Bioresources (plants, animals, and organisms) are the gifts of nature for our livelihood. They supply us with food, shelter, timber, medicinal plants, biofuels, bioenergy, and various domestic needs. Increasing global warming associated with increased emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and biotic and abiotic stresses is endangering the survival of these valuable bioresources. This urges a great necessity for efficient management, conservation, and sustainable uses of these bioresources.
Bioresource management in the recent past has drawn the attention of global participants. There is a need for sustainability of natural resources, which stands as a big challenge to overcome various stresses. Due to anthropogenic activities and human intervention in the changing surrounding environment, drastic quantitative and qualitative transformation is bound to happen. Increasing population pressure and habitual change in day-to-day life have paced the trend of ecological erosion in recent-past.
In this book, we have tried to emphasize the phenomenon change and provide an update in relation to bioresource management and the tools to manage stresses. It is the compilation and interpretation of the concrete scientific venture undertaken by specialists at the global level, with then- extension services dedicated to the management of natural resources and controlling biotic and abiotic factors, making our mother earth vulnerable to these stresses. The book content gives an outline of the series of the development in the recent past on the bioresource and stress management.
This volume is widely focused on all types of bioresources on earth and their management at times of stress/crisis. There is need to focus on the documentation, validation, and recovery of etlmic indigenous knowledge and practices and native plant species, which could have great impact in stress management. Thus, the book acts as a platform for suggestions with possible solutions to make this earth a better place to live. The vulnerable earth needs utmost care that needs to be addressed cautiously in this progressive world.
The combined and interacting influences of over-exploitation, pollution, modification, destruction, or degradation of the native habitats amplify the vulnerability of bioresources. All these issues are really forcing natural biota to attain a smaller size with every passing day. Human interference for maintaining a balance to sustain the ecosystem can be attained with continued attempts to check the genetic erosion. Thus, this alarming situation needs multifaceted and diverse attempts in adapting and/or adopting an agenda for the management and conservation of bioresources.
Similarly, there is a need for an economically viable long-term solution to bioconservation of native species. Indiscriminate use of insecticides affects the quality of agricultural products and human health.
In addition, the most toxic pesticides and herbicides can pose a great risk to nontarget organisms. Biomagnification of chemicals is posing a sustained threat to living entities. Thus the anthropogenic activities and continuous change in the advancement of the daily life is bringing new issues of the stresses to the natural components. This book not only emphasizes the general conceptual approaches by different users but also presents methods of integrated conservation, utility, and importance of bioresources and also biotic and abiotic stresses affecting survival of these bioresources, essential for our livelihood.
This volume addresses the range of attributes, conservation, or management of resources and indicates, at the same time, the areas or topics where further research will be useful under the present scenario of climate change. The lucid presentation of the research highlights the wide range of themes for framing considerable management aspects. The book also provides an interesting overview of the current perspective to assess the level of depletion or exploitation on bioresources over the years.
The book also has covered aspects like genetics and breeding teclmiques directed toward sustainable management, biotechnological make-up, conservation of biota and abiotic components, natural resource management, climate change, etc. There is comprehensive call for inter- and intra-disciplinary research to save our earth. The content of the chapters has wide emphasis on future aptitude of research with multi-disciplinary approach.
Overall, the book will open the eyes of many research scientists, not only for current research, but also future strategies to combat such a sensitive agenda.
—Ratikanta Maiti Humberto Gonzalez Rodriguez Ch. Aruna Kumari Debashis Mandal Narayan Chandra Sarkar
I: Nature and Changing Climate Management, Adaptation, and Mitigation
Understanding the Value of Natural Resources for Human Well-Being
KAMALJIT K. SANGHA"
Research Fellow, Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Northern Territory 0810, Australia
This chapter focuses on the key benefits of managing nature’s systems for people’s well-being and, more broadly, for the modem economy and overall development. First, it explores a historical perspective of human connections with nature, and how nature has played a key role in shaping our ancient and modem civilizations. Second, it elaborates how natural resources are important for people’s well-being, and outlines the consequences of mismanaging them in terms of social-economic repercussions in the present tunes. To understand and evaluate the role of natural resources toward human well-being for policy decision-making, this chapter outlines three main approaches: realizing our connections with nature; applying an integrated and inclusive approach to development; and an ethical approach to live in harmony with nature. It explains the need for, and how to, realize our comiections with nature, and proposes an integrated development model that is focused on people’s wellbeing, not the standard input and output measures, and accounts for the role of nature’s sendees. Applying an ethical approach to lead a meaningful life that is in harmony with nature and embedding ethical principles in development, this chapter underscores the importance of natural systems in modem economy.
Once the Dalai Lama (14th) was asked what surprises him about the humanity, he replied:
“Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the fimire; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”
In the modern world, one of our main goals in life is to accumulate material wealth. For that, we work hard. In the process, we forgot where the material wealth comes from, and we isolate ourselves from our mind and the surroundings. We often mislead ourselves for what the main purpose of life is, and fail to think about out how to lead a “balanced and meaningful life” that is in harmony with ourselves, and with our social, economic, and natural worlds. We spend too much time and efforts focusing on achieving “material” opulence, which does not necessarily provide us satisfaction/ happiness nor helps us to lead a meaningful life. This quote from Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) is most apposite here:
“A certain degree of physical harmony and comfort is necessary, but above a certain level it becomes a hindrance instead of a help. Therefore, the ideal of creating an unlimited number of wants and satisfying them seems to be a delusion and a snare.”
Irony is that in this cycle of material wealth, we even forget to realize the importance of good air, water, and food, which are, indeed, the fundamental needs for our living. So much so, nature’s raw resources for producing our material wealth, which is often assumed as a symbol of economic development, are either taken for guaranteed or remain overlooked.
A standard indicator to gauge development is the gross domestic product (GDP), which is based on input and output (exchange) of materials in the market. For the last 20 years, many researchers (Costanza, 1997, 2014; Daly, 1996, 2013, 2015; Dasgupta, 2004, 2010 and others) have called for modernizing development and the associated economic approaches. So far, we have little success. The current utilitarian view of economy still prevails with a strong focus on materials without considering the source of those materials. Nature’s goods and sendees and its capacity to absorb and process the waste that we create, is completely overlooked in the state economies input and output equations. Daly (2015) clearly outlines the importance of nature’s services/resources toward human welfare by contrasting an Empty World model that existed in the past when nature’s resources were in plenty with a Full World model that exists at present with resources becoming limited whereas the economy has expanded to its full capacity, as evident from Figure 1.1. The paradox is that although our economy is becoming constrained by the limits of the natural world, we still continue to dismiss the role of nature toward our well-being and overall economic development.
FIGURE 1.1 Limits to growth: An Empty World model when nature’s resources were abundant in the past and a Full World model where those resources are becoming limited to contain the growth of modern economy.
Source: Reprinted from Daly (2015) with permission from Great Transition Initiative, Tellus Institute.)
Our continuous tendency to compromise natural resources to grow modern economies is rather scary and completely misleading. The key question is that how do we, as global citizens, realize the importance of nature toward our development so as to sustain on this planet?
This chapter explores this very question by providing historical evidence of resource use, and outlining how our development (well-being) is directly and indirectly derived from nature’s resources by applying a broader holistic perspective of development that is well-being focused. It puts forth the argument for the need to manage our natural resources for future development—a topic widely covered in several other chapters of this book.
We or us refers to the people in general who use nature’s resources and return little of real value to nature.