Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 21, Issue 13, pp 3323–3341 | Cite as

Integrating approaches leads to more effective conservation of biodiversity

  • Gene E. LikensEmail author
  • David B. Lindenmayer
Original Paper


Recent debates have discussed whether a species-approach or an ecosystem-approach is better for protecting biodiversity. Rather than perpetuate this debate, we argue that critical new scientific and conservation insights arise from combining and integrating approaches along a continuum. We present a suite of case studies and other examples, which highlight the value and synergies derived from an integrated approach for developing management-relevant understanding aimed at protecting biodiversity. Attempts to conserve biodiversity should therefore be multi-faceted in approach and thinking. They also should be long-term as well as driven by well-developed questions focused on closing key knowledge gaps.


Ecosystem approach Species approach Research and management continuum Enhanced conservation outcomes 



We thank C. Shepherd and P. Likens for assistance in preparing this paper. GEL is grateful to the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Connecticut, Storrs and the Department of Limnology, Uppsala University for intellectual and financial support during the writing of this manuscript. Case study 4 was derived from J. Pastor’s contribution in Lindenmayer and Likens (2010, pp. 64–65).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cary Institute of Ecosystem StudiesMillbrookUSA
  2. 2.National Environmental Research Program, Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions, Fenner School of Environment and SocietyThe Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

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