Geographic Investigation

Biodiversity is nothing more than the wide variety of life that Earth has enabled to grow interdependently since organisms first came into existence.  Biodiversity is important because life is never lived alone apart from other organisms or their environment.  We have developed in competition and in need of other species.  A variety of plant types are necessary not just to add interest to our meals but continue to support our lives.  Oaks are more than just a great place to sit in the shade or swing from their limbs.  They process carbon we breathe out or burn in our automobiles, they stabilize soils from erosion, their leaves can enrich the soils of a garden and their wood provides the raw materials for part of homes.  They also perform many other services that don’t have anything to do with humans.  All said we need the widest variety of plants and animals to give us options when some organisms get out of balance.  Diseases that adapt to the monocultures in modern fields will require us to find varieties that are resistant to their effects.  Each individual life is an organism whose species has figured out how to master their surroundings and support the balance required by all to make an ecosystem work. 

You will investigate principals of how the non-living systems vary on the planet.  These abiotic features such as long term temperature or precipitation make up the climate for an area.  Plants and animals develop mechanisms to take advantage of this climate and to live with each other. Regions of similar climate and vegetation types worldwide are known as biomes.  Preserving life’s diversity will require preserving the environment surrounding it.  With growing pressure to also provide for humankind, it will be important to look for the most critical biomes with the richest diversity.   Your job will be to look at current richness in diversity and availability maps to propose where we could make the biggest difference in protecting diversity naturally.


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“Lessons learned by geographical scientists in the past two decades from attempts to model the process of land-use and land-cover change, and to project future distributions of land use and land cover, suggest that socially sensitive and integrated research approaches within the geographical sciences could greatly assist in the development and implementation of viable conservation strategies (e.g., Pontius et al., 2007). The ability of the geographical sciences to combine field studies, remote sensing data, climate data, and land change models to understand ecosystem changes and biodiversity distribution will be critical to developing land-use policies and conservation strategies in the coming decade.” (UCP, 40)

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