Ecological Sustainability as a Conservation Concept

  • Callicott J
  • Mumford K
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Neither the classic resource management concept of maximum sustainable yield nor the concept of sustainable development are useful to contemporary, nonanthropocentric, ecologically informed conserva-tion biology. As an alternative, we advance an ecological definition of sustainability that is in better accord with biological conservation: meeting human needs without compromising the health of ecosystems. In addi-tion to familiar benefit-cost constraints on human economic activity, we urge adding ecologic constraints. Projects are not choice-worthy if they compromise the health of the ecosystems in which human economic sys-tems are embedded. Sustainability, so defined, is proffered as an approach to conservation that would com-plement wildlands preservation for ecological integrity, not substitute for wildlands preservation. Sustentabilidad Ecológica como Concepto de Conservación Resumen: Ni el concepto clásico de manejo de recursos, ni el concepto de cosecha máxima sostenida son aplicables en biología de la conservación contemporanea, no antropocéntrica y ecológicamente informada. Como una alternativa, proponemos una definicion ecológica de sustentabilidad que es mas acorde con la conservación biológica: alcanzar las necesidades humanas sin comprometer la salud de los ecosistemas. Además de las restricciones familiares de costo-beneficio en las actividades económicas humanas, solicitamos agregar las restricciones ecológicas: Proyectos no deberán ser seleccionados si comprometen la salud de los ecosistemas en los cuales se desarrollan actividades económicas humanas. La sustentabilidad, así definida, se sugiere como una aproximación a la conservación que complementaría la conservación de áreas silvestres para la integridad ecológica, sin sustituirla.

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  • J Baird Callicott

  • Karen Mumford

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