Conserving species often requires resolving conflicts between habitat needs of endangered species and human demands.
For example, in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, habitat preservation for many species is at odds with timber and mining industries.
Managing habitat for one species might have positive or negative effects on other species.
Conservation biology has attempted to sustain the biodiversity of entire communities, ecosystems, and landscapes.
Ecosystem management is part of landscape ecology, which seeks to make biodiversity conservation part of land-use planning.
The structure of a landscape can strongly influence biodiversity.
Fragmentation and Edges
The boundaries, or edges, between ecosystems are defining features of landscapes.
Some species take advantage of edge communities to access resources from both adjacent areas.
The Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project in the Amazon examines the effects of fragmentation on biodiversity.
Landscapes dominated by fragmented habitats support fewer species due to a loss of species adapted to habitat interiors.
Edges between ecosystems
(a) Natural edges
(b) Edges created by human activity
Corridors That Connect Habitat Fragments
A movement corridor is a narrow strip of quality habitat connecting otherwise isolated patches.
Movement corridors promote dispersal and help sustain populations.
In areas of heavy human use, artificial corridors are sometimes constructed.
An artificial corridor
Conservation biologists apply understanding of ecological dynamics in establishing protected areas to slow the loss of biodiversity. Much of their focus has been on hot spots of biological diversity.
A biodiversity hot spot is a relatively small area with a great concentration of endemic species and many endangered and threatened species.
Biodiversity hot spots are good choices for nature reserves, but identifying them is not always easy.
Earth’s terrestrial and marine biodiversity hot spots