Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Now THAT'S what I call an ecosystem service.

Okay listen up endangered species. Do you want to get noticed? Do you want some protection? Well how about you start performing some useful service..... Can't filter water or cycle nutrients? Well how about lowering the prevalence of disease? Take a tip from the Western Fence Lizard and start asking not what mankind can do for you but what YOU can do for mankind.
I'm guessing some of you have come across the idea of ecosystem services before. It is becoming more and more widely used as an argument for the conservation of species and ecosystems. Personally I have to admit I find the reliance on this argument to be increasingly disturbing since there may be a great many species whose presence cannot be justified based on the services they provide. Do we really need 3,500 species of mosquito? What about species that are neither harmful nor beneficial but some people just find 'ikky'?

There was a nice article in the San Francisco Chornicle in 1998 describing the lizard-tick-cleansing story.

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