August 30, 2010

Biodiversity: what's the big deal?

By Biodiversity: what's the big deal?

Author:  Damien M. Schiff

So asks James McWilliams in a recent oped in the New York Times' Freakonomics blog.  McWilliams, a professor at Texas State University and a professed environmentalist, makes the point that, because we don't know what is the "baseline" for prehistoric numbers of species on Earth, we cannot say whether the loss today of any one species necessarily will inflict a serious blow to biodiversity.  McWilliams cites a recent Swedish study concluding that golf courses often provide as much if not more biodiversity than would exist were the golf courses replaced by native flora and fauna.

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