Rethinking conservation: Towards a paradigm shift


Between the mid-1980s and the present day, conservation biology split into two almost independent fields: management ecology and conservation ecology. We have witnessed the recovery of large endangered species and a decrease in small and common species. In addition, the abandonment of rural areas has allowed the expansion of forest species and has hurt those that inhabit open spaces and who are linked to traditional farming. Many species that once lived only in refuges are now starting to venture further out and are losing their fear of humans. Moreover, environments that have become anthropic are now being successfully occupied more often. In short, we are going towards a world that reconciles humans and wildlife, which will be beneficial, but will also pose new challenges. 


abandonment of rural areas; conservation biology; endangered species; reconciliation ecology

Full Text:



  • Fernández-Olalla, M., Martínez-Abraín, A., Canut, J., García, D., Afonso, I., & González, L. M. (2012). Assessing different management scenarios to reverse the declining trend of a relict capercaillie population: A modelling approach within an adaptive framework. Biological Conservation, 148(1), 79–87. doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2012.01.047

  • Forester, D. J., & Machlist, G. E. (1996). Modelling human factors that affect the loss of biodiversity. Conservation Biology, 10(4), 1253–1263. doi: 10.1046/j.1523-1739.1996.10041253.x

  • García, I. (2018). Águila calzada: Problemas y oportunidades para una rapaz marcada por el hombre. Quercus, 388, 16–23.

  • Geffroy, B., Samia, D. S. M., Bessa, E., & Blumstein, D. T. (2015). How nature-based tourism might increase prey vulnerability to predators. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 30(12), 755–765. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2015.09.010

  • Inger, R., Gregory, R., Duffy, J. P., Stott, I., Vorĭsěk, P., & Gaston, K. J. (2014). Common European birds are declining rapidly while less abundant species’ numbers are rising. Ecology Letters, 18(1), 28–36. doi: 10.1111/ele.12387

  • Knowlton, N. (2017). Doom and gloom won’t save the world. Nature, 544, 271. doi: 10.1038/544271a

  • Martínez-Abraín, A., & Galán, P. (2018). A test of the substitution habitat hypothesis in amphibians. Conservation Biology, 32(3), 725–730. doi: 10.1111/cobi.13062

  • Martínez-Abraín, A., & Jiménez, J. (2016). Anthropogenic areas as incidental substitutes for original habitat. Conservation Biology, 30(3), 593–598. doi: 10.1111/cobi.12644

  • Martínez-Abraín, A., Jiménez, J., & Oro, D. (2018). Pax Romana; «refuge abandonment» and spread of fearless behaviour in a reconciling world. Animal Conservation. doi: 10.1111/acv.12429

  • Martínez-Abraín, A., & Oro, D. (2013). Preventing the development of dogmatic approaches in conservation biology: A review. Biological Conservation, 159, 539–547. doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2012.10.020

  • Postigo, J. L. (2017). El actual laberinto burocrático y social de las cotorras en España. Quercus, 377, 12–18. 

  • Rosenzweig, M. L. (2003). Win-win ecology: How the Earth species can survive in the midst of human enterprise. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. 

  • Sanz, A., Martínez-Abraín, A., Tavecchia, G., Mínguez, E., & Oro, D. (2009). Evidence-based culling of a facultative predator: Efficacy and efficiency components. Biological Conservation, 142(2), 424–431. doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2008.11.004 

  • Soulé, M. E. (1986). Conservation biology: The science of scarcity and diversity. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates Inc. 

  • Steigerwald, E. C., Igual, J. M., Payo-Payo, A., & Tavecchia, G. (2015). Effects of decreased anthropogenic food availability on an opportunistic gull: Evidence for a size-mediated response in breeding females. Ibis, 157(3), 439–448. doi: 10.1111/ibi.12252

Creative Commons License
Texts in the journal are –unless otherwise indicated– published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License