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 »

  • 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 »

  • 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 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 »

  • 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 »

  • 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 »

  • 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 »

  • Alberta Mountain forests Featured Article Alberta Mountain forests Alberta Mountain forests

    WWF Terrestrial Ecoregions Collection The Alberta Mountain forests ecoregion lies entirely within Canada and almost fully within the province... More »

Recently Updated
Southern Africa bushveld Last Updated on 2015-04-20 21:38:20 WWF Terrestrial Ecoregions Collection The Southern Africa bushveld is an element of the vast savannas that cover much of southern Africa. There is low endemism in this ecoregion for both flora or fauna, but the charismatic large mammals and rich birdlife characteristic of African savannas are in evidence. The rugged Waterberg Mountains contain the highest levels of species richness and endemism in the region, and are noted for their reptilian endemism. Cattle ranching and urban expansion from the nearby Pretoria-Witwatersrand-Vereeniging complex are the major threats to the conservation of this ecoregion. However, ecotourism has become a major land-use commitment in the bushveld and has led to the establishment of a number of small nature reserves and private game parks, which augment the conservation status of this ecoregion. The Southern... More »
Zambezian flooded grasslands Last Updated on 2015-04-08 23:59:46 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 most 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 are... More »
Kalahari acacia-baikiaea woodlands Last Updated on 2015-04-08 23:56:27 WWF Terrestrial Ecoregions Collection Semi-arid Kalahari acacia-baikiaea woodland stretches across the center of southern Africa, from northern Namibia through Botswana and just into the Tuli Block of South Africa. Surface water is scarce here, and droughts occur approximately once every seven years. As a result, the human population is relatively low, especially on the sandveld that covers most of the ecoregion. This woodland supports a rich and diverse fauna, including a variety of ungulates and a number of threatened large mammals such as White Rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum), Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis), African Painted Hunting Dog (Lycaon pictus), and African Elephant (Loxodonta africana). However, human populations are increasing and the growing cattle industry has far-reaching adverse effects on the environment and wildlife. The... More »
Angolan scarp savanna and woodlands Last Updated on 2015-04-08 23:53:01 WWF Terrestrial Ecoregions Collection The Angolan scarp savanna and woodlands ecoregion is a complex area where several major African ecological zones meet, and where topographical features have resulted in a high diversity of vegetation types and significant levels of endemism. Biologically, the most important portion of the ecoregion is the west-facing scarp that supports rainforest at higher altitudes. This forest holds a significant number of endemic birds, and some other endemic animals and plants. The long period of insurrection, foreign mercenary activity and civil instability in Angola have contributed to the outcome that these forests and other parts of the ecoregion have never been adequately surveyed biologically, and hence more endemics can be expected with further study. However, the highly unstable civil war means that all biological... More »
Cactus Last Updated on 2015-04-08 23:49:44 Cactus is a family of plants that are specially adapted to survive arid conditions, most often having leaves reduced to spines, and succulent characteristics. The scientific family name Cactaceae is applied to this group comprising 121 different genera. This plant family is concentrated in the Americas and has a surprisingly broad latitude range in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. A considerable number of cacti species are threatened, chiefly due to habitat loss to agriculture, trampling by illegal human immigration into the southwestern USA, large-scale desert solar power projects, as well as overcollecting. The cactus family is generally considered native to the Americas. A notable exception is Mistletoe cactus, Rhipsalis baccifera, which is thought to have spread, fairly recently, from the American tropics to the subtropics and the deserts of the... More »