Conservation Biology and Biodiversity
A section of Biology (ISSN 2079-7737).
We have definitively entered the Age of the Anthropocene. The impacts of human activities on terrestrial and marine habitats, and climate change, are putting global biodiversity at risk as never before seen. Population declines and the destruction of natural habitats have increased the extinction rates of plant and animal species. The conservation of functional ecosystems, their services, and the sustainable use of natural resources urgently require the commitment of every sector of natural and environmental sciences. Conservation biology, an innovative and integrative field of natural sciences, now offers a complex system of useful tools for theoretical research as well as for practical conservation and the sustainable use of biodiversity. The priority issues in conservation biology are understanding the biology of small declining populations, the demographic and genetic consequences of bottlenecks, the relationships between heterozygosity and fitness, the genetics of inbreeding and hybridization, the estimates of extinction risks, the use of population genetics and genomics to define species boundaries, the discovery of evolutionary and conservation population units and prediction of their future evolvability. Thus, the aims of conservation biology go beyond the necessary protection of endangered populations and species and include the natural communities and entire ecosystems. We need to ensure that the mechanisms of biological evolution (genetic variability, natural selection, adaptation, and speciation) can continue to work into the future.