A discussion of the disruption, which may occur following a nuclear attack, by fire and nuclear radiation, of the biological community. The direct result of the widespread fires will be the destruction of crops, timber, livestock, and wild life. The indirect result may be equally serious: The destruction of ground cover might permit erosion that would turn large areas of the country into uninhabitable "dust bowls." The effects of radiation are much less understood. They could include a change in the balance of life forms favoring harmful creatures such as grasshoppers or rats, or the lethal concentration of radioactive substances by plants and animals. While studies concerned with the disposal of radioactive waste will be useful, a great deal of specific research must be done before the ecological effects of radiation can be predicted with certainty.
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