Conservation Biology in Action: Case Studies


Conservation biology is a crisis discipline focused on protecting the biological diversity of our world. The field endeavours not only to study biological diversity, but more importantly, to take action – tailored to the threats faced by species and ecosystems, and to local circumstances – that will halt or reverse environmental destruction.

Keywords: biological diversity; activism; environmentalism; protected areas; resolution; butterflies; macaws

Figure 1.

‘Trimates’ Dian Fossey (left), Jane Goodall (centre) and Brute Galdikas began their careers studying animal behaviour, but eventually devoted themselves to conservation activism. Photograph courtesy of the Leakey Foundation.

Figure 2.

Paul Todd of The Nature Conservancy (left) discusses the management of the Silver Creek Preserve in Idaho with neighbouring rancher Bud Purdee. Photograph© Martha Hodgkins‐Green.

Figure 3.

The heath fritillary butterfly (inset) requires open, patchy habitats to maintain healthy populations. Photographs© Martin Warren.

Figure 4.

A wolf stalks an elk herd in Yellowstone National Park. Photograph by Bill Campbell.

Figure 5.

The Kissimmee River Restoration Project involves removing two water control structures (S‐65B and S‐65C) and backfilling 37 km of canal to restore 72 km of river channel and allow floodwaters to cover the floodplain. From South Florida Water Management District.

Figure 6.

A captive male peregrine falcon feeding young at a propagation facility. These animals will later be released into the wild. Photograph courtesy of T. J. Cade, The Peregrine Fund.

Figure 7.

(a) A blue‐and‐yellow macaw (Ara ararauna) uses a tree cavity as a nest site. (b) Red‐and‐green macaws (Ara chloroptera) gather at a cliff to feed on exposed clay. Photographs© Charles Munn.


Further Reading

Brown K (2000) Transforming a discipline: a new form of scientist‐activist emerges. Science 287: 1192–1193.

Collett J and Karakashain S (eds) (1996) Greening the College Curriculum: A Guide to Environmental Teaching in the Liberal Arts. Washington DC: Island Press.

Cox PA (1997) Nafanua: Saving the Samoan Rain Forest. New York: WH Freeman.

Meffe GC, Carroll CR and contributors (1997) Principles of Conservation Biology, 2nd edn. Sunderland: Sinauer Associates.

Primack R (1998) Essentials of Conservation Biology, 2nd edn. Sunderland: Sinauer Associates.

Primack R (2000) A Primer of Conservation Biology, 2nd edn. Sunderland: Sinauer Associates.

Sessions G (ed.) (1995) Deep Ecology for the 21st Century: Readings on the Philosophy and Practice of the New Environmentalism. Boston: Shambala Books.

Stearns BP and Stearns SC (1999) Watching from the Edge of Extinction. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Wilcove DS (1999) The Condor's Shadow: The Loss and Recovery of Wildlife in America. New York: WH Freeman.

Wilson EO (1992) The Diversity of Life. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press.

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Primack, Richard(Apr 2001) Conservation Biology in Action: Case Studies. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0003655]