Conservation of Biological Diversity

WHEREAS, biological organisms provide all of the food and much of the shelter, clothing, and medicine essential for human welfare, and are the basis for ecological processes, scientific inquiry, and aesthetic pleasure; and

WHEREAS, natural ecosystems and their associated biological diversity are currently being reduced at rapidly increasing rates that are unprecedented in human history and that rival those of the mass extinction events of geological time; and

WHEREAS, the deterioration of the biological diversity of the planet will greatly reduce the future options for civilization and have serious consequences for human and environmental well-being; and

WHEREAS, the loss of biological diversity is essentially irreversible; and

WHEREAS, the loss of biological diversity is largely an inadvertant and unintended consequence of human activity; and

WHEREAS, our scientific and technical knowledge and social institutions are presently insufficient to prevent this loss;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the American Society of Mammalogists meeting at Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, 15-19 June 1991, expresses support for legislation before the Congress of the United States to a) establish the conservation of biological diversity as a national policy and a national priority; b) require biological diversity to be of paramount importance in environmental planning and international development; c) establish and implement a federal strategy for conservation of ecosystems and their associated biological diversity, and d) support education and basic and applied research in organismal biology, ecology, and related sciences necessary for biological conservation.