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Are There Scientific Criteria for Putting Short-term Conservation Ahead of Learning? No.

Richard A Hinrichsen, Hinrichsen Environmental Services

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Abstract

Kai Lee asks "Are there clearly articulated scientific criteria for putting short-term conservation ahead of learning? (That is, are there conservation situations where we know enough not to need to worry about surprises?)" There can be no such scientific criteria, even in the most trivial of circumstances, because it is really a question of societal values. In cases in which societal values favor conservation of an endangered or threatened population, reliable learning is unlikely to be placed ahead of short-term conservation, partly because it is uncertain whether learning will really improve the prospects for population recovery. Given the prevailing societal values and scientific realities surrounding endangered or threatened populations, the question is not when short-term conservation can objectively be put ahead of learning, but whether either can be accomplished.

Key words

Snake River, adaptive management, chinook salmon, endangered populations, learning, scientific criteria, short-term conservation, societal values
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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087