Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 765–775 | Cite as

Conservation management for the past, present and future

Original Paper


Conservation managers are in the unenviable position of trying to conserve and restore biodiversity, without having a definitive timeframe to restore it to. Currently, managers around the world focus on various timeframes from recent to historical, but without a definitive target, countless conservation problems arise. Managers need to determine what constitutes a native species, which species to reintroduce, whether selective breeding should be implemented to resurrect supposedly extinct organisms, targets on population levels, whether assisted migration should be employed when climate change alters the environmental envelope of a species surrounded by human-altered landscapes, and how to manage for stochasticity and evolutionary processes. Without having definitive goals to target, these issues are difficult/impossible to address. It is only by discussing these important issues that some consensus will be attained that allow us to stop responding to crises and start predicting the future of biodiversity and plan and respond accordingly.


Conservation management Conservation benchmarks Restoration Reintroduction Extinction Introduced species 



This paper was improved with reviews by G. Hayward, B. Russell, and B. Schulte. Markus Hofmeyr provided information on the reintroductions to Kruger and distributed this manuscript to several African regional conservation managers whose positive responses ensured my enthusiasm for this project did not wain. Gina Dawson conducted field work sponsored by Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, SAN Parks, Budget Rent-a-Car, Continental Tyres, Leica, C.R. Kennedy and Eveready Batterys. I was funded by an NRF Post-doctoral Research Fellowship and a Marie Curie Transfer of Knowledge Fellowship project-BIORESC MTKD-CT-2005-029957-financed by the 6th Framework Programme of the European Union.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Zoology, Centre for African Conservation EcologyNelson Mandela Metropolitan UniversityPort ElizabethSouth Africa
  2. 2.School of Biological, Earth and Environmental ScienceUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Mammal Research InstitutePolish Academy of ScienceBialowiezaPoland

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