John Wilson; Richard Primack

Published On


Page Range

pp. 1-22

Print Length

21 pages

1. What is Conservation Biology?

Conservation biology has three goals: (a) to document Earth’s biological diversity; (b) to investigate how humans influence species, evolution, and ecosystem processes; and (c) to investigate approaches to protect and restore biological communities, maintain genetic diversity, and prevent the extinction of species. Due to the fact that conservation is multidisciplinary and requires a deep understanding of natural processes and human society, conservation biologists must take on multiple roles. Specifically, they must be curious, good communicators, effective educators, law-abiding citizens, and effective managers and practitioners of conservation projects. They also generally agree that biodiversity should be preserved, untimely extinctions should be prevented, ecological complexity should be maintained, evolution should continue, and biodiversity has intrinsic value. Conservation biology relies on scientific evidence and ethical principles that underpins the preservation of biodiversity. Science provides conservation biologists with useful tools that guide the setting of clear, achievable, and measurable goals, to monitor conservation actions to assess whether goals have been met, and to communicate in a clear and unbiased manner. Meanwhile, environmental ethics holds that biodiversity must also be protected because human well-being and economic opportunities are linked to a healthy environment. It appeals to people of different walks to life to preserve biodiversity.