Conservation biology, Talk:Conservation biology
, Society for Conservation Biology
, UC Davis Department of Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology
, Talk:UC Davis Department of Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology
, or conservation ecology
, is the protection and management of biodiversity
that uses principles and experiences from the biological sciences, from natural resource management, and from the social sciences, including economics. Put another way, conservation biology is the scientific study of the phenomena that affect the maintenance, loss, and restoration of biological diversity. Much of conservation ecology deals with the problems associated with the small population sizes of rare species
The term "conservation biology" refers to the science
and sometimes is used to encompass also the application of this science, that is, the conservation of genetic diversity, species and populations. It also includes saving and restoration of ecosystems and habitats.
The concern of this branch of biology is to help save the diversity of life on Earth through applied conservation research. In the realm of research, biologists seek creative and effective ways to address a wide diversity of ecological problems, ranging from endangered species to regional conservation planning. This translates to developing better conservation tools, analyses, and techniques.
The terms ecology
are frequently used interchangeably, although not all ecologists are conservationists.
One theoretical tool useful in conservation biology is the Unified neutral theory of biodiversity
Importance of conservation
Extinction of a species is an irreversible act. Once gone, an exterminated species represents a lost resource of unknown value. While the net value of any one species is virtually impossible to represent in pure numerical or monetary figures, individual reasons for conservation can be demonstrated.
The Indianapolis Prize
is the world's leading award for animal conservation. The Indianapolis Prize includes a US$100,000 cash award and the Lilly Medal, which are presented every two years to a conservationist who has made substantial contributions toward the sustainability of an animal species or group of species. Selected by a globally-renowned nominating committee and jury, the finalists for the 2006 Indianapolis Prize include Dr. George Archibald (cranes); Dr. Holly Dublin (African elephants and other IUCN-listed species); Dr. Iain Douglas Hamilton (African elephants); Dr. David Meche (wolves); Dr. Roger Payne (whales and other cetaceans); and Dr. Simon Stuart (amphibians). Award-winning actress Jane Alexander is the host of the 2006 Indianapolis Prize Gala. Honorary Chairs include Harrison Ford, Ted Turner, Roger Sant, Senator Richard Lugar, and Senator Evan Bayh.
Health and medical
While some are available synthetically or from abiotic sources, humans still depend on other species for caloric
intake, vitamins, minerals, and medicine.
In 2004 over half of all prescriptions in the United States contained natural plant or animal products.thumb|right|250px|handbag
in a conservation exhibit at Bristol Zoo
. Crocodiles can be a farmed species but these bags were illegally made from the skin of wild protected crocodiles.">[Crocodile skin handbag
in a conservation exhibit at Bristol Zoo
. Crocodiles can be a farmed species but these bags were illegally made from the skin of wild protected crocodiles.]
Interaction between species is a source of aesthetic pleasure for humans. Most would say a world with fewer species would be less desirable.
Additionally, studies in evolutionary psychology
have determined correlations between exposure to natural environments and increased mental health and morality.
Soil is essentially a biotic
substance. The health of soil is directly related to the health of surrounding primary producers
, which supports the surrounding food web
. Healthy ecosystems that have been properly conserved generate and maintain fertile soils, prevent soil erosion, detoxification and recycling of waste products, regulation of the hydrological cycle and the composition of the atmosphere, control of agricultural pests, and pollination of plants. Soil conservation
is threatened by deforestation
, soil contamination
, erosion and loss of nutrient
While it is difficult to establish the net value of a species, it can be estimated.thumb|right|250px|The biodiversity hotspot
.">[Amazon Rainforest is a well known biodiversity hotspot
In Cape Province
, South Africa
the native vegetation of the area is the fynbos
, a type of shrub. The fynbos
are able to survive long periods of drought, periodic fires, and poor soil conditions; the plants are harvested annually with annual a yield of about $19 billion. Recently exotic plants have threatened the endemic fynbos
. The new plants grow larger; increasing the severity of periodic fires. More importantly they transpire more water; reducing the local streams to half their normal water flow.
Removing the exotic species will cost between $140 US and $830 US per hectare
and $8 US per hectare
to maintain every year after. Alternatively, a sewage purification plant would cost $135 million US to build and $2.6 million US per year to maintain. Desalination of surrounding coastal waters would cost four times as much.
Species can be considered to have an intrinsic value. That is, the survival of a species may be viewed to be in the interest of the species itself, without regard for the utilitarian
benefits to humans. In this view, non-human populations are perceived to have interests, including an interest in their own continued survival. This view is espoused by deep ecology
, which shifts emphasis away from the anthropocentric
reasons for conservation and species survival.
The purposes of conservation biology (both intrinsic and extrinsic) are further explored by environmental ethics
The chief threats to conservation biology in the year 2006 are a set of phenomena stemming from overpopulation
. The primary threats are rapid loss of tropical forest
s from slash and burn
and environmental pollution. Loss of forests can create an environmental for permanent loss of soil fertility, especially in the case of rainforests.
* Shifting cultivation
* Timeline of environmental events
* Ecological Economics
* Wildlife management
A useful reference book on conservation biology for the beginner or intermediate and advanced readers:
*Groom, M.J., Meffe, G.K. and Carroll, C.R. (2006) Principles of Conservation Biology (3rd ed.)
. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates. A website with additional case studies, weblinks, and study questions is available at http://www.sinauer.com/groom/
*http://www.unep-wcmc.org United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC)
*http://www.seafriends.org.nz/issues/cons/conserve.htm Principles of Conservation
principles, threats, motivation, obstacles, methods. (30pp)
*http://www.consbio.org/ Conservation Biology Institute (CBI)
*http://www.conbio.org/ Society for Conservation Biology (SCB)
*http://www.conservationandscience.org - Conservation efforts in our own backyard
*http://www.wild-expeditions.co.uk - Conservation education and expeditions
* http://www.columbia.edu/~esn2004 Biología de la Conservación - a Spanish language portal to Conservation Biology Resources
*http://www.wildlifetrusts.org The Wildlife Trusts
*http://cbc.amnh.org/ The Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History Category:BiologyCategory:Conservationda:Bevaringsøkologihu:Természetvédelmi biológiaja:保全生態学sl:Varstvena biologija