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Biodiversity Prospecting - Using Genetic Resources for Sustainable Development.
by Walter V. Reid, et al. World Resources Institutes Publications. 1993. 341 pp. Softcover, $29.95. ISBN 0-915825-89-9.

Biodiversity Prospecting is about "doing tight" through bolstering both economic and conservation goals while underpinning the medical and agricultural advances needed to combat disease and sustaining growing human numbers, to paraphrase the foreword of this book by Jonathan Lash, President of the World Resources Institute.

Given that over half of the world's biodiversity is concentrated in tropical rain forests, the focus is the potential for conserving and utilizing the genetic resources of the world in a manner that is of benefit to all concerned -- the indigenous peoples who hold knowledge and live in rain forests, the biodiversity of the forest itself, and humankind in general. This collection comprises seven major essays by leading experts in tropical rain forest product conservation and utilization. The first chapter, "A New Lease on Life," explores the general awareness of coupling conservation with utilization that has emerged in the corporate mind, and scientific issues regarding biodiversity prospecting, indigenous people's rights, third world country rights and responsibilities, and industrial plant utilization. The volume weaves a tapestry of all of these issues into one package, where the subject can be understood in its entirety from a diverse human perspective. Certainly, this book is required reading for anyone interested in a definitive understanding of tropical plant utilization.

Article copyright American Botanical Council.


By Steven Foster