Navigation Links
Managing uncertainty important in ecological balance: ASU researcher
Date:2/17/2008

BOSTON -- The balance of nature looms prominently in the public mind these days. Climate change, genetically modified plants and animals, and globally declining fish stocks are but a few of the issues that remind us that ours is a fragile world. Or is it?

It depends on whom you ask, says Ann Kinzig, an Arizona State University associate professor in the School of Life Sciences specializing in biology and society. According to her research, ideas about natures balance diverge across lines of culture, livelihood and political ideology.

Kinzig will present her observations on Feb. 17 at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting.

Some view nature as fragile, easily upset by human activity and in need of protection, Kinzig says. Others view nature as extremely robust and nearly endless in its capacity to continue to supply needed resources in the face of heavy human exploitation. Still others have more nuanced viewpoints or inconsistent perceptions.

The condition of the natural world is not an either-or proposition the biosphere is never perfectly balanced or wholly poised on the brink of a precipitous crash, Kinzig says. It can be at once robust and fragile, stable and unstable. Moreover, instability in one part of the ecological system may be required to maintain stability in another, as when variations in the populations of individual plant species act to stabilize the overall biomass of an ecosystem. Ones interpretation is greatly dependent upon which features are examined and at what scale.

Similarly, humans can have a beneficial or a detrimental effect on resilience, or both. According to Kinzig, there is no theoretical reason to conclude that ecological systems would grow more resilient in absence of human influences.

Human interaction could, in theory, serve to either increase or decrease resilience, she says. In practice, it does both, though the examples of human interaction degrading resilience are more numerous.

If uncertainty can never fully be eliminated from our understanding of nature, then scientists, decision makers and the public must consider it in their deliberations and ask what risks they are willing to take in managing the worlds ecological systems.

Uncertainty can and should influence management decisions, Kinzig says. Our perceptions about the robustness or vulnerability of nature may be wrong. If we have as our model that nature is fragile, and it isnt, what opportunities do we miss? If we perceive it to be robust, and it isnt, what consequences do we suffer?


'/>"/>

Contact: Skip Derra
skip.derra@asu.edu
480-965-4823
Arizona State University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Managing nuclear wastes for the millennia
2. Uncertainty drives the evolution of cooperative breeding in birds
3. Nicotinic receptors may be important targets for treatment of multiple addictions
4. Scientists discover important beauty secret for balanced skin color and tone
5. Fossilized cashew nuts reveal Europe was important route between Africa and South America
6. Researchers discover important tool in understanding differentiation in human embryonic stem cells
7. Lipids in the brain an important factor for Alzheimers disease?
8. It is important to demonstrate the influence of the microenvironment in the process of metastasis
9. 2 genes are important key to regulating immune response
10. Book on weeds and invasive plants discusses how to manage them using ecological approaches
11. Biogeochemistry -- A window into the Earths ecological health
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/9/2016)...  Perkotek an innovation leader in attendance control systems is proud to announce the ... employers to make sure the right employees are actually signing in, and to even ... ... ... ...
(Date:6/7/2016)... TORONTO , June 7, 2016  Syngrafii ... begun a business relationship that includes integrating Syngrafii,s ... pilot branch project. This collaboration will result in ... for the credit union, while maintaining existing document ... http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160606/375871LOGO ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... The Department of Transport Management (DOTM) ... million US Dollar project, for the , Supply ... Enrolment, and IT Infrastructure , to ... implementation of Identity Management Solutions. Numerous renowned international vendors participated ... was selected for the most compliant and innovative ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... Calif. , June 23, 2016  Blueprint Bio, ... biological discoveries to the medical community, has closed its ... Matthew Nunez . "We have received ... with the capital we need to meet our current ... essentially provide us the runway to complete validation on ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 On Wednesday, June ... 4,833.32, down 0.22%; the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged 0.27% ... at 2,085.45, down 0.17%. Stock-Callers.com has initiated coverage on the ... Nektar Therapeutics (NASDAQ: NKTR ), Aralez Pharmaceuticals Inc. ... BIND ). Learn more about these stocks by ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... WI (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... focused on quality, regulatory and technical consulting, provides a free webinar ... presented on July 13, 2016 at 12pm CT at no charge. , Incomplete ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... SAN FRANCISCO , June 22, 2016  Amgen ... platinum sponsorship of the QB3@953 life sciences ... improve human health. The shared laboratory space at QB3@953 ... startups overcome a key obstacle for many early stage ... As part of the sponsorship, Amgen launched two "Amgen ...
Breaking Biology Technology: