Conservation and Preservation

Environmental Ethics 8 (3):195-220 (1986)
Abstract
Philosophers have paid little attention to the distinction between conservation and preservation, apparently because they have accepted John Passmore’s suggestion that conservationism is an expression of anthropocentric motives and that “true” preservationism is an expression of nonanthropocentric motives. Philosophers have therefore concentrated their efforts on this distinction in motives. This reduction,however, is insensitive to important nuances of environmentalist objectives: there are a wide variety of human reasons for preserving natural ecosystems and wild species. Preservationist policies represent a concem to protect biological diversity from the simplifying effects of human management and are motivated by the full range of values (consumptive, aesthetic, scientific, and moral) attached to a diverse biota.Conservationists and preservationists differ mainly in their emphasis on resilience measures versus predictability measures of stability, respectively. The distinction between anthropocentric and nonanthropocentric motives loses importance as emphasis is placed on the longest term values humans place on the proteetion of biological diversity
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