Reconciling conflicting perspectives for biodiversity conservation in the Anthropocene

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Abstract

We introduce a framework – based on experiences from oceanic islands – for conserving biodiversity in the Anthropocene. In an increasingly human-dominated world, the context for conservation-oriented action is extremely variable, attributable to three largely independent factors: the degree of anthropogenic change, the importance of deliberate versus inadvertent human influence on ecosystems, and land-use priorities. Given this variability, we discuss the need to integrate four strategies, often considered incompatible, for safeguarding biodiversity: maintaining relicts of historical biodiversity through intensive and continuous management; creating artificial in situ, inter situ, and ex situ conservation settings that are resilient to anthropogenic change; co-opting novel ecosystems and associated “opportunistic biodiversity” as the wildlands of the future; and promoting biodiversity in cultural landscapes by adapting economic activities.

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