“Biodetrimentology” – the study of biodiversity loss

I think the word ‘conservation’ is too broad and means too many different things.

Conservation is the act of preserving, guarding, or protecting; wise use. Conservation may refer to: Main usage: Conservation (ethic) of biodiversity, environment, and natural resources, including protection and management.

– Wikipedia (which is of course, not the foremost authority one should be citing)

It refers to everything from planting trees, to captive breeding to save species from extinction, to protecting areas from habitat loss, to removing things we don’t want, to understanding why species are disappearing and where etc.

I was looking up the definition of epidemiology, as I attempted to revise influenza for applied ecology.

Epidemiology is the science that studies the patterns, causes, and effects of health and disease conditions in defined populations. It is the cornerstone of public health, and informs policy decisions and evidence-based practice by identifying risk factors for disease and targets for preventive healthcare.

– Wikipedia, again.

And I thought, can’t one say the same about some parts of conservation for biodiversity loss?

BIODETRIMENTOLOGY is the science that studies the patterns, causes and effects of biodiversity loss on earth (usually current). It is the cornerstone of sustaining life on earth and informs policy decisions and evidence-based practice by identifying risk factors for extinction and priority targets for stemming decline.

So I just made a word up. Which to me, narrows the scope cos it excludes actual conservation practice (which is important of course, just as how health workers and doctors are important), and includes the socio-economic areas on top of ecology.I guess  ‘conservation science’ works just as well to mean what I want to mean, just that it’s two words instead of one (and it doesn’t have the -logy suffix).

The goal of conservation, to me, is to protect species from extinction. And that’s what success is measured by. It’s not about sustainable use of resources, or living within planetary means – shouldn’t that be under sustainability/sustainable development? But conservation is not trying to save species at all or any cost, cos people are important too, and people are why conservation is important. Conservation is about saving species from extinction, given the constraints we have, because biodiversity underpins everything on this earth.

It seems to me though, that a lot about ‘conservation’ is just as much about justifying why it’s important, as it is about what we need to do about it. Whereas fields such as epidemiology don’t constantly have to justify why their work is important. With “biodetrimentology”, maybe we won’t have to 😛

About Jocelyne Sze

I'm a Nature-lover, aspiring conservationist, and wannabe traveller in search of outdoor adventure.
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