Evolutionary biology and practical conservation: bridging a widening gap


  • Symposium on evolution in human-altered environments

  • UCLA 8th–10th February 2007

Georgina M. Mace, Fax: 01344 873173; E-mail: g.mace@imperial.ac.uk


At the ecosystem, species and population level, available measures suggest that average rates of loss of populations and habitats are now around 1% per year and seem likely to increase in the future. Habitat conversion continues in most parts of the world, especially in areas of high species richness, and novel threats, especially climate change, will pose new challenges. With this pressure, maintaining evolutionary processes in natural populations will be critical to longer term persistence, and will often require specific planning relevant to the context. However, in many areas of policy and practice, urgent actions tend to focus on pattern-based analyses and considerations of evolutionary and ecological processes are neglected. At a variety of levels, from setting goals to implementing conservation management at the site or species level, there are simple adjustments that can be made. Improved methods for integrating the work of scientists and policymakers is recommended, from the beginning to end of the planning process.