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Order, Disorder, Genes and Jarrah

What are genes?
They are agents for reproducing individual members of a plant, animal, bacterial or fungal species.

They are also agents for changing individuals within a species, and so creating new species.

Where did genes come from?
The "big bang" produced a disorderly ball of particles. It seems a need for stability and order was born within them. They began a process of satisfying that need. Genes are part of the process.

Orderly stable forms
First, particles joined and formed atoms. Then atoms formed molecules, molecules formed gases, gases formed stars, suns, moons and planets.

Molecules on Earth formed rocks, water, minerals, atmosphere, genes and cell constituents.

Genes formed DNA
DNA formed cells. Cells formed single and multi-cellular organisms called plants, animals, bacteria and fungi.

Both plants and animals formed increasingly complex cell organisations that differentiated them. These differences are recognised as phyla, classes, orders, families, genera and species. Homo sapiens is one species. These groups are relatively stable.

Disorder threatens stable forms
Change can bring disorder by breaking up complex forms... reducing them to a disorganised collection of molecules.

Or change can initiate new, more complex forms.

Gene pools help balance stability with change

Earth as the first land splits into continents, so changing landforms soils and climates

When earth movements and climates change landforms, plant and animal genes change or go extinct.

Changed genes change cell organisation. Cell organisation changes species.So new species can continue the thrust towards stability. The totality of the genes of any one species in a landscape is a gene pool.

As there are usually multiple species in a landscape there are multiple gene pools.

When too many changes occur too quickly, causing the population numbers in certain species to drop, the gene pool for those species also drops.

Big and quick reductions of gene pools in a landscape threaten the continued existence of the system. They reduce the time and choices needed for gene changes to happen.

The History of the Darling System
The Darling Scarp is the upturned edge of one of the oldest blocks of granite on Earth.

The Yilgarn.

It has a long, peaceful geological history.

Over billions of years rocks weathered. Rivers made valleys. Died. New rivers made the valleys into plains.

The Scarp weathered slowly to a mosaic of soils. Laterites, sands, alluvial fiats, rocks.

With swamps, hidden pools, sheltered slopes, wet hillsides - the whole system became a series of niche habitats.Different plants and animals changed their genes to live in different soil patches.

No-one knows the extent of the genetic inheritance contained in the niche habitats of the Darling system.

The recording of all, except the major species, has scarcely begun.

New techniques recently revealed hundreds of new species of invertebrates in the canopies of just two trees.

Disorder in Jarrah Remnants
The Darling System has evolved jarrah and all its associates.

More than half the natural jarrah system has been destroyed in less than 200 years.

No-one knows how many of the gene pools have been reduced or destroyed in this complex of contiguous niche habitats.

Some of our management practices such as logging, roading, too frequent burning, clearing, changing water courses and draining swamps are threatening our genetic inheritance.

This makes every small, or large, remnant of any jarrah community very important.

It may be the only place in the world where a small, insignificant organism is hanging on with a gene pool large enough for its survival.

We need all these genes. They are our protection from the disorder that could destroy our world.

"Why does a species which has become dominant through its intelligence, use its intelligence to destroy what it knows nothing about, information on which its own existence depends?"

Dorothy Green

"The beauty and co-ordinated complexity of living systems are intrinsically very interesting; they both challenge and please our intuitive sense of harmony in Nature."

EJ Steele

"A fool sees not the same tree as the wise man sees."

William Blake

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