Conservation bias: What have we learned?


Book Section

© Oxford University Press. Conservation science is unique among scientific disciplines in that it was founded on a set of normative principles. The often dogmatic adherence to these principles has made conservation science vulnerable to confirmation bias. When confronted with data, many foundational ideas in conservation, such as all nonnative species are bad, reserves are the best method to save nature, and biodiversity is declining locally, are found to be inconsistent or inaccurate. Evaluation of the validity of these ideas, however, is not crippling. Instead critical evaluation provides opportunities to learn and pivot to take advantage of new opportunities. These new conservation frontiers include planning to co-exist with nature in addition to protecting nature from humans, and creating novel and hybrid ecosystems in addition to restoring ecosystems to a pristine state. The future holds great promise for nature to expand and thrive if data are used to correct biases and conservation practices are adjusted accordingly.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Silliman, B; Wear, S

Published Date

  • January 1, 2017

Book Title

  • Effective Conservation Science: Data Not Dogma

Start / End Page

  • 181 - 185

International Standard Book Number 13 (ISBN-13)

  • 9780198808978

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1093/oso/9780198808978.003.0028

Citation Source

  • Scopus