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Perspectives on Biodiversity: Valuing Its Role in an Everchanging World

By: National Research Council

151 pages, no illustrations

National Academies Press (NAP)

Paperback | Aug 1999 | #107908 | ISBN: 030906581X
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NHBS Price: £26.99 $35/€31 approx

About this book

Reviews current understanding of the value of biodiversity and the methods that are useful in assessing that value in particular circumstances. It recommends and details a list of components-including diversity of species, genetic variability within and among species, distribution of species across the ecosystem, the aesthetic satisfaction derived from diversity, and the duty to preserve and protect biodiversity.


Introduction: case study: Camp Pendleton; case study: Western Rangelands; the Committee and its report. What is biodiversity?: species, populations, and genes; genetic diversity and adaptation; measures of biodiversity; endemism and diversity across space; landscapes as biodiversity; species are histories; biologically based ranking and rating methods. The values of biodiversity: biological values; social and cultural values. Different ways of thinking about value: consequentialism and utilitarianism; libertarianism and contractarianism; Kantian ethics; egalitarianism and environmental justice; deep ecology; discursive ethics; religious and sacred views; implications of various viewpoints for the value of biodiversity. Economic methods of valuation: theoretical foundations; methods of valuation; applicability to biodiversity; examples. Management and decision-making: the problems facing managers; why deliberate?; case study: Lake Washington; analytic deliberation processes: a useful tool; deliberation, learning, and the decision process. Broadening the biodiversity manager's perspective. Appendices: statement of task; biographical sketches; acknowledgements.

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Committee on Noneconomic and Economic Value of Biodiversity, National Research Council

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