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FOREWORD

In his usual well-written, entertaining, and clear style, Chris Maser once again has produced a writing likely to generate considerable dialogue among all "stakeholders" of our global natural resources. From industry, environmental, and political leaders to researcher, entrepreneurs, and community activists—Maser provides no escape for any of us in our responsibilities to acknowledge and work toward achieving long-term ecological diversity.

If the author's cited case studies are any example, achieving ecological diversity is not only a hugely daunting task but also one for which humans, especially Western civilization, have little talent (versus skill). We concentrate far too much on product versus process, on abundance versus balance, on science versus nature, on machine versus man. Our vision tends toward the myopic, and our focus in thought and action is (all too often) short term.

I, for one, am less critical of Western civilization on these matters. And while there will always be exceptions throughout time, I believe we as humans will always strive to make the right choices—to do the right thing—not only for ourselves but also for future civilizations. I also believe that in order to make those right choices, we must consistently and persuasively be reminded of the consequences and the what ifs—as they have unfolded in the past, as they will occur again in the future, without our due diligence. It is this that Maser does so well.

Do not expect to feel comfortable about the issues and examples raised in Maser's work. You will not. Do not expect to find solutions neatly spelled out for you. They are not there. Rather, expect to be challenged, to struggle, to debate, to create. 'Ecological Diversity in Sustainable Development: The Vital and Forgotten Dimension' is a book you will remember.

Catherine M. Mater
Vice President Mater Engineering, Ltd.
Corvallis, Oregon

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     The Dimensions of diversity


TABLE OF CONTENTS

PREFACE

PART I: DIVERSITY AS A PART OF NATURE

CHAPTER 1: SURVIVAL, ECONOMICS, AND DIVERSITY
The Chocolate Crisis
The right of personal survival

CHAPTER 2: THE UNIVERSE IS BORN

CHAPTER 3: DIVERSITY IS THE QUALITY OF BEING DIFFERENT
Diversity as a Matter of Dimension
Scale, From the Microscope to Infinity
Diversity in Time
Life, The Creator of Infinite Diversity
How Diversity Compounds Itself
Perception, What I See that You Don't
Perception and Reality
Diversity as a Matter of Relationship
Chemical Diversity
When a Chair Is Not a Chair
Ecosystems Have Built-in Redundancy
Ecosystems as Dissipative Structures
Patterns Across the Landscape
Context Affects Relationship

CHAPTER 4: CREATION AND EXTINCTION
On Species
What Is a Species? Where Do Species Come From? Where Do They Go?
How Species Enrich the World
Of Trees and Salmon
        Trees in Time and Space Leaves
        Flowers and Fruits
        Branches
        Trunk
        Roots
From the Forest to the Sea and Back Again
        The Stream-Order Continuum and Driftwood
        The Salmon's Story
Genetic Stepping-stones
        The People
        The Trees
        The Fish
When Habitats Change
Past Changes in Habitat
Present Changes in Habitat
As Habitats Go, So Go Their Species
When Climate Changes
Thinking of a Landscape
How Ecological Variables Interact with Climate to Form a Landscape
Climate Change and the Migration of Ecosystems
Short-Term Patterns in the Climate
Possible Effects of the Human Influence on Climate
Purposely Created Extinction
Extinction, The Individual Versus the Species
The Trilogy of Extinction
Intellectually Created Extinction
The Economics of Extinction
Manifested Extinction
A Lesson in a Box
Extinction as a Moral Issue
The Choice Is Ours

PART II: CULTURE AND DIVERSITY
CHAPTER 5: CULTURE, DIVERSITY, AND EVOLUTION
Language, The Key To Conscious Evolution And Technological Development
Evolution Versus Development
What Is Meant By Development?

CHAPTER 6: THE MARCH OF CULTURES
The Culturalization Of Landscapes
Fragility Of Ecosystems
Soil And Agriculture
Genesis of Soil
        Physical Weathering
        Chemical Weathering
        The Addition of Organic Material to Mineral Soil
Infrastructure of Soil
Indigenous Peoples Of The Americas
The Landscape
The Indigenous Population
Recovery of the Land
Inventing the National Myth
In the Name of History

CHAPTER 7: THE SACRED AND THE PROFANE
How People Think
Cyclical Thinking
Linear Thinking
A Clash of Cultures
The rights of Private Property and The Ownership Of Land
What Is a Right?
Rights of Use Became Rights of Private Property
        Aztecs
        Paiutes
        Yanomami
Private Property and Linear Thinking
Trying to Own Diversity
        Corporate Power
        Stealing the Diversity of Life
        The Rights of Intellectual Property
        Call It Scientific/Corporate Progress, It Is Still "Biopiracy"
        Legalizing Biopiracy
        Biopiracy Is Steeped in Hidden Social/Ecological Risks
        Cloning
        The Untested Product
Controlling Diversity Through Centralization

PART III: DIVERSITY AS THE FOUNDATION OF SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITY

CHAPTER 8: LOCAL TECHNOLOGY AND GLOBAL CONSEQUENCES
A Ditch
The First Ditch
Lessons from a Ditch
The Stream/Ditch-Order Continuum
Ditches of Death
A Dam
A Warning About the Aswan High Dam
The Dam Is Built
What About the Nubian People?
An Explosion of Rats
The Aswan High Dam and Global Climate
Can We Control the Effects of That Which We Introduce Into the Environment?
Adding Something to the Environment
Subtracting Something from the Environment
How We Think Determines Our Actions
        Nuclear Waste at Home
        Nuclear Waste Abroad
        Shifting Our Thinking
How One Introduction Leads to Another
Weapons
Domestication of Animals

CHAPTER 9: DEALING WITH SCALES OF DIVERSITY
Diversity Within the Context of Time and Space Across a Landscape
Large-Scale Diversity on Public Lands
Small-Scale Diversity on Private Lands
        Example 1
        Example 2
        Example 3
        Example 4
                 Domestic Cats
                 Holly
Diversity Within the Context of Time And Space of a Community
Diversity in the Long View of Time--Relatively Speaking
Diversity in the Medium View of Time
Diversity in the Short View of Time
Existing Human Talents, Skills, and Experience
Talent
Skill
Experience

CHAPTER 10: DIVERSITY IS THE WEALTH OF SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITY
Wealth Versus Money
Mythology, Diversity, And Lifestyle
If We Are Serious About Wanting A Quality Lifestyle
Honest Intentions and Honest Decisions
Losing Diversity to Diversity
Thou Shalt Not Steal Diversity
Diversity--Going, Going, Gone
Inadvertent Loss of Diversity
The Corporate Revolution in Agriculture
Loss of Crop Diversity to Economics
Protecting Diversity Through Land-Use Planning
The Effect of Modifying Habitat
Constraints,The Building Blocks of Protecting Diversity
Cumulative Effects, Thresholds, Lag Periods, and the Continuum
Open Space
Communal Open Space
Water
Quiet
Surrounding Landscape
        Agricultural Cropland
        Forestland
        Riparian Areas and Floodplains
Transportation
Population
Conclusions

ENDNOTES

REFERENCES
(Return to Top of Page)

Endorsements:

"Our world is filled with unseen wonders—the most phenomenal of which is the often hidden beauty of the diversity that surrounds us. Apart from the beauty diversity brings to our lives, it is also absolutely necessary to the sustainability of life itself.

"The importance of diversity is overlooked in the social realm, yet decisions made in that realm affect all of society for generations. Planners tend to ignore ecological diversity because they don't understand it. Ecological Diversity in Sustainable Development: The Vital and Forgotten Dimension makes that clear. The author tackles this difficult problem: how are we to maintain sustainable diversity in the Earth's ecosystems and our cultural systems? He provides examples of how natural and cultural diversity have been reduced by altering the linkages between climate, soil, water, air, forests, animals, and people. The book is divided into three parts. Part one examines diversity as it is found in nature, part two considers how culture affects diversity through its evolution, and part three explores the diversity of Nature as seen through culture in an attempt to guide culture toward social/environmental sustainability.

"Anyone who is interested in the quality of life on Earth will want this book. Maser writes in easy-to-read lucid prose, providing a holistic overview of environmental issues that 21st century decision makers must address in shaping our destiny."—Publisher's Description.

"Chris Maser addresses a contemporary global problem that few have dared to tackle: How are we to maintain sustainable diversity in the Earth's ecosystems and our cultural systems? He explores the effect of human decision-making practices on the interdependent relationships between humans and their natural environment. Numerous case examples are used to illustrate how natural and cultural diversity have been reduced by altering the linkages among climate, soil, water, air, forests, animals, and people. Maser has provided a holistic overview of environmental issues that 21st century decision makers must address in shaping our destiny. Written in a easy to read lucid prose, this volume will be of interest to planners, decision makers, and anyone who cares about the quality of life on Earth."—Rob Bonnichsen, Director of the Center for the Study of First Americans, Oregon State University, Corvallis. Mt. Jeff

"I emerge, after every encounter with Chris Maser, enlightened, sober with realization and responsibilities, yet hopeful for and ready to meet the future. Reading Ecological Diversity in Sustainable Development is nearly as profound as seeing Chris in person. In this, his latest work, Maser, an environmental mediator and author of more than 250 works, has given us a useful guide to understanding ecology, to accepting and mitigating the harm we have caused to the planet, and to creating the future of our dearest visions. Willamette Valley

"Ecological Diversity in Sustainable Development is an odyssey that takes us from the cocoa plantations of Costa Rica to the Columbia River in Oregon, traces the natural history of our planet, and introduces us through delightful anecdotes to native peoples—from the Tlingit and Shoshone of North America to the Yanomami of Brazil and the Nubians of Egypt. We learn the importance of driftwood, of fertile soil and rat and tree branches and fungi and fish and insects. Maser focuses on such issues as global warming, pesticide use, forest clear-cutting, genetic engineering—gently nudging us, compelling us like a well-intentioned and honest friend, to take a frank look at the consequences of our practices:

"'We are so adaptable that we have changed the world more than any species before us, and we continue to do so. Through our incredible adaptability, we are causing changes in the world that are proving to be deleterious to the health and sustainability of our very life-support system.' (p. 175) Valley of Fire

"Although the book can be absorbed by any lay person, Ecological Diversity in Sustainable Development is not for the faint of brain. It is a sophisticated discussion demanding that we think, we examine, and we learn. Are we restoring or harming our ecosystem by removing non-native vegetation? What climate changes can we expect in the future? What are our 'rights' to the land and its resources? What are our responsibilities? Maser exposes not only the travesties wrought by short-sighted and profit-oriented resource exploitation but also those caused by our well-meaning but misguided actions. Valley of Fire

"There is, in Ecological Diversity in Sustainable Development, the theme of responsibility to future generations that permeates all of Maser's work—the familiar call to the deepest conscience, the highest ethic within each of us. And once again Maser offers possible solutions—and hope. If we are serious about wanting a quality lifestyle, he states, 'We begin by rectifying some obvious, human-created problems with honest intentions and honest decisions (p. 338).'"—Katherine Knight, The Santa Cruz Comic News, July 29, 1999.

"Chris Maser's book, 'Ecological Diversity in Sustainable Development' is a fascinating treatise on the interrelatedness of all things and the importance of diversity in healthy ecosystems. During the past year I have found it an invaluable resource for promoting discussion and developing critical thinking skills among my biology students. I also used it as a guide for discussions among our 'Talented And Gifted,' as well as any other student who was willing to spend their personal time, discussing scientific issues every two weeks during lunch. As the core reading material for many of these sessions 'Ecological Diversity in Sustainable Development' sparked more student interest and involvement than in any other year. So non-TAG students began attending the discussions and by years end I had more students involved than would fit in my classroom! The draw was due, in part, to Chris' fascinating and casual method of writing as well as to the integration of human history, philosophy, natural history, weather, and other areas of science into the intricate web of ecological sustainability."—Clair Thomas, Lakeview High School, Lakeview, Oregon.


"Drawing on a career as a researcher in natural history and ecology, Maser expands the concept of diversity from its usual biological realm to embrace all aspects of the environment. He explains that communities must maintain natural cycles of the landscape in ways that provide enough energy to survive, explores how thoughts dictate actions, argues that a rise in consciousness must precede scientific and technological solutions, and suggests how to design a future in which culture and nature are in harmony."—© Book News, Inc., Portland, OR.


" Our world is filled with unseen wonders—the most phenomenal of which is the often hidden beauty of the diversity that surrounds us. Apart from the beauty diversity brings to our lives, it is also absolutely necessary to the sustainability of life itself.

" The importance of diversity is overlooked in the social realm, yet decisions made in that realm affect all of society for generations. Planners tend to ignore ecological diversity because they don't understand it. Ecological Diversity in Sustainable Development: The Vital and Forgotten Dimension makes that clear. The author tackles this difficult problem: how are we to maintain sustainable diversity in the Earth's ecosystems and our cultural systems? He provides examples of how natural and cultural diversity have been reduced by altering the linkages between climate, soil, water, air, forests, animals, and people.

" The book is divided into three parts. Part one examines diversity as it is found in nature, part two considers how culture affects diversity through its evolution, and part three explores the diversity of Nature as seen through culture in an attempt to guide culture toward social/environmental sustainability.

"Anyone who is interested in the quality of life on Earth will want this book. Maser writes in easy-to-read lucid prose, providing a holistic overview of environmental issues that 21st century decision makers must address in shaping our destiny."—Goodreads.com (Return to Top of Page)


        

        

Tiger beetles of the genus Cicindela. Photographs by David L. Pearson, University of Arizona, Tempe.


I would rather live in a world, where my life is surrounded by mystery than live in a world so small that my mind could comprehend it. — American clergyman Henry Emerson Fosdick (Return to Top of Page)


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