Variable: Flora and Fauna

Flora and fauna are critical resources beyond their function as nutrient and material sources; a wide range of flora have ecological, sociocultural, and economic value. Plants are vital sources of pharmacopeia (Wilson 1992), myth (the cedars of Lebanon and the redwoods of California are examples), and status (the American lawn; see Bormann et al. 1993).

Fauna, including domesticated livestock, pets, feral animals, and wildlife, have significant economic value through activities as wide-ranging as hunting, bird-watching, pet keeping, and in some cultures the production of aphrodisiacs.

Flora and fauna can be valued biologically (such as species richness, number of endemic species, population size, genetic diversity), economically (dollar value per bushel, board foot, pelt, head, horn, or hoof), or culturally (proportion of citizens interested in preserving a species).

Changes in flora and fauna, such as the threat of extinction or overpopulation, can lead to changes in nutrient supplies, myth, law, sustenance (particularly, wildlife management and farming practices), and social norms toward the natural world.

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