By Taylor Kubota
Fossils such as these in the collections of the University of California Museum of Paleontology, remnants of animals that roamed California near the end of the last ice age, help guide conservation efforts going forward.
Conservationists (click here) need to adopt a critical shift in thinking to keep the Earth’s ecosystems diverse and useful in an increasingly “unnatural” world.
That was among the conclusions of conservationists from every continent but Antarctica who gathered at the University of California, Berkeley in September 2015 to discuss the future of conservation. The meeting included a diverse mix of countries and of specialists, including ecologists, conservation biologists, paleobiologists, geologists, lawyers, policymakers and writers.
Their discussions, summarized and published in Science on Feb. 9, recommend a more vigorous application of information garnered from the fossil record to forward-thinking conservation efforts. Their thinking goes like this: If conservationists reach back in history far enough, the past will suggest not only how ecosystems were once composed, but how they could best function in the future....