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Free Content Diversity of Life in a Changing World

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The current anthropogenic loss of biological diversity is expected to have widespread ecological and social consequences.

In this introductory article, we review some major research topics in the rapidly growing field of biodiversity research. Our primary concern is to show the tight connection of biodiversity with ecosystem and population processes.

From this perspective, important questions concern the response of ecosystems to environmental change such as habitat fragmentation and increasing CO2 levels, the functions of biodiversity in ecosystem processes, mechanisms generating genetic diversity, and the roles of genetic variability and environmental heterogeneity in the maintenance, generation and evolutionary changes of organismic diversity.

While the future development of the biosphere will primarily depend on human behavior, decisions leaning toward conservation and sustainable use of land and its resources will strongly be influenced by rigorous scientific understanding of ecosystems. With this aim in mind, an interdisciplinary research program is carried out in Switzerland, investigating various aspects of the stability and the role of biodiversity in ecological systems as well as the social implications of the biodiversity issue.
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Document Type: Editorial

Publication date: July 1, 1995

More about this publication?
  • GAIA is a peer-reviewed inter- and transdisciplinary journal for scientists and other interested parties concerned with the causes and analyses of environmental and sustainability problems and their solutions.

    Environmental problems cannot be solved by one academic discipline. The complex natures of these problems require cooperation across disciplinary boundaries. Since 1991, GAIA has offered a well-balanced and practice-oriented forum for transdisciplinary research. GAIA offers first-hand information on state of the art environmental research and on current solutions to environmental problems. Well-known editors, advisors, and authors work to ensure the high quality of the contributions found in GAIA and a unique transdisciplinary dialogue – in a comprehensible style.

    GAIA is an ISI-journal, listed in the Science Citation Index Expanded, Social Science Citation Index and in Current Contents/Social and Behavioral Sciences.

    All contributions undergo a double-blind peer review.

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