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Shifting from species protection to ecological network conservation

August 23, 2016 | Andres Jordi

Despite extensive conservation efforts, the global loss of biodiversity is continuing. According to an article by biologists at Eawag and Zurich University, published in the Journal of Applied Ecology, this is partly due to the inadequacy of existing conservation measures. Current approaches tend to focus on the protection of rare or endangered species, rather than being based on the functional significance of species within an ecosystem. The authors therefore argue for a new approach designed to conserve essential ecological networks in a habitat: the aim is to protect those interactions between species which ensure ecosystem functioning. To facilitate this paradigm shift, the scientists also propose a step-by-step road map.