By Walter V. Reid
E-book through Reid, Walter V., Miller, Kenton R.
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Extra resources for Keeping Options Alive: The Scientific Basis for Conserving Biodiversity
The People's Republic of China, Japan, India, the Federal Republic of Germany, and other countries also have active research programs directed at natural drugs (Farnsworth 1988). The search for new medicines presents a tremendous opportunity for tropical countries. Relatively low-cost facilities could be established in developing countries to initially screen compounds (Eisner, in press). Such facilities would be labor-intensive and relying on them would have several advantages over shipping materials to other countries: the chance of locating active compounds would be increased since fresh materials could be tested; local industries would be developed; in-country scientific expertise would be increased; and medicines could be developed to treat the most troublesome regional diseases, such as malaria and schistosomiasis.
Most extinctions in the coming decades will occur on islands and in closed tropical forests. Regions with a Mediterranean climate also contain large numbers of threatened plants and invertebrates, and fish and aquatic invertebrates are seriously threatened in Table 7. Endangered and Vulnerable Species Taxa Mammals Birds Reptiles Amphibians Fishc Invertebrates (Class Insecta)c Invertebrates (Others)0 Vascular Plants6 Mainland 3 159 91 41 14 193 (443)d 138 233 3985 Island 6 Ocean 48 87 21 0 21 239 99 2706 9 0 6 _ 0 0 2 0 Total 216 178 68 14 214 (464) 377 334 6691 a.
44 for example, estimates that of the 25,000 species, subspecies, and varieties of plants native to the United States, approximately 3,000 (12 percent) are at risk of extinction in their wild habitats (CPC 1988). Tropical Forests Tropical deforestation will be the single greatest cause of species extinction in the next half-century. ) With concerted conservation action, it may be possible to considerably reduce this rate of extinction. But these calculations could prove to be conservative. If rates of forest loss increase significantly in the coming decades, if the deforestation of large areas fragments and degrades the natural forest habitat that remains, or if global temperatures rise rapidly, then extinction rates could greatly exceed the estimated 5 to 15 percent of tropical species by the year 2020.
Keeping Options Alive: The Scientific Basis for Conserving Biodiversity by Walter V. Reid