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1980). Restricting the use of control measures to times and places when they are cost-effective is important, because many of the materials used are toxic and exert other, usually detrimental, effects on ecological communities (Barrons, 1981; Bull, 1982; Carson, 1962; Dunlap, 1981) and because resistance to toxic chemicals evolves as a function of the frequency with which they are used (Chapter 1). Green plants account for about 97% of all the carbon fixed in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, and their photosynthetic activity supports almost all other components of those systems.
That is the basis of single-crop agriculture and the reason why forest productivity is largely independent of the number of species of trees growing on the site. Plants differ greatly, however, in physical structure, chemistry, depth of soil from which they extract water and minerals, and kinds and numbers of mutualistic interactions. Those differences make it possible for particular species of plants to play different roles. All animals require high-energy organic compounds as food, so much of their diversity is related to what they eat and how they find it.
1974), as well as in a variety of heavily harvested fish populations (Beverton, 1984). Increased difficulty in finding mates, reduced effectiveness of cooperative defense against predators, and other phenomena can result in a lower threshold of density below which the population collapses unless there is immigration. Density-dependent compensatory mechanisms might also break down at very low densities (Beverton, 1984). That possibility is of particular concern for rare and endangered species with few, isolated populations that are already small.