Conservation Stories, Conservation Science, and the Role of the IPBES

Redford, K. H., Groves, C., Medellin, R. A. and Robinson, J. G. (2012), Conservation Stories, Conservation Science, and the Role of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. Conservation Biology, 26: 757–759. https://cmsdata.iucn.org/downloads/redford_et_al2012__ipbes_conbio_editorial.pdf 

In what may be a prescient observation, MacKenzie (2011) wrote in the New Scientist that “conservation scientists are about to come under the kind of scrutiny now experienced by climate scientists.

One only has to look at Conservation International’s extinction clock (http://www.conservation.org/act/pages/stoptheclock.aspx) or multiorganizational initiatives such as the Alliance for Zero Extinction (www.zeroextinction.org) for examples of how conservation practitioners are using extinction and the threat of extinction to galvanize support and action. But will these specific extinction claims stand up to strong scrutiny?

We anticipate that in the next decade the critical review of the science underlying conservation stories told by conservation practitioners will become deeper and more sustained.

Too often magazine and television ads, web pages, and fundraising appeals use science as the basis from which to launch a good story rather than faithfully communicating the science itself.

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