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.

  • Macaroni penguin Featured Article Macaroni penguin Macaroni penguin

    The Macaroni penguin (scientific name: Eudyptes chrysolophus) is is one of seventeen species of flightless birds in the family of penguins. It is one of six "Crested... 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 »

  • Habitat fragmentation Featured Article Habitat fragmentation Habitat fragmentation

    Habitat fragmentation involves alteration of habitat resulting in spatial separation of habitat units from a previous state of greater... More »

  • Belizean pine forests Featured Article Belizean pine forests Belizean pine forests

    WWF Terrestrial Ecoregions Collection The Belizean pine forests on Central America's northwestern Caribbean Sea coast represent various... 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 »

  • 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 »

Recently Updated
Willamette Valley forests Last Updated on 2015-03-04 20:55:59 WWF Terrestrial Ecoregions Collection The Willamette Valley forests ecoregion is an element of the Temperate Broadleaf  and Mixed forests biome in the Pacific Northwest region of the USA. Once a prairie supporting oak stands and groves of Douglas-fir and other trees, cultivation and development have destroyed nearly all of the natural habitat in the Willamette Valley. Just one-tenth of one percent of the valley’s native grasslands and oak savannas remains. Fire shaped the Willamette Valley, as it did most of the northwest grassland and savanna communities. Possibly dating back to the Pleistocene era, periodic burning by Native Americans created ideal conditions for native perennial grasses. More recent fire suppression activities–with the concurrent spread of agriculture and development–have contributed enormously to the... More »
Central and Southern Cascades forests Last Updated on 2015-02-21 19:00:03 WWF Terrestrial Ecoregions Collection The Central and Southern Cascades forests span several physiographic provinces in Washington and Oregon, including the southern Cascades, the Western Cascades, and the High Cascades, all within the USA. This ecoregion extends from Snoqualmie Pass in Washington to slightly north of the California border. The region is characterized by accordant ridge crests separated by steep, deeply dissected valleys, strongly influenced by historic and recent volcanic events (e.g. Mount Saint Helens). Ridge elevations in the northern section are as high as 2000 meters (m) with three dormant volcanoes ranging from 2550 m (Mount Saint Helens) to 4392 m (Mount Rainier). The stratigraphy dates to Precambrian-Cenozoic epochs. Pleistocene glacial activity has been widespread, creating numerous lakes and mountain valleys. However,... More »
Puget lowland forests Last Updated on 2015-02-14 17:58:34 WWF Terrestrial Ecoregions Collection The Puget lowland forests occupy a north-south topographic depression between the Olympic Peninsula and western slopes of the Cascade Mountains, extending from north of the Canadian border to the lower Columbia River along the Oregon border. The portion of this forest ecoregion within British Columbia includes the Fraser Valley lowlands, the coastal lowlands locally known as the Sunshine Coast and several of the Gulf Islands. This ecoregion is within the Nearctic Realm and classified as part of the Temperate Coniferous Forests biome. This ecoregion is distinct from the mountainous hydro-riparian systems to the west, as well as the drier areas to the north and east. The Puget Sound Valley is a topographically depressed previously glaciated area consisting of moderately dissected tableland covered by glacial till,... More »
Sierra Nevada forests Last Updated on 2015-01-29 19:20:06 WWF Terrestrial Ecoregions Collection The Sierra Nevada forests are the forested areas of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, which run northwest to southwest and are approximately 650 kilometers long and 80 km wide. The range achieves its greatest height towards the south, with a number of peaks reaching heights of over 4000 meters. Several large river valleys dissect the western slope with dramatic canyons. The eastern escarpment is much steeper than the western slope, in general.   The range supports a diverse set of natural communities with many endemic species and extraordinary habitats. A significant fraction of the land area in the Sierra Nevada Mountains is unforested, since elevations above the treeline do not support even conifer growth. This ecoregion is part of the Nearctic Realm. The Sierra Nevada forests ecoregion harbors one of... More »
Wasatch and Uinta montane forests Last Updated on 2015-01-27 12:38:28 WWF Terrestrial Ecoregions Collection The Wasatch and Unita montane forests ecoregion is a distinct block of high montane habitat stretching from southeastern Idaho and extreme southwestern Wyoming to the isolated ranges of the Colorado Plateau in southern Utah. The ecoregion includes the Wasatch Range, a major north-south range; and the Unitas, one of a very few major North American east-west ranges. This ecoregion is within the Nearctic Realm and is an element of the Temperate Coniferous Forests biome. The dominant vegetation of the ecoregion is coniferous forests of varying composition. Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa), Douglas-fir (Psuedotsuga menziesii), and Subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa), and Englemann spruce (Picea engelmanni) communities all exist in these mountains in various associations. Limber pine (Pinus flexilis) also occurs... More »