26 - The future of connectivity conservation  pp. 676-694

The future of connectivity conservation

By Andrew F. Bennett, Kevin R. Crooks and M. Sanjayan

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The present threat to Earth's biodiversity from the human enterprise is unprecedented in historic time. Understanding the consequences of environmental change, and developing effective strategies to maintain plant and animal species and the ecological processes on which all of life hinges, present enormous challenges. The growing awareness of environmental change has been mirrored, albeit with a lag, by a shift in focus of scientific endeavors in the ecological sciences. The last three decades have seen strong growth in disciplines that emphasize the importance of using scientific knowledge and skills to address threats to the future of ecosystems throughout the world.

Conservation biology emerged in the 1980s as a “mission-oriented” crisis discipline (Soulé and Wilcox 1980; Soulé 1985). It was to be a “new rallying point for biologists wishing to pool their knowledge and techniques to solve problems” (Soulé and Wilcox 1980). Rapid growth in this field has been accompanied by new journals, such as Animal Conservation, Biodiversity and Conservation, Conservation Biology, Ecological Applications, Ecology and Society, and Pacific Conservation Biology, in which setting out the conservation implications of the published research is regarded as a necessary and important part of the contribution. Likewise, rapid growth in the discipline of landscape ecology has been based on the premise that conceptual advances and empirical studies of the ways in which spatial pattern affects ecological processes will deliver insights for improved land management (Forman 1995; Turner et al. 2001; Wu and Hobbs 2002).

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