Species to planet-wide Conservation

Paul Williams P.Williams at NHM.AC.UK
Tue Jan 12 16:27:01 CST 1999

I agree with John Shuey that 'it all has value', and many different kinds
of value to different people.

Presumably any change in land use is likely to have consequences for
changing at least some of these biodiversity values.  If it were common for
valued attributes to be permanently removed, as perhaps might be the case
with local genetic differences, then the 'save everything' approach would
be severely challenged.  Choices might then be made to maximise persistence
of what remains.

Much of the discussion seems to stem from two different outlooks on
diversity: those who see ecosystems, and those who see organisms.  But I do
not see any inherent difference between the area selection approaches
described in any limitations to the spatial scale at which priority areas
can be identified.  Both can make choices at the local scale, if the
questions are clearly specified and appropriate data provided.

One of the issues that appears to separate the two approaches described is
the units used as surrogates for biodiversity value.  We have viewed this
choice as a pragmatic one, depending on the circumstances and resources of
a particular study (World Conservation 1:12), so this difference may yet be

Paul Williams

Measuring biodiversity value & conservation priority
Biogeography & Conservation Laboratory
Department of Entomology
The Natural History Museum
Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, UK

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