This past spring, Wiley published the first comprehensive review of the field conservation biogeography, aptly named Conservation Biogeography. To find out more about this field, we sat down with one of the book’s two editors, Dr. Robert J. Whittaker (the other being Dr. Richard J. Ladle), and asked him some questions about the genesis of their book and what can and should be done by both scientists and citizens to preserve our planet.
What is conservation biogeography?
In a nutshell, it is the study of the dynamics of species distributions individually and collectively, at all scales of analysis, to inform conservation policy.
When was the sub-discipline of biogeography known as “conservation biogeography” developed and by whom?
This has quite a lot to do with the International Biogeography Society, which was founded about 10 years ago, and which included a focus on conservation in its core mission statement. The second meeting of the society was dedicated to Conservation Biogeography and several chapters of the resulting conference publication Frontiers of Biogeography: New Directions in the Geography of Nature (Lomolino, M.V. & Heaney, L.R. 2004, Sinauer) were on the theme of Conservation Biogeography. In 2005, the journal Diversity and Distributions identified itself as a journal of conservation biogeography, carrying our 2005 paper (Whittaker et al. 2005) in the first issue.1