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Messages from IslandsA Global Biodiversity Tour$
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Ilkka Hanski

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226406305

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226406589.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 17 September 2021

Why Is Biodiversity Important?

Why Is Biodiversity Important?

(p.186) 6 Why Is Biodiversity Important? (p.187)
Messages from Islands

Ilkka Hanski

University of Chicago Press

This chapter discusses the importance of biodiversity by focusing on the case of collared lemmings in Greenland. In 1996, the author of this book was in Greenland to witness unstable Arctic populations, and he observed this in the lemming populations. What is particularly surprising about the drastic change in lemming population dynamics is where it occurred—in the world's largest national park, in Greenland. The chapter considers the debate over whether biodiversity increases the stability of populations, communities, and ecosystems. It also examines the notion of ecosystem services and the question of what should be done with the so-called novel ecosystems before concluding with an overview of the prevalence of non-communicable diseases such as asthma, depression, and Parkinson's disease based on the biodiversity hypothesis.

Keywords:   biodiversity, collared lemmings, Greenland, population dynamics, ecosystems, ecosystem services, novel ecosystems, non-communicable diseases, biodiversity hypothesis

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