"The arguments for conservation of biodiversity historically have been that it represents a library of genetic information, and that there are potential drugs that we can derive from biodiversity. But that hasn't resonated with the larger community. In this last decade there's been a shift in adding new arguments to the absolutely urgent need for preserving biological diversity. A move toward looking at biodiversity in terms of how species act together, interact together to capture water, light, and nutrients. In doing this they provide services to society. Essentially these communities of organisms are our life support system."
Prof. Harold Mooney is the Paul S. Achilles Professor of Environmental Biology and FSI Senior Fellow at Stanford University.