July 11, 2007

Ornithology and politics

The [Millennium Ecosystem Assessment] scenarios that proactively acknowledge that the natural environment provides crucial services to the human economy seem likely to conserve both a higher quality of life for the human population and a higher diversity of species.
This statement, that lies somewhere between insight and tautology, is the final conclusion of a paper by Walter Jetz, David S. Wilcove and Andrew P. Dobson in PLoS Biology (Projected Impacts of Climate and Land-Use Change on the Global Diversity of Birds). Their study of the geographic distributions of bird species and the spatial patterns of future climate change and land conversion supports the idea that certain environmentalist policies will help preserve more bird species. But their study doesn't deal with human well-being except in the quoted ending sentence. PLoS Biology has allowed a snippet of political propaganda in an otherwise biological article.

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