Conservation Biology

Conservation biology addresses the preservation of species and their habitats throughout the world. Techniques used in these endeavors include genetics, vegetation restoration, wildlife management and other natural resource management activities. During the last 10,000 years, species extinctions have been occurring at an alarming rate, due to the human population explosion, and resulting habitat destruction for agriculture and other human purposes. The importance of conservation biology is underscored by the fact that an estimated 1800 populations per hour are being lost at the present pace of ecological damage. Conservation biology seeks to maintain populations of plants and animals, with an emphasis upon rare and endangered species. 

An intrinsic part of conservation biology is identification of species interactions, in order to understand the core elements of preserving an intact habitat in its full functionality.  Equally important is an understanding of genetic diversity within each species and the population dynamics that underlies the progression of species numbers from one generation to the next. Conservation biology is practiced by governmental agencies, but also by private organizations, since key element of land ownership are often privately owned; coordination of a regional strategy among landowners is vital for the preservation of biological corridors. Captive breeding programs are used as a defense of last resort in the preservation of a species.

  • Overgrazing Featured Article Overgrazing Overgrazing

    Overgrazing is herbivory (animal comsumption of plants) that extracts an unsustainable yield of floral biomass from an ecosystem; however, the term is most often... More »

  • Declining grassland biodiversity Featured Article Declining grassland biodiversity Declining grassland biodiversity

    Declining grassland biodiversity is a major ecological issue, although it has received only a small fraction of the attention given to forests or wetlands, by... More »

  • Which fish should I eat? Featured Article Which fish should I eat? Which fish should I eat?

    Despite the relative lack of information integrating the health, ecological, and economic impacts of different fish dietary choices, clear and simple guidance is needed to effect... More »

  • Polar bear Featured Article Polar bear Polar bear

      The Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) spends so much of its annual time at sea that the species is classified as a marine mammal; however, it is also commonly... More »

  • Overfishing Featured Article Overfishing Overfishing

    Overfishing is the human act of extracting aquatic (that is, marine and freshwater) fauna from natural water bodies at a rate greater than the reproductive and recruitment... More »

  • Burnt Cape Featured Article Burnt Cape Burnt Cape

    The Burnt Cape is a limestone barren headland on the extreme northwest of the Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland, Canada. The prevailing harsh cold climate and [calcareous]... More »

  • Mojave Desert Featured Article Mojave Desert Mojave Desert

    WWF Terrestrial Ecoregions Collection The Mojave Desert is the smallest of the four North American deserts. While the Mojave lies between the... More »

  • Oldest Known Wild Bird in U.S. Featured Article Oldest Known Wild Bird in U.S. Oldest Known Wild Bird in U.S.

    Oldest Known Wild Bird in U.S. Returns to Midway to Raise Chick The oldest known U.S. wild bird—a coyly conservative 60—is a new mother. The bird, a Laysan... More »

Recently Updated
Mediterranean woodlands and forests Last Updated on 2016-04-08 01:08:00 WWF Terrestrial Ecoregions Collection The Mediterranean woodlands and forests ecoregion stretches from the coastal plains to the hills of northern Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, and eventually surrounds the Atlas Mountains. To the north is the Alboran Sea, the westernmost element of the Mediterranean Sea. The variety of substrates and climates leads to a diverse mix of vegetation including holm oak forests, cork oak forests, wild olive and carob woodlands, as well as extensive Berber thuya forest. This old, endemic North African conifer species is representative of the great diversity and endemism of both flora and fauna in this ecoregion. Reptile diversity is high and the region harbors charismatic large mammals, including the rare and endangered Barbary leopard. Unfortunately, this region contains expanding human populations and is enduring... More »
Zambezian and mopane woodlands Last Updated on 2016-01-20 13:37:37 WWF Terrestrial Ecoregions Collection Zambezian and mopane woodlands are dispersed throughout southern Africa, bounded by the Luangwa River in the north and the Pongola River in the south. Mopane tree (Colophospermum mopane) woodlands mix with Zambezian woodlands in lower-elevation areas, often along major river valleys. Although the ecoregion, particularly the mopane communities, is considered to be low in endemism, it supports some of the largest and most significant wildlife populations in Africa, particularly those of the endangered African elephant (Loxodonta africana) and critically endangered Black rhino (Diceros bicornis). Important populations of predators are also found in the Zambezian and Mopane Woodlands. The abundance of wildlife can be largely attributed to the high level of protection in the ecoregion, in which more than 45 percent of... More »
Zambezian flooded grasslands Last Updated on 2016-01-17 15:49:24 WWF Terrestrial Ecoregions Collection Located within the miombo and mopane woodlands of the Central African Plateau, Zambezian flooded grasslands are an anomaly of productivity and abundance in a landscape characterized by nutrient deficient soil and associated vegetation. Unlike the surrounding woodlands that generally support animals only in rather low densities, the wetlands and floodplains of this ecoregion provide habitats to sizable faunal populations, since food and water are abundant throughout the majority of the year. Large populations of waterbirds gather during the rainy season, and numerous herd animals and  carnivores  frequent the landscape. However, in a trend of rapid population growth and increasing need for land and natural resources, this fragile ecoregion may face increasing threat. Several conservation measures... More »
Enriquillo wetlands Last Updated on 2015-09-12 15:54:07 WWF Terrestrial Ecoregions Collection Consisting of a series of lagoons, the Enriquillo wetlands ecoregion  represents the remains of an ancient marine channel that divided the island of Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti) into two paleo-islands more than 5000 years before present. The largest lake in this ecoregion, Lake Enriquillo in the Dominican Republic is the largest and most hypersaline lake in all of the Antilles. It consists of a depression that is approximately 44 metres (m) below sea level, surrounded by thorny subtropical mountains and dry forests of great biological importance. The lake surface is the lowest topographic point in the entire Caribbean Basin. This lake is home to the largest population of American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus), although currently its the populations of this reptile are at risk. It is also the... More »
Nama Karoo Last Updated on 2015-09-07 17:42:32 WWF Terrestrial Ecoregions Collection The Nama Karoo is a vast, open, arid ecoregion in southern Africa dominated by low-shrub vegetation, punctuated by rugged relief. Although not remarkably rich in species or endemism, the flora and fauna of the region are impressively adapted to its climatic extremes. The Nama Karoo ecoregion is part of the Deserts and Xeric Shrublands biome, within the Afrotropics Realm. The major threats to biodiversity are posed by pastoralism, introduction of alien species of plants, mining and conversion of native habitat to agriculture, all exacerbated by the fact that less than one percent of the ecoregion is presently conserved. Most of the Nama Karoo occurs on the central plateau of the Cape Province in South Africa, although it extends over the Orange River into Namibia in the northwest. The Great Escarpment,... More »