ERIC Number: ED252374
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1984
The Loss of Genetic Diversity: An Impending Global Issue.
Pierce, James P.
Definitions of biosphere and ecosystem are provided as the basis for understanding a problem that threatens to become (or already is) a global issue, namely, human activity which results in reducing the diversity of life forms present in the biosphere as an ecosystem. Two aspects of this problem are: (1) the growth of human populations worldwide crowding out other species as they are overcome in the resulting competition for space and food; and (2) the practice of eugenics, which has worked to reduce individual variation that exists within a species. Although there have been efforts to counteract the general reduction of genetic variabilty in domestic plants and animals, these efforts are small and slight at best. The greatest loss of genetic material is now going on in tropical rainforests, which are being cut by commercial loggers and cleared for farms and ranches at an alarming rate. The reasons for and consequences of this practice are addressed, as well as implications for all living things. The loss of the biosphere's genetic variability (as illustrated by the examples in this paper) transcends national boundaries and requires policy action on the part of all concerned parties to resolve the problem. (JN)
Publication Type: Reports - General; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A