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Conservation Biology, The Definition, Origin, Development and Purpose

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What is conservation biology?

Conservation biology is the scientific field that focuses on documenting biodiversity, studying human impact on species, genetic variation, and ecosystems. The field focuses on studying methods to prevent extinction of species, maintain genetic diversity, and to protect/restore biological communities and their ecosystem functions (Primack 2012). To be a conservation biologist means to study these topics with the intent to preserve the diversity of species and biological communities, maintain ecological complexity, promote evolution, and educate the public and those in the scientific community. The goal of this essay is to examine what it means to be a conservation biologist and the role they play in environmental advocacy.

Conservation biologists typically analyze survival probability of species, survey ecosystems and communities, examine gene pools of a community or population, compose population studies, examine physical/chemical effects on all biological levels, and examine the current environmental issues. From studies conducted, conservation biologists begin to synthesize the knowledge gained from their studies and previous studies done to create solutions to environmental issues and then test them. These studies are generally focused on small scale conservation or large scale, and occur locally and internationally.

Conservation biology has changed overtime and beginning to focus more on human impacts on biodiversity loss and degradation. This involves examining social, cultural, and economic systems and how they interact to create specific worldviews on the environment. By studying the anthropogenic sources of environmental issues, the conservation community believes they can create solutions that integrate humans into the environment without significant degradation and biodiversity loss. Conservation biology is also focused more on designing networks of protected areas rather than just conserving the most area or the biggest piece of area possible. Conservation biologists design networks of protected areas by focusing on resiliency, redundancy, and reality to attain a large representation of biodiversity on all organizational levels and have enough area to be resilient enough to maintain current biodiversity. Finally, conservation biologists must face the reality that they must gain political will and funds to protect lands and regulate/manage protected areas. This can be done by becoming more involved in environmental advocacy.

Conservation biologists are actually already involved in environmental advocacy, as they are the basis on which environmental advocacy functions. Environmental advocacy is the social movement with the goal of promoting environmental health and protection through education, activism, politics. Environmental advocacy bases their activism on the science that conservation biologists provide through research that is published in scientific journals and at scientific conferences. Environmental advocacy gets quite a bit more attention from political figures and the media because their activities are meant to gain public attention and influence political leaders and their decisions. Whether scientists should participate in environmental advocacy is a tricky issue. Scientists should have direct communication with the government and political figures, but should be extremely cautious and reluctant to take part in environmental protests and stunts in fear of losing credibility. Scientists should appear professional so their work is taken seriously. If they are not taken seriously, both the science and environmental advocacy community could lose respect or support which is extremely important. I believe it is important for scientists to express their opinions, solutions, and ideas in a professional manner through media, speeches, and any form of communication possible in the name of environmental protection and advocacy.

Overall, conservation biology is a field that has a huge impact on our Earth’s present and future health and function. It is important that conservation biologists take action to protect the world that they live in and communicate their knowledge from research and studies to all who are listening. Scientists are professional, yet inspiring and I would personally like to hear more from scientists about their studies in media and in relation to policy.

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Conservation Biology, the Definition, Origin, Development and Purpose. (2019, January 03). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 7, 2023, from
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