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.

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    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 »

  • 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 »

  • 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 »

  • 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 »

  • 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 »

  • Long-finned pilot whale Featured Article Long-finned pilot whale Long-finned pilot whale

    The long-finned pilot whale (scientific name: Globicephala melas) is one of two species in the genus Globicephala. The pilot whale is so named because when swimming, the groups... 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 »

  • Wind turbine bird mortality Featured Article Wind turbine bird mortality Wind turbine bird mortality

    Wind turbine bird mortality is a by-product of large scale wind farms, which are increasingly promoted as an alternative to fossil fuel derived energy production. To adequately... More »

Recently Updated
Madagascar succulent woodlands Last Updated on 2015-06-30 11:26:39 WWF Terrestrial Ecoregions Collection The Madagascar succulent woodlands ecoregion comprises a mosaic of succulent xeric adapted plants and deciduous forests that represent critical habitats for many species of animals and plants restricted to the western region of Madagascar. Some of the remarkable fauna and flora found in this ecoregion include the Giant jumping rat (Hypogeomys antimena), the Flat-tailed tortoise (Pyxis planicauda), two species of baobabs and several species of primates. This succulent woodland is located in southwestern Madagascar extending northward to the central western part of the island. Its southern limit is the start of the Madagascar spiny thicket and northern limit the lower end of the dry deciduous forest. The southern portion of the succulent woodland ecoregion is inland from the spiny thicket and further... More »
Madagascar spiny thickets Last Updated on 2015-06-25 20:16:56 WWF Terrestrial Ecoregions Collection The Madagascar spiny thickets or spiny desert of southern Madagascar, also referred to as deciduous thicket, is a globally distinctive ecoregion. This ecoregion is part of the Deserts and Xeric Shrublands biome, within the Afrotropics Realm. While the island of Madagascar is notable for exceptional levels of endemic plants and animals, the spiny thicket is particularly distinctive with 95 percent of the plant species endemic to the ecoregion. Members of the endemic Didiereaceae family present dominate the thicket, which have similar xeric adaptations to New World cacti, such as small leaves and spines, but with the Madagascar spiny thickets displaying more woody rather than succulent characteristics. There are a total of 288 recorded vertebrate taxa in the Madagascar spiny thickets, including several endemic... More »
Madagascar ericoid thickets Last Updated on 2015-06-17 16:30:14 WWF Terrestrial Ecoregions Collection The fragile montane habitats of the Madagascar ericoid thickets of Madagascar are naturally isolated zones which are threatened mostly by man-made fires to expand cattle pasture. Located on the upper slopes of Madagascar's four major mountain massifs, the ericoid thickets have only recently been explored biologically. There is presently much to be discovered about the biodiversity of this region and how it relates to Madagascar's original forest cover. However, it is established that similar to other ecoregions on Madagascar there are a number of narrowly distributed endemic species and recent biological inventories of the ericoid thicket has identified further endemic species. The Madagascar ericoid thickets is within the Montane grasslands and shrublands biome in the Afrotropics Realm. This... More »
Madagascar dry deciduous forests Last Updated on 2015-06-02 11:51:21 WWF Terrestrial Ecoregions Collection The Madagascar dry deciduous forests of western Madagascar are some of the world’s most species rich and most distinctive tropical dry forests. They are characterized by very high local plant and animal endemism at the species, genera and family levels. A significant fraction of these dry forests have been previously cleared, and the remaining forests are fragmented and critically threatened by uncontrolled burning and cuttining for charcoal production, grazing and agriculture. Since human settlement of this region during the Holocene, an estimated 97 percent of the island’s dry deciduous western forests have been destroyed, and those remaining are extremely localized and fragmented. This ecoregion also contains spectacular limestone karst formations, known as tsingy, and their associated forests,... More »
Zambezian flooded grasslands Last Updated on 2015-06-01 15:56:03 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 climate of rapid population growth and increasing need for land and natural resources, this fragile ecoregion may face increasing threat. Several conservation measures... More »