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.

  • 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 »

  • 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 »

  • 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 »

  • 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 »

  • 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 »

  • 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 »

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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 »
Namibian savanna woodlands Last Updated on 2015-09-07 13:29:18 WWF Terrestrial Ecoregions Collection The Namibian savanna woodlands ecoregion covers the Great Escarpment that delimits the interior of southern Africa from both the Kaokoveld Desert and Namib Desert. This broken and deeply dissected escarpment is an area of high endemism for plants, invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, mammals and birds. The northern area of the ecoregion, the Kaoko escarpment, is an endemism "hotspot" (area of extremely high species richness and endemism). The Namibian savanna woodlands comprise a land area of approximately 87,100 square miles. This northern area is poorly protected and is under threat from poaching, off-road driving, and to a lesser extent from farming, and resultant habitat fragmentation;  much of this destabilisation in the Angolan portion of the ecoregion stems from the Cuban mercenaries aided... More »
Colorado Plateau shrublands Last Updated on 2015-09-05 12:10:49 WWF Terrestrial Ecoregions Collection   The Colorado Plateau shrublands is epitomized by the Grand Canyon, an area that has been called the "land of color and canyons." The Plateau can be thought of as an elevated, northward-tilted saucer. It is characterized by its high elevation and arid to semi-arid climate. The Colorado Plateau has developed extensive topographic relief through the erosive action of high-gradient, swift-flowing rivers that have downcut and incised the plateau. Approximately 90 percent of the plateau is drained by the Colorado River and its tributaries, notably the lower catchmentCatchment is the entire area of a hydrological drainage basin. of the Green River, the San Juan River and Animas River. This ecoregion is classified within the Deserts and Xeric Shrublands biome, and is codified as WWF Ecoregion... More »
Kaokoveld Desert Last Updated on 2015-07-14 14:38:13 WWF Terrestrial Ecoregions Collection The Kaokoveld Desert represents the northern area of the vast Namib Desert. It is a harsh, arid landscape of rugged mountains, gravel plains and shifting sand dunes. Surface water is scarce, with only one perennial river flowing through the region, the Kunene River. However, the dry riverbeds transecting the area are the lifelines of the desert. They are well vegetated and are home to large mammals such as African Elephant, Black Rhino and Giraffe. The remainder of the landscape is poorly vegetated and extremely arid. Coastal fogs allow a range of interesting, desert-adapted animal species to survive in this low-rainfall environment. The relict gymnosperm Welwitschia mirabilis, which represents the sole surviving member of its family, is found throughout the ecoregion. The Kaokoveld Desert is well protected in... More »