Pathways for Conservation

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Science  19 Jul 2013:
Vol. 341, Issue 6143, pp. 215
DOI: 10.1126/science.1242710

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Next week, conservation scientists will gather at the International Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB) in Baltimore, Maryland, to grapple with the challenges of preserving our natural world in the face of a growing and increasingly consumptive human population. The natural world provides countless services, such as clean water, protection from flooding, and carbon sequestration, while offering opportunities for new medicines, foods, and energy production. Yet these valuable services and opportunities are disappearing along with the species and natural areas that supply them. The needs of a growing human population must be met while conserving the planet's natural systems. Accomplishing both will depend on making clearer connections between scientific results regarding issues such as biodiversity loss and the critical decisions that must be made about conditions that underlie change, such as greenhouse gas emissions and freshwater availability. The good news is that today's conservation scientists are developing innovative tools and strategies.