Ecological and Evolutionary Processes

Authored by: Roland C. de Gouvenain , Gopalasamy Reuben Clements

Encyclopedia of Natural Resources

Print publication date:  July  2014
Online publication date:  June  2014

Print ISBN: 9781439852583
eBook ISBN: 9781351043847
Adobe ISBN:

10.1081/E-ENRL-120047426

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Abstract

Because many of the natural resources we harvest are the products of ecosystems, overexploitation of these resources can degrade the ecological and evolutionary processes that sustain these ecosystems. Loss of species and genetic diversity from unsustainable resource extraction removes the natural variation upon which natural selection operates to allow evolutionary change, and without which the earth’s biota may no longer be able to adapt to human-induced or natural environmental changes. Sustainable resource extraction ensures not only that future human generations will enjoy these resources, but also that the ecosystems that generate these resources will maintain the capacity to do so as Earth’s environments change.

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