Disruption and diversity

Erle Ellis writing for Andrew Revkin’s YourDot series:

Humans have caused a net increase in plant species richness across two-thirds of the terrestrial biosphere, mostly by facilitating species invasions. In most regional landscapes, native species losses were significantly lower than exotic species gains, with agriculture species causing minor increases, but ornamental species sometimes play a large role that is still hard to assess.

There’s a growing sentiment that nature doesn’t always have to be defined as pristine wilderness. Given the breadth of human impacts, from species invasions to climate change, it’s arguable that there isn’t any pristine, untouched wilderness left. That’s not to say we should abandon conserving the wilder places, but it’s time we accepted the bits of life all around us for what they are—nature.

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