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Effective Conservation Science – Data Not Dogma - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Effective Conservation Science: Data Not Dogma

Peter Kareiva, Michelle Marvier, and Brian Silliman


This book gathers together 28 personal stories told by leading thinkers and practitioners in conservation – all of whom have something to say about the uncomfortable tension that arises when data meet dogma. Together, they make a powerful argument for conservation science that measures effectiveness and evolves in response to new data, rather than clinging to its treasured foundational ideas. Several chapters raise doubts about some of conservation’s core tenets, including the notion that habitat fragmentation is bad for biodiversity, biodiversity declines are threatening ecosystem function, n ... More

Keywords: conservation science, evidence-based conservation, conservation effectiveness, confirmation bias

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2017 Print ISBN-13: 9780198808978
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2017 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198808978.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Peter Kareiva, editor
Pritzker Distinguished Professor and IOES Director, Institute of the Environment and Sustainability (IOES), USA

Michelle Marvier, editor
Professor, Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Santa Clara University, USA

Brian Silliman, editor
Rachel Carson Associate Professor of Marine Conservation Biology, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, USA

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Section 1 Reproducibility, bias, and objectivity in conservation science

Section 2 Challenges to foundational premises in conservation

Chapter 3 The value of ecosystem services

Linus Blomqvist and R. David Simpson

Chapter 7 Novel ecosystems

Richard J. Hobbs

Chapter 8 What is the evidence for planetary tipping points?

Barry W. Brook, Erle C. Ellis, and Jessie C. Buettel

Chapter 9 Adaptability

Paul R. Armsworth, Eric R. Larson, and Alison G. Boyer

Section 3 Iconic conservation tales: Sorting truth from fiction

Chapter 15 Fealty to symbolism is no way to save salmon

Peter Kareiva and Valerie Carranza

Chapter 17 When “sustainable” fishing isn’t

Kristin N. Marshall and Phillip S. Levin

Section 4 Questioning accepted strategies and interventions

Chapter 20 Rehabilitating sea otters

James A. Estes and M. Tim Tinker

Chapter 23 Replacing underperforming nature reserves

Richard A. Fuller and James E. M. Watson

Chapter 24 Conservation in the real world

Joseph M. Kiesecker, Kei Sochi, Jeff Evans, Michael Heiner, Christina M. Kennedy, and James R. Oakleaf

Chapter 27 Business as usual leads to underperformance in coastal restoration

Brian R. Silliman, Brent B. Hughes, Y. Stacy Zhang, and Qiang He

Section 5 Conclusion

Chapter 28 Conservation bias: What have we learned?

Brian Silliman and Stephanie Wear

End Matter