Becoming A Master – The Situ Argument


Week 5

Hello! So this past week has been a fairly normal week. Ridiculous I know, I have been going to lectures and getting a start on my various coursework deadlines. So unfortunately I don’t have any stories of climbing mountains for you instead I want to talk about something I’ve been learning about.

I have a module called conservation and environmental management, for the lecture every week there is a paper to read. This week it was called Conservation without nature, the trouble with in situ and ex situ conservation by I Braverman.

Now for the general public in situ and ex situ conservation means nothing so here are some quick definitions:

In situ conservation – This is when the conservation takes place in the wild natural habitat, a good example of this is monitoring of the population of black rhinos in africa.

Ex situ conservation – This is when conservation happens outside of the natural habitat. For example zoos and botanical gardens.

Both of these types of conservation are strongly embedded with the idea of nature. In situ happens within nature and ex situ doesn’t. The word nature can be difficult to explain. Most will identify nature as being an area that has no human influence. Although looking at the world as whole that definition of nature doesn’t really exist anymore.

Bravermans paper calls for conservation to work outside this romantic concept of nature. This then means that the different types of conservation will become blurred. Now I don’t think thats a bad plan for a few reasons.

Ex situ conservation tends to get a bad rap. Zoos are a complex thing and in this paper it is mentioned that if a species only exists in captivity it hasn’t been conserved. Although without breeding programmes going on zoos we will lose the species forever. On the other hand In situ conservation can be argued that it doesn’t exist because there are very few true wild spaces. Yet in situ is almost always seen as better conservation work. So by blurring these lines could you not take the best of both worlds?

In conclusion, conservation techniques have to continue to change with our ever changing world. What they change to I think is a matter of working on a case by case basis. However I think that trying to split conservation into two neat nice categories is far too simplistic and dare I say it outdated. Let me know what you think about all this in the comments or send me a tweet @thatbiologist

ThatBiologist Everywhere!





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