Best of 2015: 4 things conservation scientists sometimes forget

ichthyologist with catfish, Konashen Community-Owned Conservation Area, Guyana

An ichthyologist with a freshly caught catfish on an expedition in Guyana’s Konashen Community-Owned Conservation Area. (© Piotr Naskrecki)

Editor’s Note: As 2015 comes to a close, we’re recapping some of Human Nature’s top stories of the year. See more here. 

After attending an annual meeting of more than 2,000 conservation scientists, students and researchers from around the world, Conservation International’s Rachel Neugarten returned with a realization: For all their talent and hard work, scientists are also susceptible to forgetting a few things.

Bringing an insider’s view of the discourse that happens within the conservation science community, Neugarten shed light on the role of emotions, the drawbacks of debate and the wisdom of crowds in advancing knowledge — notions that you might not always associate with science.

Neugarten wrote of a debate at the conference in which an academic argued that corporations “are part of a flawed capitalist system” and therefore cannot be part of conservation solutions.

“I wish someone had stood up and pointed out that it’s not an either/or,” Neugarten wrote. “Partnering with corporations, as CI has done for many years, can be an incredibly successful strategy in the right context.”

Click here to read the rest of Neugarten’s list of things that conservation scientists sometimes forget.

Cassandra Kane is a staff writer for Conservation International. 

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