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Conservation Biology and the "Real World"

abstract1 (full description below): Pp 1-12 Introduction in Conservation Biology: The Science of Scarcity and Diversity. 1986
Conservation Biology and the "Real World". PDF/Acrobat file  

Mission-oriented crisis disciplines such as conservation biology straddle the frontier between worlds. Perhaps a better metaphor is that they are like a shuttle bus going back and forth, with a cargo of ideas, guidelines, and empirical results in one direction, and a cargo of issues, problems, criticism, constraints, and changed conditions in the other. As I will suggest, however, none of these worlds is at bottom any more real or important in a social or physical sense than any other. Each is part of a larger whole. When this fact is ignored, we generate disciplinary hierarchies that inhibit progress in solving conservation problems. Conservation biology will succeed to the degree that its theoreticians, practitioners, and users acknowledge the larger context in which they exist, and to the degree that they respect one another's roles, contributions, and problems. Anyone wishing to cultivate such an attitude of respect, or wishing to counter a narrow, chauvinistic definition of the discipline need only consider the history and diverse intellectual tributaries of conservation biology.