For anyone tasked with the conservation of biodiversity, the idea of planning to preserve the “totality of genes, species, and ecosystems of a region” is daunting. Attempting to implement the conservation of biodiversity, as defined, is an overwhelming challenge. It is far too easy to become stuck in the weeds of the details and to try to manage everything individually. A land manager will justifiably ask, “How can I hope to manage for all species on my installation? How in the world do I manage for landscape function? Where do I start?”
This chapter introduces the science of biodiversity conservation and discusses many issues central to biodiversity conservation in the context of military lands.
While it is important to keep all biological levels of organization in mind, one does not need to plan, or manage, for each. Planning for conservation action leans most heavily on what is commonly called the coarse filter/fine filter approach (Noss 1987). The coarse filter approach focuses on ecological systems–ecosystem management—whereas the fine filter approach emphasizes individual species management. Successful biodiversity management relies on both. In brief, the reasoning supporting this paired approach is that most common species are “captured” by the coarse filter because of their association common ecosystem types and the processes that support them. Those species that are not sufficiently captured in the coarse filter (e.g., rare, habitat specialists, and wide ranging or migratory) need then be caught by the fine filter (Groves 2003). While most resource managers, and many non-biologists, have an intrinsic understanding of these levels of biological organization, it is always a good idea to Page 63 of 293 review these terms and concepts as their precise meanings are often different from an often-idiosyncratic understanding.
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Bob Unnasch, Ph.D.
Sound Science LLC