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Pages 7-9

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From page 7...
... The strong and ancient connections between humans and other living species mean that we cannot really separate ourselves from the ecosystems within which we evolved. Although humans have come to dominate many of Earth's ecosystems, we still rely on these connec tions, making conserving and restoring biodiversity a matter of survival.24 Biodiversity Enriches Our Lives The simple experience of being outdoors and observing the beauty of nature inspires our senses and exposes us to something bigger than ourselves.
From page 8...
... Even as domesticated crops and livestock came to dominate our food systems, we have continued to rely on thousands of species of wild food plants, wild relatives of domesticated crops, and natural ecosys tems for our nutrition and food security.27 All of our food comes from plants either directly or indirectly. Soil-dwelling organ isms maintain the fertility of our farmland; animals such as birds, spiders, and small mammals help control insect crop pests; and bees, bats, and other animals play a vital role in pollinating many food crops.
From page 9...
... ecosystem services to human well-being equates to more than double the global gross domestic product.35 Other scientists have calculated the value of ecosystems or individual species by estimating the cost of the infrastructure that would be needed in their absence -- such as the cost of building another water treatment plant if a natural wetland was not there to help filter contaminants.36 Although attempts to estimate the economic value of benefits from functioning ecosystems can provide useful perspective, the true value ecosystems provide in supporting human endeavors -- and more importantly, life itself -- is essentially incalculable.

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