John Wilson; Richard Primack

Published On


Page Range

pp. 559-588

Print Length

29 pages

15. An Agenda for the Future

The field of conservation biology has set itself some imposing tasks: to describe Earth’s biological diversity, to protect what remains, and to restore what is damaged. It is also a crisis discipline because decisions often need to be made under pressure, with limited resources, and under tight deadlines. That said, a long-term conservation vision is also needed that extends beyond the immediate crisis. Efforts to preserve biodiversity while overcoming conflicting human needs can be accomplished by striving towards sustainable development—economic development that satisfies both present and future needs without unsustainable economic growth that is compromising the natural world. But emerging threats are never solved by people who defend the status quo or resist change, but by individuals who rapidly respond to new challenges as soon as they arise. One of the biggest challenges facing conservation biologists is inadequate funding. Fortunately, an increasing number of mechanisms are being established to fill funding voids, including multilateral funding consortiums, debt-for-nature swaps, payments for ecosystem services, and a range of grassroots initiatives. To avoid leaving urban citizens detached from nature, conservation biologists need to reach out and educate the public, and particularly children, about their work. This can be achieved through citizen science projects, field programmes for the public, and writing materials suitable for adults and children for newspapers, magazines, and websites.