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Publication Information

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Title: Conserving biodiversity using risk management: hoax or hope?

Author: Hummel, Susan; Donovan, Geoffrey H.; Spies, Thomas A.; Hemstrom, Miles A.

Date: 2008

Source: Frontiers in ecology and the environment. 6. DOI: 10.1890/070111.

Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication

Description: Biodiversity has been called a form of ecosystem insurance. According to the "insurance hypothesis", the presence of many species protects against system decline, because built-in redundancies guarantee that some species will maintain key functions even if others fail. The hypothesis might have merit, but calling it "insurance" promotes an ambiguous understanding of risk management strategies and underlying theories of risk. Instead, such redundancy suggests a strategy of diversification. A clearer understanding of risk includes comprehending the important distinction between risk assessment and risk management, acknowledging the existence of undiversifiable risk, and recognizing that risk and uncertainty are not synonymous. A better grasp of risk management will help anyone interested in assessing the merits of different biodiversity conservation strategies. At stake is the adequacy of conservation strategies for mitigating human-caused biodiversity losses.

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Hummel, Susan; Donovan, Geoffrey H.; Spies, Thomas A.; Hemstrom, Miles A. 2008. Conserving biodiversity using risk management: hoax or hope?. Frontiers in ecology and the environment. 6. DOI: 10.1890/070111.

 


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