Edited by Charles Perrings, Mark Williamson and Silvana Dalmazzone
Chapter 8: Invasive species in tropical rain forests: the importance of existence values
Jon C. Lovett* 1 INTRODUCTION Tropical rain forests are often considered to be one of the most biologically diverse terrestrial ecosystems on Earth. This diversity is the basis for many of the arguments in favour of rain forest conservation. When rain forests are heavily disturbed or converted to agriculture, they are replaced by less diverse secondary forests or cropping regimes. The shift from a highly diverse state of nature to a less diverse one is perceived to be associated with a loss of economic value. The perceived loss of value to a species rich rain forest is greatest when a primary, primeval Urwald (Ur = primitive, wald = forest) type of forest is replaced by secondary forest or other vegetation that is the product of anthropic activities. This is not to say that all Urwald is naturally in a static state, as many forests are exposed to disturbance due to storms, earthquakes, climatic ﬂuctuations, herbivore infestation (both large and small herbivores) and other phenomena. Similarly, rain forests are not entirely composed of species that have evolved in situ and contain many plant species which have arrived naturally by long-distance dispersal, a process which is taking place all the time. Changes in economic values resulting from a transition from an Urwald state to an invaded and/or disturbed state are usually associated with human intervention precipitating the change, rather than other forms of disturbance. The change in state can have an important effect on land use. For example, a tropical rain forest may be...
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