Towards a theory of biodiversity

Discussion of general forest ecology concepts and of forest management practices.

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edfrank
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Towards a theory of biodiversity

Post by edfrank » Fri Jun 11, 2010 1:04 pm

Towards a theory of biodiversity
Jayanth R. Banavar and Amos Maritan
Models of ecological communities that incorporate mutation and spatial
dispersal can yield results that go some way to explaining observations.
A further step is to add sexual reproduction to the mix.

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v4 ... 60334a.pdf

More articles on Biodiversity

http://www.nature.com/nature/supplement ... diversity/
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

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dbhguru
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Re: Towards a theory of biodiversity

Post by dbhguru » Sat Jun 12, 2010 8:30 am

Ed,

I began reading the article and soon realized that the concepts are too sophisticated for a quick reading. Gotta put my thinking cap on. There is much to chew on. What I especially like is the intertwined nature of causal factors in some cases and their separation in others. It reinforces what we learn about the physical world through science. Physical processes are never as simple as they appear when we first start to think about them. I recall an article I once read on the history of the development of our understanding about the structure of matter, beginning with the Greeks. John Dalton's model of indivisible balls, Lord Rutherford's solar system model, and so on. The theories of Nuclear Physics can't even be described in a layperson's form they are so complicated. So, why should biodiversity be any different? It stands to reason that biodiversity is far more involved than can be explained by appealing to a few simple principles. We're talking about the development of millions of life forms and what leads to such a wealth of species.

The development of a forest ecosystem is far more involved that the sorting out of a few tree species over time based on light availability, moisture, soil, and temperature. Those elements are involved in a big way, but are in no way sufficient to explain the evolution of an ecosystem. There is so very much to know about biological diversity before a person can justifiably believe they are on top of the subject. I feel a debt of gratitude toward those stalwart souls who have tackled the topic. I hope we can keep this one alive on the list. It has great relevance for those of us who see important roles for old growth, big trees, stunted trees, old trees, young trees, twisted trees, straight trees, conifers, broad leafs, etc., etc. etc.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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