Saturday 12 April 2008


The explosion of logging in central Africa is threatening ... sea turtles. The logs are transported downriver to timber yards, but on the way 1000s of logs are lost. These logs float out to sea. Many of them get washed ashore, where they force turtles either to abandon their nesting attempts or to nest too close to the waterline.

It's one of half-a-dozen examples rainforest biologist William Laurance gives in his New Scientist article (subscription only) of 'the perils of trying to make linear decisions in a non-linear world' or the law of unintended consequences. 'In a complex, interconnected world, yanking on a string in one location can cause painful jolts in far-flung and unpredictable places.'

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