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Triage in Conservation

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In conservation, triage refers to approaches which abandon some species or subpopulations to extinction, in order to focus resources on others with higher chances of survival. Triage approaches may also be applied in allocating conservation efforts between sites. Advocates of triage argue that some ...

In conservation, triage refers to approaches which abandon some species or subpopulations to extinction, in order to focus resources on others with higher chances of survival. Triage approaches may also be applied in allocating conservation efforts between sites. Advocates of triage argue that some extinctions are unavoidable, and that fixed, limited and fully fungible resources are therefore best allocated where they are most likely to yield the largest conservation benefit. That is, they perceive conservation essentially as an economic optimisation problem. Opponents of triage argue that species recovery is possible no matter how few individuals remain, that small peripheral subpopulations may contain genetic diversity not available in larger core populations, and that funds and resources are neither fixed nor fully fungible. That is, they think that conservation resources are at least partly tied to particular sites and species, and can be increased. They thus perceive conservation as a biological and political problem. In this Research Topic we welcome researchers and practitioners with relevant expertise to contribute views, arguments and case studies on either side of this debate.


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