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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
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.