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Conservation Biology Professor: Dr. Jennifer Dever staff/dever/cons_biol.htm.

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Presentation on theme: "Conservation Biology Professor: Dr. Jennifer Dever staff/dever/cons_biol.htm."— Presentation transcript:

1 Conservation Biology Professor: Dr. Jennifer Dever staff/dever/cons_biol.htm

2 I. What is CONSERVATION BIOLOGY? A new, integrated science that has developed in response to severe changes in the ecosystem –Multi-disciplinary 3 goals:

3 How is conservation biology distinguished from other biological sciences? 1.Focuses on the study and preservation of life itself 2.Both value laden and mission driven 3.Advocacy oriented 4.Crisis-oriented 5.Multi-disciplinary 6.Concerned with evolutionary time 7.Adaptive science w/ eternal vigilance necessary 8.Legally empowered science

4 Why is Conservation Biology Needed? Biodiversity CRISIS due to human pressures Traditional applied disciplines of resource management insufficient! Focus changed to a more theoretical approach w/emphasis on long-term preservation of the ecosystem, accompanied by economic sustainability

5 Conservation “problems” addressed Conservation of: Genetic Diversity Species Habitat

6 Conservation Biology’s Ethical Principles: 1)The diversity of species and biological communities should be preserved. 2)The untimely extinction of populations and species should be prevented 3)Ecological complexity should be maintained 4)Evolution should continue 5)Biological diversity has intrinsic value

7 II. History of Conservation Biology A.Origins of Conservation Biology in the U.S. A.European Mindset B.Influential Figures changing the way early Americans view wildlife B.Conservation and the: 1)Government 2)Academia 3)The Public

8 A. Origins of Conservation Biology in the U.S. Wilderness = scary, wild, inhabited by evil spirits, in need of “taming” Depletion of wild areas and natural resources not seen as a problem, unexplored territories vast and endless resources Industrialization

9 B. Influential Figures changing the way early Americans view wildlife 1)James Fennimore Cooper 2)Ralph Waldo Emerson 3)Henry David Thoreau 4)John Muir

10 James Fennimore Cooper Through his Leatherstocking series Cooper created the archetype of the 18th- century frontiersman, Natty Bumppo. He lives free, close to nature, while the settlers bring 'civilization' that destroys the wilderness.

11 transcendentalism n. 1: A philosophy that emphasizes the a priori conditions of knowledge and experience or the unknowable character of ultimate reality or that emphasizes the transcendent as the fundamental reality 2: a philosophy that asserts the primacy of the spiritual and transcendental over the material and empirical 3: the quality or state of being transcendental --Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary Kant reserved the term transcendent for those entities such as God and the soul, which are thought to exist outside of human experience and are therefore unknowable; he used the term transcendental to signify a priori forms of thought, that is, innate principles with which the mind gives form to its perceptions and makes experience intelligible. Kant applied the name transcendental philosophy to the study of pure mind and its a priori forms.

12 2) Ralph Waldo Emerson – Founder of the transcendentalist movement in America  Believed that a connection with nature is essential for a person's intellectual, aesthetic, and moral health and growth  This connectedness is the basis of the self- reliance which determines how a person lives with integrity in nature and society

13 "Do what you love. Know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still. Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life so. Aim above morality. Be not simply good -- be good for something." “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived”. 3) Henry David Thoreau

14 4) John Muir Founder of the American Conservation Movement “spiritual values of nature superior to material values gained by the exploitation of nature”

15 B. Conservation and the: 1)Government 2)Academia 3)Public

16 1. Conservation and the Gov’t. Washburn expedition – 1872 –Lead to the creation of the National Park

17 a) Pragmatic Utilitarianism –Gifford Pinchot Head of the Forestry Division of the Dept. of Agriculture (1898) practical approach to management in a way that is useful for the most people – should result in the greatest happiness of the greatest number Formed the US Forest Service with the aid of Theodore Roosevelt.

18 a)– which are best managed in the way that will “further the greatest good of the greatest number [of people] for the longest time” b)Resources should be used with efficiency and therefore there can be an ordering of uses, with some favored over others c)The government should regulate and control

19 Pinchot’s direction: “It is the cardinal principle of the forest-reserve policy of this Administration that the reserves are for use. Whatever interferes with the use of their resources is to be avoided by every possible means. But these resources must be used in such a way as to make them permanent” –Theodore Roosevelt, 1926 Conservation of natural resources is democratic and essential to national security Created 5 national parks, 4 big game refuges, 52 reservations/sanctuaries and the Nat’l Forest Service Made a statement of the value of wildlife and forest resources

20 Why Government Regulation?

21 Opposing views: Pinchot v. Muir… Resource conservation ethic v. Preservationist ethic

22 2. Conservation in Academia –Henry Cowles –Frederick Clements –Victor Shelford Defined and documented the role of: From the 1890’s onward, the scientific study of ecology has been closely tied to concern for the future of America’s natural areas

23 A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it does otherwise -Aldo Leopold Game Management. Charles Scribner's Sons. Reprinted in 1986 by University of Wisconsin Press, Madison A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There. Oxford University Press, New York.

24 Leopold’s problems with the resource conservation ethic:

25 Policy where human use of natural resources is compatible with, and even enhanced by biological diversity Combined ethical conservation with practical experience and scientific expertise The value of a resource is not solely viewed in economic terms, there is also a “philosophical” value There is a “best” way to manage resources, and without recognizing the intrinsic value and applying ethics to the “best” management, human selfishness and comsumptivism would increasingly thwart the most informed science and most enlightened management. Conservation requires private virtue and public law

26 Points from Leopold’s Land Ethic  Biocentric view – humans are part of the community, and thus their role is changed from conqueror to plain member and citizen of the community  A conservation system cannot be based wholly on economic motives, because most members of the community have no economic value  Evolution has produced a complex, elaborate, diverse system – we must recognize the ecology, and interdependence between the complex structure of the land

27 Review of resource management approaches/Ethics Anthropocentric approaches –exploitation, Manifest Destiny Ethic –preservation, Preservationist Ethic –utilitarianism, Resource Conservation Ethic Biocentric approach – ecological sustainability, Evolutionary-ecology Ethic

28 3) Conservation and the public G. P. Marsh – (1864) Man and Nature… Osborn (1948) Our Plundered Planet Rachel Carson (1962) Silent Spring Paul and Ann Ehrlich (1968) The Population Bomb E.O. Wilson (1992) The Diversity of Life

29 Rachel Carson Wrote Silent Spring (1962) Meticulously described how DDT entered the food chain and accumulated in the fatty tissues of animals, including human beings, and caused cancer and genetic damage Challenged the practices of ag. scientists and gov’t. Raised important questions on the impact of humankind on the environment –Nature vulnerable to human impact –These new threats were too startling to ignore, thus the text was instrumental in bringing about public awareness on environmental issues

30 First International Conference on Conservation Biology 1978 Michael Soule proposes a new interdisciplinary approach to save species from human caused extinction Stanford & UCLA begin to develop conservation biology courses/discipline Society for Conservation Biology founded, 1985


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