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What Is the Connection between Ecology and Conservation?

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  • Written By: Amy Hunter
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 21 November 2016
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Ecology and conservation are closely linked because they both involve understanding the relationship between living creatures and each other, as well as the environment. Ecology is the pure study of the science involving these issues, while conservation is the act of using this information to work towards the preservation and protection of the environment, wildlife, or vegetation.

The field of science that most closely ties ecology and conservation is conservation biology. Conservation biologists study demographics, migration, and viability of endangered and rare species. Conservation biologists must weigh the needs of the species with the economic impact of protecting necessary natural resources in order to develop a conservation plan that can be agreed on by interested public and private parties.

A close relationship between ecology and conservation is necessary because individuals working for conservation must understand the plants or animals they are working to protect. They must also understand the ecology of the area where the plant or animal lives, to determine how the environment impacts the species. The ability to recognize hostile as well as benign factors in the environment is important in developing a successful conservation plan.

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Factors that affect a species survival are genetics, population of the species, and diversity within the ecosystem. Good intentions of the conservationist are not enough to formulate a workable solution for conservation. The ability to understand the existing conditions of the environment, look to the future to pinpoint potential areas of trouble for the species, and knowing what factors are most important when developing a conservation plan are all skills that require scientific training.

There are many reasons that a particular species may become in danger of dying off, or migrating to a more hospitable region. Individuals interested in ecology and conservation hope to notice these issues and implement changes before there are negative effects on the diversity of an area. Pollution, interference from humans, loss of natural habitat, and disease can all impact a particular species.

Individuals interested in conservation should consider studying ecology. A firm understanding of ecology and conservation will provide the basics necessary for a career as a conservation biologist. Jobs are available working for businesses, governmental agencies, and nonprofits.

People working in this field must be prepared for sometimes frustrating job assignments. Companies may want to meet minimum requirements regarding pollution and interference with natural habitats, while private citizens may want more far-reaching regulations put in place. Also, funding for these projects is often tight, and cooperation between interested parties is often strained; compromise is often the only available solution, even if it is not in the best interest of the environment.

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