Twenty landmark papers in biodiversity conservation

13 10 2011

While I can’t claim that this is the first time one of my peer-reviewed papers has been inspired by ConservationBytes.com, I can claim that this is the first time a peer-reviewed paper is derived from the blog.

After a bit of a sordid history of review (isn’t it more and more like that these days?), I have the pleasure of announcing that our paper ‘Twenty landmark papers in biodiversity conservation‘ has now been published as an open-access chapter in the new book ‘Research in Biodiversity – Models and Applications‘ (InTech).

Perhaps not the most conventional of venues (at least, not for me), but it is at the very least ‘out there’ now and freely available.

The paper itself was taken, modified, elaborated and over-hauled from text written in this very blog – the ‘Classics‘ section of ConservationBytes.com. Now, if you’re an avid follower of CB, then the chapter won’t probably represent anything terribly new; however, I encourage you to read it anyway given that it is a vetted overview of possibly some of the most important papers written in conservation biology.

If you are new to the field, an active student or merely need a ‘refresher’ regarding the big leaps forward in this discipline, then this chapter is for you.

The paper’s outline is as follows:

  1. Intro
  2. Allee effect
  3. Island biogeography
  4. Tragedy of the commons
  5. Minimum viable population size
  6. Ecosystem services
  7. The evil quartet
  8. Habitat fragmentation
  9. Mesopredator release
  10. Demography versus genetics
  11. IUCN Red List
  12. Ecological triage
  13. Declining and small population paradigms
  14. Extinction debt
  15. Ne:N ratio
  16. Shifting baselines
  17. Fishing down the food web
  18. Invasional meltdown
  19. Biodiversity Hotspots
  20. Extinction risk from climate change
  21. Extinction synergies
  22. Conclusion

Of course, these concepts and the papers that introduced or popularised them are not necessarily the most influential, or indeed, necessarily what everyone would agree represent the most important. However, it is our opinion that these are some of the most important concepts students of conservation biology should learn, and most of them have had major effects on the way we do our science and apply its results. The conclusions list some other candidate ‘classic’ papers, so have a read of that too.

Many thanks to my co-authors, Professors Barry Brook, Bill Laurance and Navjot Sodhi (whose body is now nourishing microbial ecosystems somewhere). We, of course, dedicated this chapter to the memory of Navjot.

CJA Bradshaw


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