Directions in Conservation Biology Revisited
Nilsen, E. B., Bowler, D. and Linnell, J. (2018). Directions in Conservation Biology Revisited. 5th European Congress of Conservation Biology. doi: 10.17011/conference/eccb2018/107830
© the Authors, 2018
In any scientific endeavour, the object is to understand how the natural world works. In applied sciences this endeavour is further motivated by a need to predict the effectiveness of management interventions based on scientific data, results or theories.. Conservation biology, which is at its roots an applied science emerged as a science in the 1980’s. Although it profits from older disciplines such as ecology, it is still a relatively young science. In his seminal paper from 1994, G. Caughley (Directions in Conservation Biology, J. Anim. Ecol. 63: 215-244) identified two paradigms in conservation biology. He proposed that while the small population paradigm (concerned with the viability of small populations) is theory laden, the declining population paradigm (concerned with declining populations) was scant of theoretical basis and was carried out mainly as a series of case studies often with limited general interest. To which extent these statements are still justified as conservation biology as a scientific field has grown older remains largely unstudied. In this talk, we will present the results from a review based on a random sample of papers published in the main conservation and applied ecology journals across the last decades. We will limit our review to studies that present (and analyse) empirical data from the natural world. Thus, the papers we include and that broadly falls within the frames of the ecological disciplines, and we disregard papers that belong mainly within the social sciences or forum articles. We first present a summary of the relative frequency of experimental versus observational/correlative studies. The we will then focus on how frequently individual studies mainly i) describe associations among variables, ii) document causal effects, or iii) mainly present updated parameter estimates (e.g. demographic rates from new study sites). Furthermore, we assess the frequency of clearly stated hypothesis from which logical and testable predictions are deduced. When hypothesis are present we assess their generality and boldness in terms of taxonomic and environmental coverage. Finally, for the papers that state clearly testable predictions we assess to which extent they make formal statistical assessments of the resulting models’ predictive capabilities. The ultimate goal of conservation biology is to make a difference in the real world, but the impact of science on conservation outcomes is often hotly contested. We argue that conservation biologists ought to pay attention the philosophy of science and the philosophy of biology, and that a better understanding of how conservation biology as a science is carried out is timely. ...
PublisherOpen Science Centre, University of Jyväskylä
ConferenceECCB2018: 5th European Congress of Conservation Biology. 12th - 15th of June 2018, Jyväskylä, Finland
MetadataShow full item record
- ECCB 2018 
Showing items with similar title or keywords.
The Society for Conservation Biology's Commitment to Facilitate the Creation, Dissemination, and Application of Conservation Science Luke, Debborah (Open Science Centre, University of Jyväskylä, 2018)The Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) currently published two globally recognized peer-reviewed journals, Conservation Biology and Conservation Letters. Publications included in Conservation Biology address issues ...
Linking conservation biology to community assembly processes with hierarchical modelling of species communities Ovaskainen, Otso (Open Science Centre, University of Jyväskylä, 2018)Applications in conservation biology require a profound understanding of community ecology, in particular of the processes that determine the assembly and dynamics of species assemblages at different spatiotemporal scales. ...
Bradshaw, Corey (Open Science Centre, University of Jyväskylä, 2018)I argue that our discipline is caught in a rut of irrelevancy on the grander scale. Much of our research is focussed on refining the basics of what we essentially already know well. While there will always be processes to ...
Devictor, Vincent (Open Science Centre, University of Jyväskylä, 2018)As the Editor in Chief of Biological Conservation, one of the leading journals of the field, I will outline the major directions of the journal and provide future authors with a tool box to help them with their submission. ...
Papworth, Sarah (Open Science Centre, University of Jyväskylä, 2018)There is increasing interest in measuring the scientific and societal impacts of research. This increasing interest can by demonstrated by the increased weighting of "impact case studies" in the latest UK Research Excellence ...