Win-Win Ecology: How the Earth's Species Can Survive in the Midst of Human Enterprise

By Michael L. Rosenzweig | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 1
Reconciliation Ecology

The wolf shall owell with the lamb The leopard lie down with the kid 1

Today's dominant strategy of conservation biology is reservation ecology: save the Earth's natural habitats. However, in many environments, we have already saved about as much natural habitat as we can. A secondary conservation strategy, restoration ecology, supplements reservation ecology. Restoration ecology tries to return some developed places to a more natural status. But the truth is that even less land remains available for restoration than for reservation. The shortage of land turns out to be a critical problem. Because of it, most species, even those apparently now succeeding in our reserves, will eventually vanish. So we cannot rely on the current balance of conservation efforts. Conservation biology must develop a new strategy if it is going to extend and preserve its successes.

This strategy already exists. I call it reconciliation ecology. Reconciliation ecology seeks environmentally sound ways for us to continue to use the land for our own benefit. It follows the words of the Chinese sage who long ago said, “The careful foot can walk anywhere.”

Certainly we must not abandon reservation or restoration ecology. We must continue to protect what we have saved. But increasingly, we should turn to reconciliation ecology because avoiding the impending mass extinction will require employing it extensively.

-1-

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