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.

  • 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 »

  • 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 »

  • Bats' worth to agriculture Featured Article Bats' worth to agriculture Bats' worth to agriculture

    Bats Worth Billions to Agriculture: Pest-control Services at Risk Pest-control services provided by insect-eating bats in the United States likely save the U.S.... 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 »

  • Wind turbine bat mortality Featured Article Wind turbine bat mortality Wind turbine bat mortality

    Wind turbine bat mortality is a significant adverse impact of large scale wind energy development. Wind energy has become an increasingly important sector of the renewable... More »

  • Northern snakehead Featured Article Northern snakehead Northern snakehead

    The northern snakehead (Channa argus) is a freshwater fish native to China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, which has been introduced to portions of the USA, where it is... 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 »

  • Orangutan Featured Article Orangutan Orangutan

    The largest of the Asian primates, the orangutan, belongs to the Hominidae (or Great Apes) family whose members also include humans, chimpanzees, and gorillas.  While fossil... More »

Recently Updated
Species richness Last Updated on 2014-11-09 19:13:40 Species richness is simply the number of species present in a sample, community, or taxonomic group. Species richness is one component of the concept of species diversity, which also incorporates evenness, that is, the relative abundance of species. Species diversity is one component of the broader concept of biodiversity. About 1.75 million living species and 300,000 fossil species have been described by scientists. Estimates of the total species richness of the Earth range from three to 10 million, with some estimates as high as 50 million. Patterns of species richness can be observed at a variety of levels. The causes of these patterns remain active areas of research in ecology, biogeography, and evolutionary biology. Some taxonomic groups of organisms have more species than other groups. For example, there are almost three times more species of beetles (Order Coleoptera) than... More »
Umbrella species Last Updated on 2014-11-09 18:40:24   The concept of an umbrella species has been used by conservation practitioners to provide protection for other species using the same habitat as the umbrella species.  As the term implies, a species casts an “umbrella” over the other species by being more or equally sensitive to habitat changes. Thus monitoring this one species and managing for its continued success results in the maintenance of high quality habitat for the other species in the area.  Animals identified as umbrella species typically have large home ranges that cover multiple habitat types.  Therefore, protecting the umbrella species effectively protects many habitat types and the many species that depend on those habitats. Although the effectiveness of this conservation approach is debated, it is often used by practitioners to select a minimum size for protected... More »
Deforestation Last Updated on 2014-11-09 17:48:51 Deforestation is the destruction or clearing of forested lands, usually for the purposes of expanding agricultural land or for timber harvesting. When the process is conducted by clearcutting (removal of most or all of the canopy tree growth, leaving few or no live or dead trees standing) or when mass forest burning occurs, significant losses of habitat and biodiversity may result, including the erosion of biological community structure and the extinction of species. Deforestation is proceeding at a rapid pace in may areas of the world, especially in the tropical and boreal forest regions of the earth, with annual net loss of forests during the 1990s estimated in the range of nine to sixteen million hectares per annum. Large scale deforestation may have adverse impacts on biosequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide, exacerbating greenhouse gas buildup, through the release of stored... More »
Northern mixed grasslands Last Updated on 2014-10-26 15:50:23   WWF Terrestrial Ecoregions Collectio The Northern Mixed Grasslands cross Alberta, Saskatchewan, and southern Manitoba in Canada, and run from North Dakota to northern Nebraska in the U.S., covering about 270,000 km2. Essentially an ecotone, this transitional belt separates the three tall grass prairie ecoregions to the east (Northern, Central, and Flint Hills Tall Grasslands) from the Northwestern Mixed Grasslands. In addition, the ecoregion separates the shortgrass prairie to the south from the cooler boreal forests to the north. This ecoregion is intermediate in growing season length, vegetation structure, and rainfall from the drier units to the west and the more mesic tall grass prairies to the east. It is separated from the Central and Southern Mixed Grasslands by climatic factors, the southern unit having a much warmer climate and a... More »
Mangrove ecology Last Updated on 2014-10-19 17:31:46 ​Mangrove ecology is the study of biotic interactions within mangrove swamp ecosystems. These habitats are significant not only for the biodiversity they represent, but also for the protection of coastal erosion, and for the provision of protected nursery areas for marine fauna.   Mangroves worldwide cover an approximate area of 240 000 square kilometers of sheltered coastlines in the tropics and subtropics. Mangroves stabilize coastal intertidal soils pereventing coastal erosion Four of the most common ecotypes include fringe, riverine, basin, and scrub forests. Mangroves are restricted to the intertidal zone. Mangroves in general have a great capacity to recover from major natural disturbances. Mangroves maintain water quality by trapping sediments and taking up excess... More »