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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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development of western conservation attitudes
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
Impacts of Industrial and Scientific Revolutions
  • Provided new means of exploiting resources and a new concept of nature.
transcendentalism 1850 1865
Transcendentalism (1850-1865)
  • The alteration of the eastern landscape stimulated and aesthetic appreciation of the natural areas that remained.
henry david thoreau
naturalist, author, and philosopher

"In wilderness is the preservation of the world."

Henry David Thoreau
closing of the western frontier 1890 1905
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
Federal Agencies Were Established
  • National Park system- 1872
  • Forest Service- 1889
  • Bureau of Reclamation- 1902
  • National Refuge system- 1903
muir s accomplishments
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.
gifford pinchot
Prussian trained forester

1st director of Forestry in US

Gifford Pinchot
dust bowl era 1930 1940
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
Population Explosion & Environmental Pollution (1960-1975)
  • Economic expansion
  • Explosive growth of technology
  • Human population growth - post-war baby boom
  • Industrial growth
increased environmental awareness
Increased Environmental Awareness
  • Wilderness Act- 1964
  • Environmental Protection Agency- 1970
  • Endangered Species Act- 1973
the biodiversity crisis 1990
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
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
”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
idealism vs realism
Idealism vs Realism
  • conservationists are idealistic
  • Idealism- Land has inherent aesthetic value to man.
  • Realism- Most people only see as land having economic value.