beginnings of modern natural history. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois, USA.
Greene, E. L. 1983. Landmarks of botanical history. F. N. Egerton, editor. Two volumes. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California, USA.
Harvey, W. 1628. Exercitatio anatomica de motu cordis et sanguinis in animalibus. William Fitzer, Frankfurt, Germany.
Harvey, W. 1651. Exercitationes de generatione animalium. L. Elzevir, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Harvey, W. 1653. Anatomical exercitations, concerning the generation of living creatures: to which are added particular discourses, of births, and of conceptions, &c. Translated by Martin Llewellyn. Printed by James Young for Octavian Pullen, London, UK.
Harvey, W. 1847. The works. Translated from Latin by Robert Willis. Sydenham Society, London, UK.
Harvey, W. 1957. Movement of the heart and blood in animals. In Latin with English translation by J. K. Franklin. Blackwell Scientific, Oxford, UK.
Hatch, R. A. 2000. Correspondence networks. Pages 168170 in W. Applebaum, editor. Encyclopedia of the Scientific Revolution from Copernicus to Newton. Garland, New York, New York, USA.
Hernández, F. 19591976. Obras completas. G. Somolinos dArdois, editor. Six volumes. [I have not seen another volume published in 1984.] Universidad National de México, Mexico City, Mexico.
F. 1998. De materia medica Novae Hispaniae, libri quatuor. F. F. Gonzalez,
translator. Two volumes. Ediciones Doce Calle, Madrid, Spain.
Hernández, F. 2000a. The instructions and letters to the king. Pages 4560 in S. Varey, editor. The Mexican treasury: the writings of Dr. Francisco Hernández. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California, USA.
Hernández, F. 2000b. The Mexican treasury: the writings. S. Varey, editor. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California, USA.
Hesse, M. 1970. Francis Bacon. Dictionary of Scientific Biography 1:372377.
Impey, O., and A. MacGregor, editors. 1985. The origin of museums: the cabinet of curiosities in sixteenth- and
seventeenth-century Europe. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.
Keynes, G. 1966. The life of William Harvey. Clarendon Press, Oxford, UK.
Keynes, G. 1970. Thomas Browne. Dictionary of Scientific Biography 2:522523.
Lopez-Piñero, J. M. 2000a. Francisco Hernández. Pages 294295 in W. Applebaum, editor. Encyclopedia of the Scientific Revolution from Copernicus to Newton. Garland, New York, New York, USA.
Lopez-Piñero, J. M. 2000b. Spontaneous generation. Pages 615616 in W. Applebaum, editor. Encyclopedia of the Scientific Revolution from Copernicus to Newton. Garland, New York, New York, USA.
Lüthy, C. H. 1996. Atomism, Lynceus, and the fate of seventeenth-century microscopy. Early Science and Medicine 1:127.
Miniati, M. 2000. Accademia dei Lincei. Pages 79 in W. Applebaum, editor. Encyclopedia of the Scientific Revolution from Copernicus to Newton. Garland, New York, New York, USA.
Pierson, P. O. 2000. Philip II: imperial obligations and scientific vision. Pages 1118 in S. Varey, R. Chabrán, and D. B. Weiner, editors. Searching for the secrets of nature: the life and works of Dr. Francisco Hernández. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California, USA.
Porta, G. B. 1588. Phytognomica. Orazio Salviani, Naples, Italy.
Porta, G. B. 1608. De distillatione libri IX. Camerae Apostolicae, Rome, Italy.
Porta, G. B. 1957. Natural magic in twenty books. Reprint of the 1658 edition. Thomas Young and Samuel Speed, London, UK.
Price, D. J. 1957. Giambattista della Porta and his natural magic. Pages vix in Natural magic, by J. B. Porta. Basic Books, New York, New York, USA.
G. 2000a. Francis Bacon. Pages 6569 in W. Applebaum,
editor. Encyclopedia of the Scientific Revolution from Copernicus to
Newton. Garland, New York, New York, USA.
Rees, G. 2000b. Baconianism. Pages 6971 in W. Applebaum, editor. Encyclopedia of the Scientific Revolution from Copernicus to Newton. Garland, New York, New York, USA.
Rienstra, M. H. 1975. Giambattista della Porta. Dictionary of Scientific Biography 11:9598.
Singer, C. 1953. The earliest figures of microscopical objects. Endeavour 12:197201.
Somolinos dArdois, G. 1960. Vida y obra de Francisco Hernández. Pages 97373 in Hernandez, Obras completas. Volume 1. Universidad Nacional de México, Mexico City, Mexico.
Stelluti, F. 1637. Trattato del Legno fossile minerale nuovamente scopeto nel quale brevemente si accenna la varia & mutabil natura. Vitale Mascardi, Rome, Italy.
Thorndike, L. 1958. A history of magic and experimental science. Volume 8: The seventeenth century. Columbia University Press, New York, New York, USA.
Van Helvoort, T. 2000. Francis Bacon, 15611626: English philosopher and statesman. Pages 6568 in A. Hessenbruch, editor. Readers guide to the history of science. Fitzroy Dearborn, London, UK.
Varey, S. 2000. Chronology of the texts of Francisco Hernández. Pages xviixix in S. Varey, editor. The Mexican treasury: the writings of Dr. Francisco Hernández. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California, USA.
Varey, S., R. Chabrán, and D. B. Weiner, editors. 2000. Searching for the secrets of nature: the life and works of Dr. Francisco Hernández. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California, USA.
Vernet, J. 1972. Francisco Hernandez. Dictionary of Scientific Biography 6:309310.
Weiner, D. B. 2000. The world of Dr. Francisco Hernández. Pages 310 in S. Varey, R. Chabrán, and D. B. Weiner, editors. Searching for the secrets of nature: the life and works of Dr. Francisco Hernández. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California, USA.
Wodderborn, J. 1996. Quatuor problematum quae Martinus Horky contra Nuntium Sidereum de quatnor novis disputando proposuit. Padova 1610. Page 4 in C. H. Lüthy. Atomism, Lynceus, and the fate of seventeenth-century microscopy. Early
Science and Medicine 1:127.
For their assistance, I thank Anne-Marie Drouin-Hans, Université de Bourgogne, Jean-Marc Drouin, Musée National dHistoire Naturelle, Paris, France. Figs. 3 and 4 are from E. L. Greene (1983), Landmarks of Botanical History, reproduced courtesy of the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Frank N. Egerton
A great conceptual, ecologically inspired revolution
in environmental management has occurred during the last half century.
It has rejected the unscientific, exploitive, and shortsighted traditional
approach of dividing species into useful and harmful, and doing
everything possible to get rid of obnoxious weeds, bugs, and vermin.
The new approach, associated with the names of Aldo Leopold, Rachel
Carson, and Edward Wilson, unites all life into the harmonious whole
of biodiversity, a term which has become the scientific equivalent
of nature distilled from romantic and mystic connotations.
It is not only in politics that revolutions are challenged by reaction. We have two problems on our hands: to document the harm of the old way and justify the benefit of the new. Neither problem can be solved easily. Unfortunately, along with our food and fluffy birds, biodiversity includes chiggers, ticks, SARS viruses, and other pests. Attaching value in billions of dollars to whales and ocean breeze without accounting for droughts, hurricanes, pestilence, and other calamities caused by ecosystem services is not entirely honest. Any audit would bring to court such sloppy bookkeeping.
The traditional approach, which we have practiced
since the origin of our species, also has two sides, expected and
unexpected. Its expected achievements are spectacular: monocultures
of wheat, rice, and other mostly exotic plants have brought unprecedented
welfare. What is not expected is that, despite all our efforts and
the miracles of chemistry, genetics, and other sciences, we have
hardly eliminated a single harmful species (except, perhaps, smallpox,
one of the worlds most dreaded plagues, presently confined
in test tubes somewhere). Nor have we produced any useful species.
While these biological surprises deal with nature outside us, a host of other mysteries involve our inner nature. They are critical for our existence and yet barely recognized. It is curious to compare things that concern us with those we do not care about. What worries us now is the very attempt to divide nature into useful and harmful parts. These worries about biodiversity condense into an apocalyptic question about us: can we survive by picking and choosing which plants and animals will cohabit the earth?
While the traditional answer was the unreflective, Yes, the answer that has resulted from the intellectual and management revolution of the last decades is the informed No. Biodiversity is not just the total number of species or even organisms, but is, as defined by Wilson (1994:359), who introduced the term biodiversity, the totality of hereditary variation in life forms, across all levels of biological organization, from genes and chromosomes within individual species to the array of species themselves and finally, at the highest level, the living communities of ecosystems such as forests and lakes. To maintain biodiversity, we must preserve not only living organisms but their environments as well, which includes such extraterrestrial factors as sunlight. In short, as Wilson acknowledged in 1997, biodiversity embraces everything. The reasons for preserving biodiversity in its entirety can be summarized as follows.
1. Interconnectedness of life
What are referred to as ecological laws
usually mean that everything is connected with everything else.
This is why all of biodiversity is necessary; it is indivisible
like a living organism. As Aldo Leopold (1966:176177) put
it: The land is one organism ... it is an organic
community and a sacramental whole ... To keep every
cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering.
There are many stories about the unpredictable and
often calamitous consequences of the removal or introduction of
a species. The most influential of these stories, told by Darwin,
is about humble bees, which, he believed, was the only species in
England capable of pollinating red clover. The number of bees depends
on the number of field mice, which destroy bees combs and
nests. In its turn, the abundance of mice is controlled by cats.
This story illustrates so neatly the interconnectedness in nature
that it merited in Darwins writings a rare exclamation point:
Hence it is quite credible that the presence of a feline animal
in large number in a district might determine, through the intervention
first of mice and then of bees, the frequency of certain flowers
in that district! (Darwin 1859:74).
Extending this reasoning, it was suggested that some ecological knowledge would make the life of Englishwomen happier (Egerton 1973). A large proportion of cats belonged to spinsters who kept them for company; the women remained unmarried because eligible men served in the navy where they ate dried beef that came from cattle, which grazed in the clover fields pollinated by humble bees. By keeping their cats confined, the women could bring the men home and the British Empire down long before it actually fell, because as the mice increased, the number of bees, clover, cattle, and sailors would all dwindle.
2. Mutual benefits of species coexistence
The interconnectedness of life may go beyond the good of an abstract community and benefit each member as well. Being indispensable to the functioning of the whole, each species is useful to any other. If the land mechanism as a whole is good, then every part is good, whether we understand it or not (Leopold). Even foresters, traditionally imbued with the notion of competition, have recently started changing their minds. As reported in a leading journal of science, Nature (Read 1997:518), foresters discovered that the disadvantaged fir seedlings vegetating in the gloom of the forest floor are subsidized by fully illuminated overstory plants, through pathways provided by their fungal symbionts. This woodwide web would be expected to reduce dominance of aggressive species, so promoting coexistence and greater biodiversity.
3. Superior ethics
Beyond biological and utilitarian reasons, there are higher, ethical considerations for preserving life in its entirety. Even if it was sanctioned in ancient books, our exploitative domination over other species is unfair and unjust. The underlying belief in the superiority of humans is similar to racism and is as outrageous. It is time to discard the outmoded anthropocentrism in favor of ecocentrism, which proclaims that all entities (including humans) should have the freedom to unfold in their own way, and fully realize their inherent potential, unhindered by human domination. Ecocentrism enhances and expands upon the most cherished values: unselfishness, justice, and equality. It picks up the torch of moral righteousness dropped with the collapse of Communism.
Are the reasons reasonable?
To preserve biodiversity we need to know what is and is not biodiversity. However, being everything, biodiversity can neither be defined nor lost. When one species disappears, others proliferate. Another problem is that diseased organisms, full of parasites and pathogens, are more biologically diverse than healthy ones. And corpses are still more biodiverse. As modern scientists have shown, living tissue made of many species constitutes as much as 20% of rotten logs. In contrast, living cells of a single species account for only 5% of a healthy tree (the rest being dead wood). As one of these scientists said, Somebody made a mistake. The tree thats green and standing up is the one they should have called dead. The tree down on the ground is the one thats really alive. (Luoma 1999: 80). Following his logic, this scientist and each of us should be pronounced dead until we are alive.
|Biodiversity is often compared with a library full of unique books. Losing a species is like burning a book before we can read it and create wealth from the recipes on its pages. There are several problems with this attractive image. One is that we cannot exist just by reading books; biodiversity is not only our library but our pantry as well. Another problem is that some of these recipes are far from benign: they spell out how to kill or hurt us. In addition to being our library and pantry, biodiversity is also a factory producing many creatures according to those deadly recipes. It is true that biodiversity is our greatest treasure; equally, it is our greatest curse. The life of any organism is a constant struggle to separate the good side of nature from its bad side. We owe our lives to the success of this separation. The biodiversity movement misleads and disarms us by lumping harmful and useful species together.|
1. Is everything connected?
If indeed everything were interconnected, the loss
of a species would destroy an ecosystem. Facts show something else:
while an organism disintegrates or becomes dysfunctional with the
loss of a single limb, a field is not ruined when not just one but
all native plants and animals are replaced by a single introduced
species, such as wheat in the Great Plains. In fact, the eradication
of competing vegetation is a prerequisite for growing agricultural
crops and our existence.
Nature is not so much a coordinated system, a superorganism, as a collection of loosely connected components, many of which are redundant or accidental. Unlike organisms, in which resources are distributed and members grow according to a genetically coded blueprint, no central control exists in ecosystems. Each part of an organism benefits the others and they usually survive or die together. In contrast, many components of an ecosystem thrive at the expense of others. Each biotic part of an ecosystem, an organism, is much more complex than the ecosystem itself. The reverse is true for the organism: its parts are simpler than the whole. The belief that everything is connected with everything makes ecology similar to astrology and as plausible.
Checking the validity of Darwins story illustrates the limits of environmental determinism. It was found that one of the two species of red clover is self-pollinated, while the other is pollinated by common honey bees, in addition to humble bees (Egerton 1973). Field mice only infrequently bother humble bees, and even less frequently honey bees. In reality, kingdoms and empires are lost for the want of a nail less frequently than in fairy tales.
2. Are benefits mutual?
Lice and polio viruses may find humans useful, but their return contribution to our welfare is less obvious. Similarly, although insect excrements may enrich the soil and thus benefit plants, those feces are hardly a fair compensation for the harm done by infestation. Returning to the example of sharing among trees, the study reported in Nature did not document that illuminated trees voluntarily donated their lifeblood to disadvantaged neighbors, as implied by Natures commentary entitled The ties that bind (Read 1997). Until such proof is found, the presumed donation is as valid as the claim that we willingly feed mosquitoes or gadflies. It seems that Nature mistook elementary parasitism for altruism. A more appropriate title for Natures commentary would be The ties that blind.
3. Human ethics
Consider two main propositions of ecocentrism: (1)
all species and organisms have inherent value and various rights,
of which the right to exist is paramount; and (2) as the only species
capable of formulating and recognizing these rights, we humans have
the obligation to respect them. These two propositions are contradictory.
To exercise our right to exist, we have to eat, which means killing
or exploiting other organismsthe actions prohibited to us
by the second proposition.
What to heal?
Ostensibly, the biodiversity movement is concerned
with problems in nature outside us. Yet the suicidal tendency implicit
in the propositions of ecocentrism points to problems in our inner
nature, which encompasses the characteristicspivoted around
the instinct of self-preservationthat make us adapted. Each
generation hears alarms about the end of the world and admonitions
to behave. The orthodox cause was internal: moral degradation. This
time it is external: environmental destruction. Although the cause
is spurious, the current alarm is not false. The end is in view,
at least for the still sizeable part of humanity that has created
the civilization, which for the first time in history relieved us
from hunger and a wretched life. The majority of people in the world
owe their very existence to the achievements of this civilization,
such as tractors and antibiotics.It is incredible that we are on
the brink of ex-tinction precisely when, after surviving millennia
of starvation and misery, we have created the world of plenty. The
fertility of the peoples who developed ethics, science, and technology
of the civilization of freedom and abundance is below the replacement
rate (presently, 2.1 children born to a woman during her lifetime).
The fertility rate has fallen to 1.2 in Italy, one
of the oldest centers of our civilization. In all of Western Europe
and Japan the rate is 1.5. This means that in less than seven generations
the number of those peoples will dwindle to one-tenth of the current
number. The least fertile (that is, most self-destructing) are the
same urban intellectuals who worry most about environmental destruction.
Equally strange is our indifference to these well-known and incontrovertible facts. We are more concerned with a presumed plight of obscure insects in a remote Peruvian valley than with our own fate. There are government and nongovernmental organizations and regulations dealing with declining populations of kangaroo rats, but not of humans. We behave as if some evil spell anaesthetized our basic instinct of self-preservation (which includes raising children and grandchildren). It is hard to chase away this spell because it is another side of our prosperity. We crave it but are not adapted to it.
To exist, any organism constantly struggles to separate the good side of nature from the bad side. Due to the
brilliance of our species, we are more successful than others in disarming the external forces that harm us. Damage to nature done in the process is greatly exaggerated; the constructive destruction of evolution goes on as ever. Inadvertently, as if to reassert or restore some kind of interconnectedness and balance in the world, real damage is done to our inner nature. It needs healing badly.
Darwin, C. 1859. On the origin of
species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured
races in the struggle for life. A facsimile of
the first edition. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts,
School of Forestry
University of Arkansas
Monticello, AR 71656-3468
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to help focus your review.
a) Meeting title, organizer, location, sponsoring organizations?
b) What were the meeting objectives, i.e., what scientific problems was the meeting organized to solve? Who cares (i.e., what was the relevance of this scientific problem to related ones under examination)?
c) How well did the meeting meet the objectives? Were there specific papers delivered or roundtables/discussion groups that were exemplary in reaching the objectives? You may concentrate the review on only the outstanding papers to the exclusion of all others, or give a comprehensive view of all presentations/meeting activities, or examine a selection of papers that neither describes all, nor focuses on a very few.
d) What new was discussed? What previously weak hypotheses were strengthened, confirmed or supported? Were any breakthroughs, or new or innovative hypotheses presented, that forced participants to rethink current concepts?
e) Was there anything else important that the meeting accomplished that may not have been part of its explicit objectives?
f) What subjects relevant to the meeting objectives were missing or left out? Did the scientific components of the problem that were included produce a strong slant or serious void by virtue of blind spots by the organizers, failure of invitees to appear, or similar difficulties?
g) Are there plans for a proceedings issue or meeting summary document, and if so who is editing it, who is publishing it, and when is it planned to appear (i.e., where can interested folks learn more about the meeting?)
TECHNOLOGICAL TOOLS: Submissions for this section should be sent to the Section Editor in charge of the section: Dr. David Inouye, Department of Zoology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742. E-mail: email@example.com
ECOLOGY 101: Submissions should be sent to the Section Editor in charge of this section: Dr. Harold Ornes, College of Sciences, SB 310A, Southern Utah University, Cedar City, UT 84720. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
FOCUS ON FIELD STATIONS: Correspondence and discussions about submissions to this section should be sent to Allen M. Solomon, Bulletin Editor-in-Chief, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 200 S.W. 35th Street, Corvallis, OR 97333. Phone: (541) 754-4772. Fax: (541) 754-4799. E-mail: email@example.com.
OBITUARIES AND RESOLUTIONS OF RESPECT: Details of ESA policy are published in the Bulletin, Volume 72(2):157158, June 1991, and are abstracted below. The death of any deceased member will be acknowledged by the Bulletin in an Obituary upon submission of the information by a colleague to the Historical Records Committee. The Obituary should include a few sentences describing the persons history (date and place of birth, professional address and title) and professional accomplishments. Longer Resolutions of Respect, up to three printed pages, will be solicited for all former ESA officers and winners of major awards, or for other ecologists on approval by the President. Solicited Resolutions of Respect will take precedence over unsolicited contributions, and either must be submitted to the Historical Records Committee (see ESA website) before publication in the Bulletin.