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Sociocultural factors and biological conservation

Research Achievements

Sociocultural factors and biological conservation

Trainee Jason Sexton worked with biologist Prof. Mark Schwartz and anthropologist Prof. Bruce Winterhalder to examine the role of sociocultural factors in assessing targets for biological conservation. They argued that conservation management must characterize human threats to biodiversity and the adaptive capacity of human cultures, as well as biogeography and physical factors. They used a hypothetical case of a conservation organization making decisions about resource allocation within the US and showed that separate analyses of biodiversity vulnerability, risks from human impacts, and sociocultural adaptive capacity (based on factors such as poverty rates) lead to different conservation priorities. Thus, Sexton et al. argue for an integrative approach that links biological and cultural data to identify global areas of high biodiversity where the most effective improvements in human adaptive capacity can be made. Sexton, JP, MW Schwartz, & B. Winterhalder. 2010, Div. & Distrib. 1-12.