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Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index B > Category: Biodiversity

Biodiversity Quotes (25 quotes)


Biodiversity is our most valuable but least appreciated resource.
In 'Unmined Riches', The Diversity of Life (1992), 281.
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Change—and extinctions—are inevitable. There are many things totally out of our control. I think we have to come up with a formula that will enable us to preserve biodiversity without necessarily managing it in the sense of trying to freeze it in time. It can't be kept as we first knew it.
From interview with Scott Harris, 'Conversations: Richard Leakey (July-Aug '96)' originally on website of emagazine.com.
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Forests are a fundamental component of our planet’s recovery. They are the best technology nature has for locking away carbon. And they are centers of biodiversity. Again, the two features work together. The wilder and more diverse forests are, the more effective they are at absorbing carbon from the atmosphere
From narration to Netflix TV program, A Life on Our Planet: My Witness Statement and a Vision for the Future (4 Oct 2020).
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I always dreamed that man was a stranger on this planet.
As quoted in Jon, Michael and Deborah Fripp, Speaking of Science (2000), 167, citing “in conversation with Bill Smollers.”
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I do recall that the strong sense of curiosity about the botanical world came from family canoe trips where we would just drift through boggy rivers and wetlands, without any goal except for looking at things. I learned that curiosity could be a pursuit. And the plants there were so unlike any I’d ever seen, the pitcher plants, the sundews, the brightly colored Sphagnum mosses, I couldn’t help but wonder why the world was so full of different beings and what their lives were like.
From interview with Stephanie Muise (19 May 2015) published on web site of Northland College.
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It is that range of biodiversity that we must care for—the whole thing—rather than just one or two stars.
From BBC interview. As cited in Bruce L. Smith, Stories from Afield: Adventures with Wild Things in Wild (2016), 185.
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It’s never been more important for us to understand the effects of biodiversity loss… only if we do that, will we have any hope of averting disaster.
From BBC TV program Extinction: The Facts (13 Sep 2020). As quoted in press release on a BBC Media Centre web page.
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Microwildenesses exist in a handful of soil…. A lifetime can be spent in a Magellanic voyage around the trunk of a single tree.
From 'Biodiversity, Biophilia', Naturalist (1994, 2019), 364.
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More than 90 percent of the forests of western Ecuador have been destroyed during the past four decades.The loss is estimated to have extinguished or doomed over half of the species of the area’s plants and animals. Many other biologically diverse areas of the world are under similar assault.
In The Diversity of Life (1992), 265.
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Natural species are the library from which genetic engineers can work. Genetic engineers don’t make new genes, they rearrange existing ones.
Speaking as World Wildlife Fund Executive Vice President, stating the need to conserve biodiversity, even plants and animals having no immediate use, as a unique repository of genes for possible future bioengineering applications. Quoted in Jamie Murphy and Andrea Dorfman, `The Quiet Apocalypse,' Time (13 Oct 1986), 128, No. 15, 80.
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One gram of moss from the forest floor, a piece about the size of a muffin, would harbor 150,000 protozoa, 132,000 tardigrades, 3,000 springtails, 800 rotifers, 500 nematodes, 400 mites, and 200 fly larvae. These numbers tell us something about the astounding quantity of life in a handful of moss.
In 'In the Forest of the Waterbear', Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses (2003), 55.
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People still do not understand that a live fish is more valuable than a dead one, and that destructive fishing techniques are taking a wrecking ball to biodiversity.
In 'Can We Stop Killing Our Oceans Now, Please?', Huffington Post (14 Aug 2013).
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Relatively few benefits have flowed to the people who live closest to the more than 3,000 protected areas that have been established in tropical countries during the past 50 years. For this reason, the preservation of biodiversity is often thought of as something that poor people are asked to do to fulfill the wishes of rich people living in comfort thousands of miles away.
…...
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Scientists themselves readily admit that they do not fully understand the consequences of our many-faceted assault upon the interwoven fabric of atmosphere, water, land and life in all its biological diversity. But things could also turn out to be worse than the current scientific best guess. In military affairs, policy has long been based on the dictum that we should be prepared for the worst case. Why should it be so different when the security is that of the planet and our long-term future?
Speech, 'Global Security Lecture' at Cambridge University (28 Apr 1993).
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The coastal zone may be the single most important portion of our planet. The loss of its biodiversity may have repercussions far beyond our worst fears.
In 'Ecological Diversity and Coastal Zones and Oceans', collected in E. O. Wilson (ed.), Biodiversity (1988), 48.
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The cutting of primeval forest and other disasters, fueled by the demands of growing human populations, are the overriding threat to biological diversity everywhere. (1992)
The Diversity of Life (1999), 259
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The gold rush in Madre de Dios, Peru, exceeds the combined effects of all other causes of forest loss in the region, including from logging, ranching and agriculture. This is really important because we’re talking about a global biodiversity hotspot. The region’s incredible flora and fauna is being lost to gold fever.
As quoted by Rhett A. Butler in article 'Gold mining in the Amazon rainforest surges 400%' on monabay.com website (28 Oct 2013).
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The interior of the rain forest is overwhelming in its complexity. There is not a bare surface anywhere. Branches are hung with curtains of mosses and sprays of orchids dangle among them. Tree trunks are filmed over with algae, studded by giant ferns, and wound about with vines. Ants travel in convoys across the ground and up the trees, and metallic beetles glint in sun-flecks on the forest floor. The forest itself is richly textured, stems embossed with every manner of protuberance, leaves ornamented by spines and pleats, scales and fringes. Long shafts of sunlight cut through the dark canopy and catch the flash of iridescent butterfly wings before diffusing in the vegetation below.
In 'In the Forest of the Waterbear', Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses (2003), 55.
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The living world is a unique and spectacular marvel. Billions of individuals, and millions of kinds of plants and animals …. Working together to benefit from the energy of the sun and the minerals of the earth. Leading lives that interlock in such a way that they sustain each other. We rely entirely on this finely tuned life-support machine. And it relies on its biodiversity to run smoothly. Yet the way we humans live on Earth now is sending biodiversity into a decline.
From introductory narration to Netflix TV program, A Life on Our Planet: My Witness Statement and a Vision for the Future (4 Oct 2020).
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The maintenance of biological diversity requires special measures that extend far beyond the establishment of nature reserves. Several reasons for this stand out. Existing reserves have been selected according to a number of criteria, including the desire to protect nature, scenery, and watersheds, and to promote cultural values and recreational opportunities. The actual requirements of individual species, populations, and communities have seldom been known, nor has the available information always been employed in site selection and planning for nature reserves. The use of lands surrounding nature reserves has typically been inimical to conservation, since it has usually involved heavy use of pesticides, industrial development, and the presence of human settlements in which fire, hunting, and firewood gathering feature as elements of the local economy.
The Fragmented Forest: Island Biogeography Theory and the Preservation of Biotic Diversity (1984), xii.
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The most commonly used measure of biodiversity is species richness, which simply means the number of species in one place. But that measure alone does not tell us how healthy an ecosystem is. For example, think of a pristine coral reef and an overfished coral reef. The pristine reef might have dozens of gray reef sharks, whereas the overfished reef could have just one shark left.
From The Nature of Nature: Why We Need the Wild (2020), Ch. 9.
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The only biodiversity we’re going to have left is Coke versus Pepsi. … We’re landscaping the whole world one stupid mistake at a time.
In Lullaby: A Novel (2002), 115.
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There are three levels of biodiversity that we’re trying to save: ecosystems, then the species in the ecosystems, and then the genes that prescribe traits of the species that make up the ecosystem. And we should decide upon areas to be saved not by the general appearance or what are the main ecosystems in them. We don’t know enough about ecosystems. We should be choosing them according to the number of species that are in each. And particularly the number of endangered species of some kind.
From interview with National Geographic, in Andrew Revkin, 'Conservation Legend Has Big Plans For Future', on nationalgeographic.com website.
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To restore stability to our planet, therefore, we must restore its biodiversity, the very thing we have removed. It is the only way out of this crisis that we ourselves have created. We must rewild the world!
As quoted, without source, in Kate Ng, 'David Attenborough turns 95: His best quotes on nature, sustainability and humankind', Independent (8 May 2021).
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“Biodiversity” … is the key to the maintenance of the world as we know it. Life in a local site struck down by a passing storm springs back quickly because enough diversity still exists. … This is the assembly of life that took a billion years to evolve. It has eaten the storms—folded them into its genes—and created the world that created us. It holds the world steady.
In The Diversity of Life (1992, 1999), 15.
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Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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