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Conservation Biology The Search for Solutions Conservation Biology Scientific discipline devoted to understanding the factors, forces, and processes that influence the loss, protection, and restoration of biological diversity within and among ecosystems. Came from the increasing degredation of our natural systems over the past few decades. Purpose of the field is to find solutions to problems, such as habitat destruction and species loss. Island biogeography Conservation is based primarily on the idea of the equilibrium theory of island biogeography: a theory that predicts the number of species on an island based on the island’s size and its distance from he nearest mainland (immigration and birth and extinction/extirpation and death) Immigration rates are greater for islands with few species and islands that are larger Extinction rates are greater for islands with many species and lower for larger islands Conservationists use these islands as examples for how to deal with habitat destruction, species extinction, etc., using the islands as small scales for larger populations elsewhere. Protection of species Umbrella species: Species, that when protected, lead to the protection of many other species – animal, plant, fungi, etc. (ex. Panda) Should we protect individual species or should we concentrate on ecosystems? Support and opposition for Endangered Species Act Successes of ESA Since the banning of DDT, the peregrine falcon, brown pelican, bald eagle and many other birds have been taken off the endangered species list. Approximately 40% of the declining populations have been held stable despite declining funding for agencies that uphold the act. Opposition to ESA Focuses on a single species over the life or livelihood of a person Federal government making decisions on personal property that is home to an endangered species International Efforts 1973, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) – protects species by banning trade of their body parts 1992, Convention on Biological Diversity – treaty to conserve biodiversity, use biodiversity in a sustainable manner, ensuring the fair distribution of biodiversity’s benefits Non-governmental efforts Include organizations such as Wildlife Conservation Society, World Wide Fund for Nature, Conservation International, World Wildlife Fund, Nature Conservancy. Millions of dollars in budgets used to purchase habitats, train park managers, promote environmental education, develop programs for conservation, etc. Often focused on hotspots – areas that have at least 1500 species that are endemic to that area and have experienced significant habitat alteration or destruction Community based conservation – protect your own land and wildlife in your own backyard “Debt for Nature” – NGO raises money, then pays the debt of an LDC in exchange for land reserves Conservation concessions – instead of countries receiving money from corporations for using land (logging for instance), NGOs pay nations the same amount of money, allowing the country the same income and to keep their resources.