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Nature. 2000 May 11;405(6783):208-11.

Causes, consequences and ethics of biodiversity.

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  • Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, University of Minnesota, St Paul 55108, USA. tilman@lter.umn.edu


The existence of so great a diversity of species on Earth remains a mystery, the solution to which may also explain why and how biodiversity influences the functioning of ecosystems. The answer may lie in quantifying the trade-offs that organisms face in dealing with the constraints of their environment. Societal responses to the loss of biodiversity also involve trade-offs, and the elaboration of these will be essential in developing wiser environmental ethics and policy.

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