Rethinking conservation: Focus on ecosystems


As modern humans we evoke science every time we’re faced with something that seems beyond our control. It has been a response after every major earthquake, flash flood, an extended drought, or a soggy summer–especially if media reports are to be considered as evidence. For example, we have media asking questions every time, say, apples in Himachal ripen earlier than normal, or when a Royal Bengal Tiger is sighted at an altitude of 4200 meters in Bhutan.

Sometimes, even we scientists do not always have definitive answers but even when we do have early inferences, they seldom receive much policy attention or public support until there’s a major disaster. Science rarely has quick-fix solutions on natural phenomena. Answers to such questions require continuous research for understanding complex systems and processes that defy quick tests because they involve a complex mix of the discipline, human adaptation and all “development” that is taking place around us.