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Biodiversity in DrylandsToward a Unified Framework$
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Moshe Shachak, Stewart T. A. Pickett, James R. Gosz, and Avi Perevolotski

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195139853

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780195139853.001.0001

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Sustainability in Arid Grasslands: New Technology Applications for Management

Sustainability in Arid Grasslands: New Technology Applications for Management

(p.250) 15 Sustainability in Arid Grasslands: New Technology Applications for Management
Biodiversity in Drylands

Thomas K. Budge

Arian Pregenzer

Oxford University Press

As biodiversity, ecosystem function, and ecosystem services become more closely linked with human well-being at all scales, the study of ecology takes on increasing social, economic, and political importance. However, when compared with other disciplines long linked with human well-being, such as medicine, chemistry, and physics, the technical tools and instruments of the ecologist have generally lagged behind those of the others. This disparity is beginning to be overcome with the increasing use of biotelemetric techniques, microtechnologies, satellite and airborne imagery, geographic information systems (GIS), and both regional and global data networks. We believe that the value and efficiency of ecosystem studies can advance significantly with more widespread use of existing technologies, and with the adaptation of technologies currently used in other disciplines to ecosystem studies. More importantly, the broader use of these technologies is critical for contributing to the preservation of biodiversity and the development of sustainable natural resource use by humans. The concept of human management of biodiversity and natural systems is a contentious one. However, we assert that as human population and resource consumption continue to increase, biodiversity and resource sustainability will only be preserved by increasing management efforts—if not of the biodiversity and resources themselves, then of human impacts on them. The technologies described in this chapter will help enable better management efforts. In this context, biodiversity refers not only to numbers of species (i.e., richness) in an arbitrarily defined area, but also to species abundances within that area. Sustainability refers to the maintenance of natural systems, biodiversity, and resources for the benefit of future generations. Arid-land grazing systems support human social systems and economies in regions all over the world, and can be expected to play increasingly critical roles as human populations increase. Further, grazing systems represent a nexus of natural and domesticated systems. In these systems, native biodiversity exists side by side with introduced species and populations, and in fact can benefit from them.

Keywords:   Adaptive management, Climate, DNA microarrays, Ecosystem function, Ground-truthing, Hydrology, Land Use, Plant cover, Remote sensing, Satellite imagery

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