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Modern alchemy, fusion energy and more from Princeton
Date:2/17/2013

fungi and microbes buttress the ecosystems that humanity needs to flourish. Yet this biodiversity is threatened by numerous human activities, and conservation while plausible is increasingly difficult to enact for cultural, political and economic reasons. Wilcove will discuss three indicators for gauging the planet's biodiversity: the percentage of bird, mammal and amphibian species, respectively, that are considered endangered; the integrity of animal communities, and the ability to protect those animals from encroachment and poaching; and the abundance of migratory species, which carry out crucial roles such as pollinators. All three indices are trending downward with animal species and natural areas rapidly disappearing, particularly in developing nations. The already-difficult task of ensuring healthy ecosystems will be further hamstrung by climate change, new industrialization and a lack of international cooperation.

* Mission impossible: "Proof-first" management of complex adaptive systems
Simon Levin, George M. Moffett Professor of Biology
Friday, Feb. 15, 8:30 a.m., Room 300

Efforts to conserve the natural world must acknowledge that ecosystems and economic markets are vast intertwined and unpredictable systems wherein individual actions generate communal consequences. Known as "complex adaptive systems," such frameworks require a unique consideration of the motivations and limitations of individual members, in this case, people and governments. Steps toward sustainability must anticipate and understand the varying degrees to which people balance natural preservation with economic pursuits balances that can change unpredictably depending on factors such as economic fortunes and national leaders. Yet current conservation work is largely reactive and inefficient. Creating a sustainable future requires institutions and policies that can foresee and quickly adapt to ecological and economic changes, foster cooperation amon
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Contact: Morgan Kelly
mgnkelly@princeton.edu
609-258-5729
Princeton University
Source:Eurekalert

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