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Why Evolutionary Biology Is Important for Conservation

Why Evolutionary Biology Is Important for Conservation

Toward Evolutionary Sustainable Harvest Management

Chapter:
(p.125) 9 Why Evolutionary Biology Is Important for Conservation
Source:
Ignoring Nature No More
Author(s):
Marco Festa-Bianchet
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226925363.003.0009

This chapter discusses how the harvesting of wild vertebrates can be a powerful selective force, shaping the evolution of harvested species. It argues that if some traits make an individual less likely to be harvested, and if harvest pressure is high, then if those traits have a genetic component they should become more common over time. Humans will then shape the evolution of harvested species, sometimes with results that may be detrimental to both the species and the harvesters. The chapter concludes that sustainable compromises are possible with knowledge of the mating ecology of each species and the realization that long-term sustainability includes evolution as well as ecology.

Keywords:   wild vertebrates, harvested species, evolution, conservation, ecology, sustainability

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