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11: Protecting Biodiveristy

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    Chapter Hook

    As of 2020, there were 41,415 species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, 16,306 of them being endangered and threatened with extinction. This is up from 16,118 from 2019. The Island Fox (Urocyon littoralis) is only found on six of the California Channel Islands off the coast of southern California. In the mid-1990’s four island fox subspecies experienced drastic population declines. Soon after, they were listed as critically endangered on the IUCN red list and endangered on the U.S Endangered Species Act. However, due to uncompromising recovery efforts (through supported funding from its endangered status), all four subspecies have almost completely recovered their populations. Regrettably, not all species that end up on the IUCN red list or endangered species list have trajectories that later hold such hope.

    Island fox
    Figure \(\PageIndex{a}\) Island fox (Urocyon littoralis). Image by USFWS (licensed under CC-BY 2.0)

    The field of conservation focuses on preserving biodiversity. Effective conservation depends on ecological knowledge. Today, the main efforts to preserve biodiversity involve legislative approaches to regulate human and corporate behavior, setting aside protected areas, and ecosystem restoration.  


    Modified by Rachel Schleiger and Melissa Ha from Preserving Biodiversity from Environmental Biology by Matthew R. Fisher (licensed under CC-BY)

    • 11.1: Policies
      National laws, such as the Endangered Species Act, and state laws, such as the California Endangered Species Act, strive to protect biodiversity. International agreements, including the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, facilitate collaboration among different countries in conservation efforts.
    • 11.2: Non-profit Organizations
      Non-profit organizations fund conservation research and actions.
    • 11.3: Species-level Conservation
      Species-level conservation focuses on increasing the population size of just one (often charismatic) species. Depending on the species, conservation strategies may include captive breeding and reintroduction, vaccination, and habitat restoration.
    • 11.4: Protected Areas
      Protected areas are those set aside to preserve biodiversity. Different types of protected areas offer different degrees of protection and vary in which human activities are permitted. Examples include wilderness areas, national and state parks, national forests, and wildlife refuges.
    • 11.5: Ecosystem Restoration
      Ecosystem restoration focuses on returning an area to its natural state following disturbance by humans to promote native species and ecosystem services.
    • 11.6: Economic Influences on Conservation
      Debt-for-nature swaps and ecotourism add economic incentive to conservation efforts and thus promote their success.
    • 11.7: Individual Choices
      Individuals can assist with conservation efforts by purchasing sustainable products, conserving resources, and engaging in citizen science.
    • 11.8: Data Dive- Island Fox Populations
    • 11.9: Review

    This page titled 11: Protecting Biodiveristy is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Melissa Ha and Rachel Schleiger (ASCCC Open Educational Resources Initiative) .

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