Unprecedented habitat loss, species declines, climate warming, and pollution are culminating in an environmental crisis that needs to be addressed with innovative and radical solutions. The crisis runs deep in the tropics, where two-thirds of the biodiversity exists in the backdrop of massive loss of native habitats and environmental neglect. Environmental apathy, corruption, poor natural resource governance, poverty, and lack of conservation funding remain formidable challenges to tangible conservation in the tropics. Ultimately, our ability to ride the current environmental crisis will depend on whether we are able to drastically improve the management of natural resources in tropical countries. There have been numerous strategies proposed, mainly by western scientists, to conserve native ecosystems such as preserving critical areas (i.e., protected areas set aside for biodiversity), balancing conservation and human livelihoods (e.g., through conservation payment or employment schemes), and creating human support for conservation by highlighting the value of nature (i.e., preservation of natural capital). However views of tropical biologists regarding biodiversity conservation are rarely sought and discussed. Prominent conservation journals rarely publish editorials by tropical conservation biologists. This we feel may be a major faux pas of conservation science. Undoubtedly, these scientists have novel views that may enhance conservation knowledge and outcomes.
To address this critical failure of conservation science, we will invite 30 key tropical biologists and they will be asked to respond to two questions. What do they think are the major conservation issues in their country and/or region? What would be their recommendations to mitigate these conservation challenges? Their returned opinion pieces (maximum 3000 words) will be published in the proposed book. Tropical biologists will also be asked to illustrate their opinions using examples of conservation successes as well as failures, where possible.
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