Conservationists assume a set of underlying values which guide their decision-making and action. The safeguarding or promotion of biodiversity, it is believed, is the means by which nature is best protected. This book examines - and challenges - these general conservation assumptions. While reinforcing the need to halt extinction and value biodiversity, it shows that biodiversity needs to be more clearly understood, perhaps being replaced by the notion of 'wildness'. It examines how biodiversity is a holistic term, and how individual species need to be assessed and their own contribution to 'wildness' has to be recognized. The book proposes a new way of conservation - one which makes more room for neglected, rather than endangered or rare species. It also asserts that 'wildness' is not incompatible with certain kinds of human intervention.
Contents: Part I: Exploring Conservation's Basic Assumptions: Extinction; Rarity; Nativity. Part II: The Conservationist's Role Redefined: Humans and nature: is conservation meaningful?; How is nature to be safeguarded? Conservationist, custodian of wildness. Part III: A New Emphasis in Conservation: The problem with species: reviewing units of importance; Wildlife rehabilitation as conservation strategy?; Conservation and individual worth; compatibility: problems and answers. Part IV: The Upshot; Implications for Action: Managing wildness?; The new conservation; Bibliography; Index.