32 - 11/11/10 Lecture 32: Biodiversity Why care about...

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11/11/10 1 Lecture 32: Biodiversity Why care about biodiversity? – Products – Services (Ecosystem functions) – Economic Values – Aesthetic and Intrinsic Values Examples, con’t. • Rosy Periwinkle – Has yielded two cancer drugs: vincristine and vinblastine – Treats leukemia and Hodgkin’s disease – Native only to forests of Madagascar – Threatened by deforestation “Why should we care? What difference does it make if some species are extinguished, if even half of all the species on Earth disappear? Let me count the ways. New sources of scientific information will be lost. Vast potential biological wealth will be destroyed. Still undeveloped medicines, crops, pharmaceuticals, timber, fibers, pulp, soil-restoring vegetation, petroleum substitutes and other products and amenities will never come to light. It is fashionable in some quarters to wave aside the small and obscure, the bugs and weeds, forgetting that an obscure moth from Latin America saved Australia's pastureland from overgrowth by cactus, that the rosy periwinkle provided the cure for Hodgkin's disease and childhood Iymphocytic leukemia, that the bark of the Pacific yew offers hope for victims of ovarian and breast cancer, that a chemical from the saliva of leeches dissolves
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32 - 11/11/10 Lecture 32: Biodiversity Why care about...

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