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What nature should we protect?

Conservation biology shares the distinction with medicine in that it is a science that is given a moral imperative. Like medicine, conservation biology is an amalgamation of different fields (ecology, genetics, environmental science, etc) brought together for a single purpose.The question now is what exactly is that problem. Conservation biology has historically focused on protecting nature for nature’s sake. There has been pressure in recent years for a more human-based approach: one that focuses on what nature can do for humans through ecosystem services. These are known as the biocentric and anthropocentric approaches, and their proponents are locked in a heated debate. In the June issue of the scientific journal “Conservation Biology,” this debate came into the spotlight.

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