Biodiv Sci ›› 2009, Vol. 17 ›› Issue (2): 107-116.  DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1003.2009.08279

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Status quo, challenges and strategy in Conservation Biology

Zhigang Jiang1,*(), Keping Ma2   

  1. 1 Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101
    2 Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093
  • Received:2008-11-04 Accepted:2009-01-31 Online:2009-03-20 Published:2009-03-20
  • Contact: Zhigang Jiang


Research on hot environmental issues in modern society stimulates the growth of Conservation Biology. A new trend is that traditional social sciences are merging with Conservation Biology, which marks the birth of the Conservation Science. Conservation Biology has a mission that needs extensive participation, however, Internet users in China showed little interests in the concepts of conservation biology and biodiversity according to the Google Search. Developing countries have major share of world biodiversity and many key conservation biology projects are also carried out in developing countries as well; however scientific expending restricted the output of papers in developing countries. Up to now, Chinese authors (including those foreign authors who work in China for international NGOs) so far only published less than 150 papers in major conservation journals indexed in ISI Web of Knowledge; such a proportion is not matched with the share of the China’s biodiversity in the world. Conservation Biology confronts a series of challenges: (1) people criticized that Conservation Biology researches overemphasized monetary value; (2) Conservation Biology is confronted with the pitfalls such as: lack of exploration in underlying mechanism, too few or no field experiment, no control experiment in field; consequently the theoretic frame of the science branch is not yet sound; (3) Conservation Biology is a science that involves spatial scale; (4) a great deal of Conservation Biology data has not been published; the “grey” literature and “grey” information hindered the further development of Conservation Biology; and (5) Biodiversity related international laws are new research domains for Conservation Biology. We recommend the following strategies to counter the challenges: (1) to study the value orientation of Conservation Biology; (2) to establish the research methodology and theoretic frame for Conservation Biology; (3) to explore the spatial problems in Conservation Biology; (4) to collect, to store, to analyze and to share information, especially those “grey” information existing in informal publication, in languages other than English, and the information not yet accessible to public, and to establish raw biodiversity database which is independent of the database of peer-reviewed journals; thus to facilitate meta-analyses and meta research in Conservation Biology; and (5) to conduct actively researches for biodiversity related international and domestic laws. Formation of Conservation Biology as a meta-science needs the dedication from researches from all countries. To push some Chinese scientific journals to use English as a media is a main way for the Conservation Biology research in China to merge into the main stream of world.

Key words: Internet, globalization, Conservation Science, grey literature, grey information