Synergies and trade-offs

Recognizing the many possible outcomes of community-based conservation

Authored by: Jeremy Brooks

The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Biodiversity

Print publication date:  September  2016
Online publication date:  October  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138827738
eBook ISBN: 9781315530215
Adobe ISBN: 9781315530208


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The problem of biodiversity loss has recently begun to resurface as a major environmental issue. A number of scientific papers have highlighted alarming trends in extinction rates, range contractions, and population declines – a process known as defaunation (Dirzo et al. 2014). These trends have been identified for both terrestrial (Gatson and Fuller 2008, Dirzo et al. 2014, Newbold et al. 2015) and marine species (McCauley et al. 2015). In addition, a comprehensive literature review has outlined the largely negative effects of these declines on ecosystem functioning and the provision of ecosystem services (Cardinale et al. 2012). While estimating extinction rates can be difficult (Haila, this volume) and there is disagreement about how many species are lost annually (He and Hubbell 2011, De Vos et al. 2015), recent studies have strengthened the argument that the planet has entered a sixth mass extinction phase (Pimm et al. 2014, Ceballos et al. 2015). Importantly, this scholarly work has also been supplemented by popular works that have helped put biodiversity loss and species extinctions back on the radar (Kolbert 2014), and have promoted discussion of “re-wilding” to reimagine humanity’s place in the natural world and restore key ecosystem processes (MacKinnon 2013).

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