The New Paradigm in Ecology: Implications for Conservation Biology Above the Species Level

  • Steward T. A. Pickett
  • V. Thomas Parker
  • Peggy L. Fiedler


Conservation biology has traditionally focused on the fine scale and the species level of biological organization (Soulé and Wilcox 1980), and biotic conservation is only one of the various goals that has directed the preservation and management of natural areas and resources. Resource management goals have largely been utilitarian or commercial, such as the maintenance of large areas for watersheds; preservation of marshes, bogs, and seasonal wetlands for flood water storage, nursery areas, and flow continuity in river systems, and the sustained yield of forests, fisheries, and wildlife (Temple et al. 1988; Aplet, Laven, and Fiedler in press). There have, however, been both practically and theoretically motivated calls for widening the focus to include scales beyond that of the individual site and levels of organization above that of the species (Soulé 1989; Western 1989) to approach new goals. This essay will explore the relationship of this new frontier for conservation biology to advances in ecology. Much of the new ecological focus of conservation biology is driven by the shift in the overarching paradigm of ecology itself. We begin by defining the concept of paradigm and characterizing the classical paradigm of ecology. The classical paradigm had definite implications for conservation, and these are shown to be problematical. Therefore, we outline the contemporary paradigm in ecology and show how the science of ecology has been affected by the shift in paradigm.


Conservation Biology Fire Regime Natural Disturbance Natural Order Conservation System 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Routledge, Chapman & Hall, Inc. and Diane C. Fiedler 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steward T. A. Pickett
  • V. Thomas Parker
  • Peggy L. Fiedler

There are no affiliations available

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