Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 1 (3):175-192 (1988)
The maintenance of biodiversity is urged from many quarters and on grounds ranging from aesthetic considerations to its usefulness, particularly for biotechnology. But regardless of the grounds for preserving biodiversity, writers are generally in agreement that it should be preserved. But, in examining the various references biodiversity, such as species diversity, genetic diversity, and habitat diversity, it is apparent that we cannot aim to preserve biodiversityas such, since there are a number of conflicts in any such undertaking. In preserving one aspect of biodiversity, we damage another aspect. Five arguments which attempt to ground our moral concern for biodiversity are reviewed and critiqued, not only for their consistency but also for their power to move us to action. The final section of the paper shows how conflicts in the values of personal and environmental health can impair ethical action and especially policy formation.
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