Global Conservation and the Sciences:
People, Policy, and Pennies
IAN R. SWINGLAND
The Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE), University of Kent,
Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NX, United Kingdom / e-mail: email@example.com
Abstract: Conservation science is unprepared to fulfil the expectations of both the less-developed countries (the major centres of biodiversity) and the developed countries, which have depleted much of their natural resource base. Both want strategies and solutions to their environmental problems and reliable means of sustainably using their natural resources. Too often the debate over the worlds remaining resources is polarised between preservation and economic development. Do the dwindling natural habitats contain resources and raw materials that can be tapped for greater economic development and welfare? Do we have the scientific and economic knowledge, and the evidence, to support the concept of sustainable usethe commercialisation of biodiversity assets that provides both political and economic reasons to conserve? How best can developing countries realise some of the value of their remaining resources, and what public policies and private actions are required? Do we have the necessary knowledge to insure success? Or is there a fundamental intellectual flaw in the concept that biodiversity resources can be simultaneously conserved and sustainably used?
Is it possible to reconcile the conservation of resources with economic development so that developing societies have an incentive to ensure the long-term management and survival of these resources? For example, clear evidence exists that single species conservation and the classical ecological paradigm are neither the only nor the best methods to ensure conservation. This paper will concentrate on the new strategic solutions to the current problems affecting conservation. I will address sustainable use and biodiversity management; using, valuing and commercialising biodiversity; appraising projects; policy appraisal and adjustment; institutional structures; surveys, inventories, and data bases; global information and dynamic models; expert systems; future scientific, economic, and policy goals; and a realistic agendum.