925 NW 31st Street Corvallis, OR 97330, USA. 1 am writing in defense of wilderness as a foundation of conservation. The wilderness idea has fallen on hard times of late. Not only does industry fight it at every turn, but even conservation biologists now shun wilderness in favor of the more moderate notion of sustainable management of natural resources. Sustainability is being hailed as a new paradigm for conservation (Salwasser 1990);it seems to represent the perfect middle ground in natural resource conflicts. Whereas genuine protection of wilderness and biodiversity would demand radical changes in the way we do business as a society, the sustainability notion is safe and nonthreatening. How on earth could anyone be opposed to sustainability? The paradigm shift from wilderness preservation to sustainable management is easy enough to explain. Biologists have suddenly realized that set-asides are of i n adequate size and number to maintain biodiversity. This would be true even under stable environmental conditions; with a changing climate, many reserves will no longer serve the elements they were established to protect (Peters and Darling, 1985).If we make the defeatist assumption that substantial new reserves are out of the question, a logical response to our
Conservation Biology – Wiley
Published: Mar 1, 1991
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