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Solutions Exist to Curb Biodiversity Loss

15 Septembre 2018 , Rédigé par Bioécologie Publié dans #Livres - revues - thèses - rapports..., #Biodiversité

CNRS/NEWS, 09.10.2018, by Mathieu Grousson

Is science doing enough to help protect the environment? Following a detailed analysis of 13,000 publications on the subject, the answer is yes. A retort to those who believe that conservation biology, a discipline that studies biodiversity and offers solutions to stop the current crisis, is disconnected from reality, and often not compatible with human activity. Study co-author Laurent Godet explains.

You have just co-published with Vincent Devictor a vast bibliographical analysis of the scientific literature devoted to conservation biology, a discipline that studies biodiversity and offers tools to monitor the current crisis. What were your motivations? 
Laurent Godet:
Conservation biology is a young discipline, for which there are few genuine syntheses of the knowledge that has been produced. But being a discipline whose main objective is to find measures that can slow or even stop the biodiversity crisis, and considering the latter is only accelerating, we need to pause and reflect on the discipline's overall effectiveness. Hence our idea to take stock of the results it produced over the last 15 years. 
Especially given that conservation biology is currently drawing criticism, including from within the academic world? 
L. G.:
According to its detractors, our discipline provides nothing but counter-productive pessimistic messages, its tools are ineffective, and it is interested only in tropical biodiversity hotspots, far from the geographic areas where most humans live. In a word, we're disconnected from reality, and incapable of proposing solutions that integrate socioeconomic issues. Our study is therefore also a response to this unfounded litany. 

Concretely, how did you proceed? 
L. G.: We reviewed the 12,971 articles published between January 2000 and February 2015 in the nine journals in which conservation biologists primarily publish. More precisely, we classified these publications in three categories according to whether they focused on the state of biodiversity, threats to biodiversity, or solutions to contend with its decline. We then classified the publications in the first category according to their findings, whether good or bad, of the species or ecosystem being considered. Within the second category, the subdivisions appeared by themselves, reflecting the different causes behind the decline of biodiversity. Finally for the third, we highlighted the range of proposed conservation solutions, and analyzed the relevance of each one. 
We also classified, in a fourth category called “other,” publications that were not about empirical studies: opinions, debates, controversies, along with epistemological, theoretical, and methodological articles, etc. This group included 76% of the articles in our initial corpus, and at the very least reflects the dynamism and non-monolithic character of our discipline. 

Read more here

L. Godet and V. Devictor, "What Conservation does?" Trends in Ecology and Évolution, 2018. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2018.07.004 (link is external)


One of the great predators, the lynx, is back on the European continent. Photo: Juan-Carlos Muñoz / Biosphoto


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