Globally Dispersed Local Challenges in Conservation Biology

Kamaljit Bawa, S (2006) Globally Dispersed Local Challenges in Conservation Biology. Conservation Biology, 20 (3). pp. 696-699.

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Contemporary challenges in conservation biology seem more formidable than 20 years ago, when the founding of the journal Conservation Biology more or less coincided with the emergence of conservation biology as a distinct scientific discipline. Several years ago, David Ehrenfeld, the founding editor of the journal, and one of the cofounders of the discipline, likened conservation biologists to practitioners of medicine and urged that we evaluate the success or development of our discipline by the condition of our patient (Ehrenfeld 2000). Of course, our patient—biodiversity—is not well, particularly in the tropics where most biodiversity is found. Although deforestation rates have slowed in some parts of the world,forest degradation has accelerated in other parts ( Jha & Bawa, 2006). Moreover, improved monitoring methods indicate that previous rates of biodiversity loss may have been gross underestimates (Laurance et al. 2004). Some might argue that were it not for the contributions made by conservation biologists, biodiversity loss may have been much higher, but for most parts of the world we lack the evidence to validate such an argument.The challenges we face, as Ehrenfeld also pointed out, are not primarily biological. In that sense, the term conservation biology may itself be misdirected. However,whatever name one chooses to more accurately describe the field, biologists do have a great deal to contribute to the resolution of contemporary challenges. Suppose we posit a goal of curtailing or eliminating further biodiversity losses over the next 20 years. To achieve that goal, we will have to fundamentally transform many of the interactions between society and biodiversity. In particular, we must recognize that in the developing world, poverty and disenfranchisement pose severe constraints to conservation of biodiversity over vast areas (Adams et al. 2004). Unless we develop a new conceptual framework for action,create the necessary institutional and policy frameworks, and build human capacity, our successes will be limited and ephemeral. To pursue such goals we must meet five interrelated challenges: economic sustainability, institutional development, interdisciplinarity, capacity building, and large-scale action.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article copyright belongs to Conservation Biology
Subjects: C Publications by ATREEians > G Journal Papers
Divisions: Publications by ATREEians > Journal Papers
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Date Deposited: 26 Oct 2016 07:19
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2016 09:25

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