Conservation of species
Harding, Elaine K. Department of Environmental Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz, California.
Last reviewed:December 2019
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- Endangered species
- Habitat management
- Protection on government lands
- Protection on private lands
- International agreements
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The collective measures and actions concerned with the preservation and restoration of animal and plant species and their habitats. To conserve an endangered species, an adequate number of populations must be maintained within a sufficient amount of protected habitat, with the goal of minimizing the likelihood of future extinction. In fact, of the thousands of animal and plant species listed as threatened or endangered, the majority are declining as a result of the loss of habitat (Fig. 1). The most direct approach for ensuring that a species will continue to exist is to conserve its environment. The primary elements that determine the overall effectiveness of a habitat conservation measure are (1) the number and type of factors causing species decline; (2) the condition of the habitat and the surrounding land matrix; and (3) the specific regulatory and management approaches used on the land, which may not always directly relate to species conservation. Although a variety of land protection strategies are available for conserving endangered species, the most common is federal land management. Government agencies often have direct responsibility for ownership and management of lands containing endangered species, but there are a growing number of private initiatives that can also be successful in habitat protection. See also: Biodiversity; Conservation of resources; Endangered species; Environment; Environmental management; Extinction; Forestry; Land-use planning; Population ecology; Speciation; Species concept
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