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Keywords:

  • Advocacy;
  • extinction;
  • interdisciplinary;
  • local extinction;
  • social science

Abstract

Avoiding extinction is one of the main aims of the global conservation movement and its study has historically been dominated by ecological thinking about the consequences of small population size and the identification of the proximate causes of population decline. Here we argue that any successful theorization on avoiding extinction has to look beyond ecology to incorporate the behavior of conservationists, conservation organizations, and other societal actors. We develop a “biocultural” framework based on a typology of extinction that emphasizes the different meanings and power of the term and discuss how these might inform more effective global conservation policy and practice. Seen through a biocultural perspective, we argue that extinction will only be effectively reduced when scientific evidence, cultural frames, institutional frameworks, and organizational interests align.