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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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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 27 November 2021

Unified Framework III: Human Interactions with Biodiversity

Unified Framework III: Human Interactions with Biodiversity

Chapter:
(p.305) 18 Unified Framework III: Human Interactions with Biodiversity
Source:
Biodiversity in Drylands
Author(s):

Anna A. Sher

Bruce M. Kahn

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780195139853.003.0025

Considering humans as components of ecosystems is not new; geographers have been doing it in human ecology departments for decades (see Field and Burch 1988). There have also been many volumes dedicated to the subject (McDonnel and Pickett 1993, Schnaiberg and Gould 1994, Catton 1982, Wilson 1988). Recently there has been a development in the field of ecology to consider humans as a part of ecosystems, rather than simply agents of destruction, including the full complexity of human interactions (including social, cultural, and economic) with the environment (chapter 17 this volume, Folke et al. 1996, Turner and Carpenter 1999, Pickett et al. 1999, Haeuber and Ringold 1998). The goal of this chapter is to provide a framework for the types of interactions between humans and biodiversity. We use biodiversity as an umbrella term encompassing genetic, species, and landscape diversities (chapter 1 this volume). In particular, we emphasize human–biodiversity interactions in the context of arid and semiarid ecosystems. In part I, we analyze the various types of human–biodiversity interactions. In part II we suggest a framework for the study of these interactions. Not only do humans have the power to affect biodiversity, but biodiversity impacts humans as well. The nature of this reciprocal relationship can be positive and/or negative. Our reference to positive and negative impacts on biodiversity will usually be in the mathematical sense, that is, an increase or decrease in species and landscape diversity. However, we must be careful not to put a value judgment on such numbers. Increases in species or habitat diversity are not necessarily desirable for all ecosystems or management goals. All the elements of biodiversity are not equal in terms of ecological and economical value. For example, restoration efforts for a few endemic species may be detrimental to other, nonendemic species, resulting in less species diversity. This may especially be true when the diversity of weedy species that have taken over a disturbed area is threatened by restoring historical conditions. In this case, a lower level of biodiversity that includes native species may be more desirable than a higher level of nonendemic species diversity.

Keywords:   American Southwest, Bedouins, Chemical inputs, Desertification, Ecosystem management, Fire disturbance, Global change, Human activities, Invasive species

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