History of conservation biology
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History of Conservation Biology. Development of Western Conservation Attitudes. philosophies and ideals may be traced to the late 1800s pragmatic utilitarianism - natural resource disciplines and government agencies romantic preservationists - wilderness advocacy

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History of Conservation Biology

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History of Conservation Biology

Development of Western Conservation Attitudes

  • philosophies and ideals may be traced to the late 1800s

  • pragmatic utilitarianism- natural resource disciplines and government agencies

  • romantic preservationists- wilderness advocacy

  • science/ecology- The Nature Conservancy

  • Western conservation philosophy is rooted in Judeo-Christian view of nature as created to serve the human race.

  • Political, economic, and intellectual attitudes stem from a democratic view - increased access of individuals to natural resources; incentive to exploit nature.

Impacts of Industrial and Scientific Revolutions

  • Provided new means of exploiting resources and a new concept of nature.

Cycles of Crisis and Activity

Transcendentalism (1850-1865)

  • The alteration of the eastern landscape stimulated and aesthetic appreciation of the natural areas that remained.

rejected material goals and sought harmony through the contemplation of nature.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

naturalist, author, and philosopher

"In wilderness is the preservation of the world."

Henry David Thoreau

Closing of the Western Frontier (1890-1905)

  • By the end of the 19th century settlement in North America had reached the Pacific Ocean.

Federal Agencies Were Established

  • National Park system- 1872

  • Forest Service- 1889

  • Bureau of Reclamation- 1902

  • National Refuge system- 1903

naturalist and writer who stimulated interest in the natural history of the western mountains.

John Muir (1838-1914)

Muir’s Accomplishments

  • Established Sierra Club

  • Met with government officials

  • Wrote to inform the public. Sacramento Record-Union

  • believed that land had recreational and cultural significance.

Established 86 wildlife refuges in 17 states and three territories

Theodore Roosevelt

Prussian trained forester

1st director of Forestry in US

Gifford Pinchot

Dust Bowl Era (1930-1940)

  • Agriculture spread into marginal lands

  • Water erosion and flooding plagued the Midwest while drought and wind erosion plagued the Central Plains.

  • Economic Depression

  • Widespread recognition of new concepts in Ecology.

Population Explosion & Environmental Pollution (1960-1975)

  • Economic expansion

  • Explosive growth of technology

  • Human population growth - post-war baby boom

  • Industrial growth

Increased Environmental Awareness

  • Wilderness Act- 1964

  • Environmental Protection Agency- 1970

  • Endangered Species Act- 1973

The Biodiversity Crisis (1990- ?)

  • Geographic Information Systems

  • National Biological Service- 1993 Consolidated research personnel from various federal bureaus.

  • Emergence of Conservation Biology as a discipline

Results of European Colonization of N America:Rapid Alteration of Natural Ecosystems

  • dam building

  • predator elimination

  • species introductions

  • logging forests

  • mining

  • overgrazing

  • erosion

  • litter and pollution

”The Pioneer Spirit"

  • wilderness was an enemy that needed to be conquered

  • Initially, reservations were created mainly for the preservation of timber and for recreational uses rather than for the protection of native species.

  • It was not until the mid 1900's that people began to consider species preservation an end in itself

Conservationists -vs- Environmentalists

Idealism vs Realism

  • conservationists are idealistic

  • Idealism- Land has inherent aesthetic value to man.

  • Realism- Most people only see as land having economic value.

Rachel Carson

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