Biodiversity Conservation

Paul Jepson

in Geography

ISBN: 9780199874002
Published online February 2013 | | DOI:
Biodiversity Conservation

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Biodiversity conservation is the 1990s manifestation of social, scientific, and policy agendas seeking to maintain or restore attributes of nature valued by societies or groups therein. The term “biodiversity” was coined during the 1980s and refers to the totality of genes, species, and ecosystem in a defined space. It became a mainstream policy concern following the ratification of the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity. Although the instrumental-value arguments for biodiversity conservation gain most traction in policy, the term is also used as the modern-day label for a broader set of moral-aesthetic value arguments that have origins in social movements dating back to the 19th century. Key concerns have been the conservation of natural resources, avoiding the extinction of species and other forms of biological diversity, the protection of sites and landscapes with cultural and scientific value, and lately the maintenance and restoration of ecosystem services. Because its strategies involve the reservation and/or restrictions on the use of land, biodiversity conservation is a domain of significant politics and controversy. These restrictions relate to, for instance, efforts to curtail the actions of powerful corporate actors and ensuring conservation actors respect the rights of local and indigenous communities. During the 1980s conservation biology was established as the leading scientific discipline informing biodiversity conservation policy. Subsequently, conservation science has become more transdisciplinary as the social, cultural, political, and economic dimensions of action and engagement become more apparent. In particular, work at the interface of ecology and economics is giving rise to powerful new articulations of instrumental-value arguments that frame biodiversity and ecosystems as stocks of natural capital able to generate a stream of vital services and benefits. Human geographers are contributing to more interdisciplinary understandings of biodiversity conservation through innovative and important studies on the conduct of biodiversity conservation. However, as yet there is no “conservation geography” in the same way that conservation biology can lay claim to a cannon.

Article.  7361 words. 

Subjects: Earth Sciences and Geography ; Human Geography

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