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Amphibian conservation in the Anthropocene
- Grant, Evan H. Campbell, Muths, Erin, Schmidt, Benedikt R., Petrovan, Silviu O.
- Biological conservation 2019
- Anthropocene epoch, amphibians, applied research, biodiversity, ecosystems, natural resources conservation, prediction, wildlife management
- Research is necessary to identify patterns in nature, to understand how a system functions, and to make predictions about the future state of an ecosystem. Applied research in conservation biology can identify effective strategies to maintain biodiversity, though many papers end with the conclusion that more research is needed. However, more research does not necessarily lead to solutions. We use the ongoing global decline of amphibians as a salient example to highlight limitations in current conservation research, and to focus on finding solutions which are directly relevant for conservation. While research has been conducted since declines were first detected in the 1990s, outside a few specific examples, little progress in conservation has been achieved. We suggest that the case of amphibian declines is relevant to conservation science in general, as the current paradigm for conservation is that management is planned after research is completed; research and management are not effectively (and not directly) connected. This disconnect illustrates the knowledge-action divide which has been identified as a serious deficiency in conservation. Accordingly, we use this introductory paper to the Special Issue (Amphibian conservation in the Anthropocene: Progress and challenges) to describe amphibians as a conservation dilemma, and to make the case for a different, more pragmatic, and more solutions-focused view of conservation research.