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Conservation Biology Reference material for Morton Arboretum class, Winter, 2015
 Definitions - Class 1 Power Point

 Economics, Extinction, Ethics - Class 2 Power Point

 Priorities, Selection, Management of Natural Areas - Class 4 Power Point


Bibliography posted below, after the class outline.

Pre-class reading assingment: Intro & C. 1 of Conservation Biology for All

Headings and highlights, C. 2-3

Class 1

Introduction to Conservation Biology

Brief history of NE Illinois landscape and communities


Define biodiversity

  • Species Concepts – not as clear as it seems

  • Habitat diversity and biodiversity hotspots

  • introduce island biogeography

  • How much diversity is there?


What is “conservation”?

brief historical review

Biodiversity and its value

  • Ecosystem services

  • Environmental ethics

Exercise: Current issues


Class 2

Discuss current issues exercise

Threats to Biological Diversity

  • Habitat destruction,

  • Habitat fragmentation and degradation

  • Global climate change

  • Invasive species (see group exercise)

Conservation at the Population and species level

  • Vulnerability to extinction

  • Problems of small populations

  • In-situ and Ex-situ conservation – where conserve?

Exercise: Invasive species


Class 3

Local Conservation Management

Community conservation

Schulenberg Prairie and Bartel Grassland: history, continuing issues, decision making

Single species conservation

 Barn Owl and Massasagua Rattlesnake  recovery projects

Discuss invasive species exercise

Exercise: Decisions scenario


Class 4

Decisions scenario

Conservation biologists don't always agree

  • SLOSS debate

  • Funding priorities - Contrary ecology

  • additional controversies

Designing, Managing and Restoring Protected Areas

  • Establishing protected areas

  • Networks of protected areas

  • Management and restoration of protected areas




Conservation Biology, Principle sources for this class:


Primack, Richard B., A Primer of Conservation Biology, Boston University, 2008

(Fifth edition, 2012)

Primack, Essentials of Conservation Biology, 2010, is a “fatter” version

Sodhi, Navjot S. and Paul R. Ehrlich, Conservation Biology for All, Oxford University Press, 2010

free download at


Additional selections – of dozens available!

Botkin, Daniel B., Discordant Harmonies, A New Ecology for the Twenty First Century, Oxford University Press, 1990

Budiansky, Stephen, Nature’s Keepers, The Free Press, 1995

Chicago Wilderness Atlas of Biodiversity, Chicago Wilderness Alliance, 2011

Chicago Wilderness Biodiversity Recovery Plan, CWA, 1999

Cronon, William, editor, Uncommon Ground, Rethinking the Human Place in Nature, W. W. Norton Co., 1995

Fraser, Caroline, Rewilding the World, Dispatches from the Conservation Revolution, Metropolitan Books, 2009

Greenberg, Joel, A Natural History of the Chicago Region, University of Chicago Press, 2002

Greenberg, Joel, Of Prairies, Woods and Water, Two Centuries of Chicago Nature Writing, University of Chicago Press, 2008

Leopold, Aldo, A Sand County Almanac, and Sketches Here and There, Oxford University Press, 1989

Mann, Charles C., 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, Alfred A. Knopf, 2005.

Marris, Emma, Reluctant Garden, Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World, Bloomsbury, 2011

Meine, Curt, Correction Lines, Essays on Land, Leopold, and Conservation, Island Press, 2004

Moore, Kathleen Dean and Michael P. Nelson, eds, Moral Ground, Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril, Trinity University Press, 2010

Orr, David W., Earth In Mind, On Education, Environment, and the Human Prospect, Island Press, 1994

Quammen, David, The Song of the Dodo, Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinctions, Scribner, 1996

Sterba, Jim, Nature Wars, Crown Publishers, 2012

Tallamy, Douglas W., Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants, Timber Press, 2009

Woodworth, Paddy, Our Once and Future Planet, Restoring the World in the Climate Change Century, University of Chicago Press, 2013

Worster, Donald, Nature's Economy, A History of Ecological Ideas, Cambridge University Press, 1984

View this with caution and a very open mind:

Carlin, George, On Environment,