by Aaron Koning
For the last five years, I’ve been working on research related to the conservation of aquatic ecosystems in Southeast Asia, and I’m happy to announce that the first chapter of my dissertation has recently been published. While it’s only available online at the moment, it should be making its way onto a printing press at Ecosystems in the coming months.*
Much of the work of conservation is figuring out how to balance human needs for resources like food, water, and timber with the need to maintain the organisms and ecosystems that produce these goods. There have been a lot of studies that have specifically looked at how to meet the future food demand of humans while maintaining sufficient areas for wildlife. Many scientists argue that the best way to do this is to maximize the amount of food produced from the minimum amount of land. By doing this, there will be more land with high-quality habitats for wildlife.
Achieving this goal would require substantial centralization of agriculture as well as substantial fertilization and irrigation effort in most places. Other researchers have suggested that we should mix agricultural landscapes with conserved areas, because these sorts of arrangements can be better for both wildlife and for the farmers. This may just sound like an academic argument, but land managers from all over the world have to deal with these types of questions. Continue reading