Sunday, September 30, 2012

a lesson or two from ecology for planting ahead

Ecosystems survive in various ways, not all of them known.  We have some clues.
A sustainable forest usually has genomic biodiversity and stable patterns of geochemical cycling.
Those adaptations fit a niche of particular climatic conditions. If the climate is disrupted, the webs of biodiversity and geochemical cycling are altered, and the forest can die.
In contrast, a deep cave has very stable geochemical cycling, even if its genomic biodiversity is limited and isolated.  Walk into one bearing the spores of an unfamiliar organism,  and it is changed.

I'm ruminating about this because I'd like to say something useful about strategies for confronting climate change. At some scales, climate change is moving towards the stage of weather extremes, or a form of climate chaos.
People are rightfully anxious about global, and local, food supply. 

Diversify food supply seems like a clue from the forest.
Retain essential geochemical nutrients seems like another clue from both forest and cave.
Be careful when moving species around, a lesson from the cave (and jokes about Noah keeping critters apart on the ark).

This needs updating, but I want to get it out.

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