As an addendum to our last post “Wildlife & Biodiversity,” Conservation Biology is an interdisciplinary approach to prevent serious loss of biological diversity. Today we’ll discuss how Conservation Biology and Biodiversity work hand-in-hand to help you make the most of your management area!
Conservation Biology’s Two Main Goals
- To investigate human impacts on biological diversity, and
- To develop practical approached to prevent the extinction of a species.
Conservation Biology differs from Wildlife Management by focusing on the preservation of biological systems across landscapes, rather than the sustainable use of natural resources.
Desert Bighorn Sheep and Conservation Biology
Over time, populations of a species like the Desert Bighorn Sheep may go extinct on a local scale, and new populations may form on other nearby suitable sites. Many species in ephemeral habitats, and species with widely fluctuating population sizes. are characterized by a shifting mosaic of temporary populations knows as a “Metapopulation.”
A typical Metapopulation is characterized by one or more core populations with fairly stable numbers, and several satellite areas with fluctuating populations.
Populations in the satellite areas may go extinct in unfavorable years, but the areas are recolonized by migrants from the core populations when conditions become more favorable.
The target of a population study is typically one or several populations, but an entire metapopulation may need to be studied in order to fully understand the status of the species.
In metapopulation situations, destruction of the habitat of one, central core population, may result in the extinction of numerous satellite populations that depend on the core population for periodic colonization.
Human disturbances that inhibit migration, such as fences, roads, and dams, may also reduce the rate of migration among habitat patches, and so reduce the probability of recolonization after local extinction.
While this is only one example of how conservation biology is important, it can also be applied to threatened and endangered species. The point is to focus on particular species (usually a Keystone species – or a species whose presence and activities profoundly influence the structure of the community in which it lives) and actively trying to maintain its ecosystem and habitat. That in turn, benefits all other species that fall “under” it!
How can you apply conservation biology in your world? Focusing on the health of your habitat will benefit everything regardless – so don’t hesitate!