One of the most pressing challenges that the United States--and indeed, the world--will face in the next few decades is how to alleviate the growing stress that human activities are placing on the environment. The consequences are just too great to ignore. Wildlife habitats are being degraded or disappearing altogether as new developments take up more land. Plant and animal species are becoming extinct at a greater rate now than at any time in Earth's history. As many as 30 percent of the world's fish stocks are overexploited. And the list goes on.

Yet, there is reason to have hope for the future. Advances in computing power and molecular biology are among the tremendous increases in scientific capability that are helping researchers gain a better understanding of these problems. And scientific studies strongly suggest that measures such as establishing marine reserves and protecting endangered species are making a difference.


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