How Can Paleobiology Help Conservation Efforts? – #365papers – 2017 – 40

#365papers for February 9, 2017

Barnosky et al, 2017, Merging paleobiology with conservation biology to guide the future of terrestrial ecosystems: Science, v. 355, eaah4787.

What’s it about?

This paper discusses the kinds of decisions that must be made by conservation biologists when trying to save species and ecosystems. These decisions depend on the overall goals of conservation: the maintain and restore current ecosystems, to save species, or to maximize biodiversity for example. These decisions can be informed by paleobiology.

Why does it matter?

Under the effects of human expansion and modern climate change, ecosystems are under stress and species are going extinct. Conservation biologists are putting forward efforts to safe species and whole ecosystems, but in the light of climate and other environmental changes, restoring pristine, original ecosystems might not be possible. Insights from the geological past might help us know what actually is possible in order to assure success in conservation efforts.

Why did I read this?

This paper came across my desk when a research colleague suggested we read it in preparation for another round of grant submission. So I read it.

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