Conservation Biology is defined by Michael E Soule as a mission-oriented crisis discipline that addresses the dynamic and problems of ecosystems, perturbed species, and communities. It is a multidisciplinary science that has been developed to tackle the loss of biological diversity.
Conservation Biology is a ‘Crisis Discipline’
Michael Soule notes that Conservation Biology is a crisis discipline because the majority of issues and problems studied by scientists are getting worse at a high rate. However, more damage is likely to happen if scientists delay solving these problems. It requires one to act before knowing all facts. Conservation biology is unique in one way, it is war to political science, and analogous to surgery. Conservation biologists normally have a hard time particularly in time constraints; this forces them to make policy and decisions without critically comprehending the issues they ought to address. Soule adds that his recent post on lead poisoning in California condors is a good example of the crisis discipline. Private organizations and government agencies are seeking advice from conservation biologists on environmental problems such as health and ecological consequences of chemical pollution, because it is a critical matter that affects the general public.
Soule adds that it is evident that the researchers were making wild guesses to fill in the model. In addition, when assigning a threshold for lead poisoning in condors, these scientists came up with the threshold that is applied to human children by the CDC, notably; this was the best value they came up. Arguably, this finding was nowhere close to ideal research practice. It implies that there is existence of such large gaps in background knowledge. The results of this research are a clear indication of how critical conservation biology is. Although profound research is needed in various capacities, our little knowledge in the context is an indication that we know very little. Subsequently, best research is needed if we intend to set effective conservation policies.
Conservation Biology is Synthetic
Conservation biology is holistic; it looks at biological questions at the level of organisms, genes, species, populations, ecosystems, communities, and the entire biosphere. Soule notes that conservation biology is synthetic because it considers several levels at the same time, which is different from other fields. For instance, climate change science only deals with a single simple molecule on community structures, wildlife populations, and the whole planet. Seemingly, in order to effectively face issues that conservative biology seeks, knowledge from other fields must be brought in such as, political and social sciences. This research must also involve law enforcement, governments, corporations, non-profits, and other organizations to achieve its goals. Subsequently, it cannot efficiently function in a secluded bubble. Ideally, conservation biologists are sometimes divided from the general conservationist public because there is normally a tendency to look at various biological systems such as; the relationship between a pollinator and a plant, or the long-term survival of a species.
Soule notes that long-term viability of natural communities normally implies the perseverance of variety, with very little or no assistance from humans. Normally, in conservation biology, scientists tend to take a long view. Postulates of conservation suggest that like other sciences, conservation biology is very young. Two sets of postulates mechanistic or functional, and normative form conservation biology. Conservation biology is synthetic because it considers several levels at the same time, which is different from other fields.