Conservation and the Social Sciences

Conservation and the Social Sciences As forests shrink, fisheries collapse, and species—the charismatic and the unknown—wink out around the globe, the conservation community continues to look to the biological sciences to inform policy and practice. Biology, of course, provides us with the theoretical and analytic tools to identify rare and threatened species and ecosystems. Biology also enables us to estimate the limits to human use necessary to sustain these systems. Our failure to understand these basic ( though often extraordinarily complex ) issues sometimes leads to conservation policies and practices ill‐suited to addressing the problems they were intended to solve. More often, however, we get the biology right, but our conservation interventions still fail to sustain target species and ecosystems. The disconnect between our biological knowledge and conservation success has led to a growing sense among scientists and practitioners that social factors are often the primary determinants of success or failure. Although it may seem counterintuitive that the foremost influences on the success of environmental policy could be social , conservation interventions are the product of human decision‐making processes and require changes in human behavior to succeed. Thus, conservation policies and practices are inherently social phenomena, as are the intended and unintended changes http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Conservation Biology Wiley

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 2003 Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
ISSN
0888-8892
eISSN
1523-1739
D.O.I.
10.1046/j.1523-1739.2003.01738.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

As forests shrink, fisheries collapse, and species—the charismatic and the unknown—wink out around the globe, the conservation community continues to look to the biological sciences to inform policy and practice. Biology, of course, provides us with the theoretical and analytic tools to identify rare and threatened species and ecosystems. Biology also enables us to estimate the limits to human use necessary to sustain these systems. Our failure to understand these basic ( though often extraordinarily complex ) issues sometimes leads to conservation policies and practices ill‐suited to addressing the problems they were intended to solve. More often, however, we get the biology right, but our conservation interventions still fail to sustain target species and ecosystems. The disconnect between our biological knowledge and conservation success has led to a growing sense among scientists and practitioners that social factors are often the primary determinants of success or failure. Although it may seem counterintuitive that the foremost influences on the success of environmental policy could be social , conservation interventions are the product of human decision‐making processes and require changes in human behavior to succeed. Thus, conservation policies and practices are inherently social phenomena, as are the intended and unintended changes

Journal

Conservation BiologyWiley

Published: Jun 1, 2003

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