This textbook is meant to give students an introduction to the field of conservation biology. It provides the students with a basic understanding of the purpose and scope of the field and the types of threats facing species, ecosystems and habitats. The book is not intended to provide an exhaustive knowledge of the field, but to introduce students to the basic nature of the discipline, the concepts that are currently being researched, and methods that can be used to address conservation challenges. This textbook is meant to be used by students learning conservation biology as their first introductory course in the discipline. This book can also be used as a student research textbook, in which students are taught the basics of literature review and research methodology. This textbook is not meant to be an advanced text, but will provide a solid foundation in the subject. The core principles of the field, the importance of conservation and biodiversity, are present in each chapter.
In the last 40 years, conservation biology has become an established field of research and academic study. While being historically and conventionally defined as a discipline, conservation biology in the 21st century continues to evolve. It now encompasses all aspects of biology, including evolution, genetics, physiology, and ecology that impact species survival and well-being. Conservation biology is also an interdisciplinary field of study that includes fields such as environmental science, geography, policy, and economics to name a few. One of the primary goals of the conservation biology is to develop and apply a more scientifically sound approach to conservation.,,
Conservation biology is situated between the fields of natural sciences, such as ecology and evolutionary genetics and social sciences. Conservation biology can be argued to be as empirical as the natural sciences and as a tool for policy and planning as the social sciences. It overlaps with other disciplines such as geography, environmental sciences, and political science to the extent that natural science methods and theories can be used to address conservation problems, and policies and tools developed by social sciences can be applied to conservation problems. This interdisciplinary nature of conservation biology is integral to its success and should not be ignored in training students and researchers to become conservation biologists. While individual students and researchers may choose to focus more on one type of science or another, it is of critical importance that conservation biologists understand and appreciate the strengths and limitations of each. The complexity of issues being addressed in conservation biology requires that we have a diverse set of skills and expertise. This diversity strengthens conservation biology and ensures its continued relevance and adaptability to new challenges.
Conservation biology since 1978 has encompassed many topics which are still considered within this discipline to this day, including: genetic diversity of species; species ecology; evaluation of biological diversity, including biodiversity and ecosystem services, and ecosystem integrity; management of populations of species; and human-wildlife conflict. Many of these topics are covered in depth in the first edition of this textbook, the second edition, and the third edition. The fourth edition, to be published by Cambridge University Press, continues to build on the previous editions and has been expanded to include the latest advances in evolutionary ecology, ecosystem dynamics, molecular genetics, and marine ecology. Lecture topics include population genetics, conservation genetics, population viability analysis, and conservation physiology. 827ec27edc