The nexus of advocacy and science has been a recurring discussion theme since the earliest days of the Society for Conservation Biology. When Michael Soulé defined conservation as a “mission‐oriented discipline,” he succinctly captured the issue. He and others have asked whether biologists on a mission to save ecosystems, ecological communities, species, and populations can provide the value‐free and independent science that conservation planning requires. Should conservation biologists be required to check their philosophy and morals at the door when entering an arena fraught with political angst and economic implications? Does a commitment to saving biological diversity necessarily obviate a scientist's opportunities to contribute his or her professional skills to land and resource planning when objectives other than conservation are included? Although this dilemma has not been solved, the debate has taken a different turn. Some conservation biologists question whether their colleagues can provide value‐neutral science to land‐use planning and resource management where private lands, land developers, resource extraction, and compensated consultation are involved. In the context of inescapable trade‐offs, can conservation biologists be trusted to deliver professional judgment without bias? Can they be anything but accomplices to the loss of habitats where species will be taken and
Conservation Biology – Wiley
Published: Feb 1, 2007
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