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Trends Ecol Evol. 2012 Mar;27(3):167-71. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2011.09.013. Epub 2011 Oct 23.

Are comparative studies of extinction risk useful for conservation?

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Centre for Macroevolution and Macroecology, Research School of Biology, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia.


Large-scale, comparative studies of species extinction risk have become common in conservation science, but their influence on conservation practice appears limited. The link between such studies and the practice of conservation breaks down in two key places. First, results of comparative studies are often ambiguous, inconsistent and difficult to translate into policy. Second, conservation as currently practiced emphasizes the rescue and protection of currently threatened biodiversity, whereas comparative studies are often better suited to a proactive approach that anticipates and prevents future species declines. Scientists should make their research more accessible by addressing the first issue. Policymakers and managers, in turn, could make better use of comparative studies by moving towards more preventative approaches to conservation planning.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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