Elephants in the room: Tough choices for a maturing discipline
Macdonald DW., Willis KJ.
Wildlife conservation, and the preservation and restoration of biological diversity from genes through to whole landscapes, should be an evidence-based activity. It is built on an interdisciplinary foundation for which natural science is necessary but not sufficient, and whi ch leads from principles to practice along a route involving natural and social science, evaluation, judgement and politics. These linkages, and the blurred boundary between the scientific and political consequences of conservation decisions, mean that most conservation issues are permeated by profound trade-offs, perplexing dilemmas and sometimes unmentioned truths: metaphorical elephants in the room. Throughout this chapter, the authors have penned Thought Elephants in boxes. The purpose is to reveal some difficult issues that often remain unspoken and invisible when key topics in conservation biology are discussed - the 'elephants in the room' which increasingly face conservation practitioners. These Thought Elephants are phrased as questions and presented as food for thought. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd..