A functional understanding of biological systems or genetic properties cannot be obtained without understanding how species evolve and interact within ecosystems. Regev, Shalit, and Gutierrez (1983) have shown that the population dynamics and evolution of each individual species is dependent on the well-being of other species that are either consumed or preyed upon by that species. Science is relatively young, and until now much of the effort in the biological sciences has been directed towards obtaining an understanding of microlevel processes. As we document the genetic structure of many species and gain a better idea of how organisms perform individually, understanding the interactions among species will become the main challenge of science and a key for achieving new technological developments. Therefore, the preservation of ecosystems is a targeting concept that should be distinguished from preserving individual species.

2.2.1 Knowledge and practices

Knowing that species exist and even documenting their genetic structure is not very valuable unless their function and benefits are known. Indigenous people, farmers, scientists, and others throughout the world have accumulated knowledge and systems to manage species and crop systems in a beneficial manner, and some of this knowledge is disappearing with modernization. Preservation of this knowledge is sometimes even more urgent than the preservation of species. Adoption of modern technologies and practices may lead to the loss of knowledge of traditional technologies and practices. Features of these practices are very valuable and may provide clues to the future capacity to manage resources sustainably.

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