Taxonomy and conservation science: interdependent and value-laden
The relation between conservation science and taxonomy is typically seen as a simple dependency of the former on the latter. This dependency is assumed to be strictly one-way to avoid normative concerns from conservation science inappropriately affecting the descriptive discipline of taxonomy. In this paper, I argue against this widely assumed standard view on the relation between these two disciplines by highlighting two important roles for conservation scientists in scientific decisions that are part of the internal stages of taxonomy. I show that these roles imply that the two disciplines should be interdependent and that value-judgments should play a substantial role in both.
KeywordsTaxonomy Conservation science Values in science Species classification
I am grateful to two anonymous reviewers and the editor for their careful reading and insightful comments. This research was sponsored by the KU Leuven Bijzonder Onderzoeksfonds Grant 3H160214.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The author declares that there is no conflict of interest.
- Alström, P., Rasmussen, P. C., Olsson, U., & Sundberg, P. (2008). Species delimitation based on multiple criteria: The Spotted Bush Warbler Bradypterus thoracicus complex (Aves: Megaluridae). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 154(2), 291–307. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1096-3642.2008.00418.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Dupré, J. (1993). The disorder of things: Metaphysical foundations of the disunity of science. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Dupré, J. (2002). Is ‘natural kind’ a natural kind term? The Monist, 85(1), 29–49.Google Scholar
- Frank, D. (2016). ‘Biodiversity’ and biological diversities: Consequences of pluralism between biology and policy. In J. Garson, A. Plutynski, & S. Sarkar (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of philosophy of biodiversity (pp. 96–109). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Leaders. (2007). Hail Linnaeus; species inflation. The Economist, 383, 18.Google Scholar
- Oates, J., & Ting, N. (2015). Conservation consequences of unstable taxonomies: The case of the red colobus monkeys. In A. Behie & O. Marc (Eds.), Taxonomic tapestries (pp. 321–343). Canberra: ANU Press.Google Scholar
- Romero, D., Olivero, J., Márquez, A. L., Báez, J. C., & Real, R. (2014). Uncertainty in distribution forecasts caused by taxonomic ambiguity under climate change scenarios: a case study with two newt species in mainland Spain. Journal of Biogeography, 41(1), 111–121. https://doi.org/10.1111/jbi.12189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Sarkar, S. (2016). Approaches to biodiversity. In J. Garson, A. Plutynski, & S. Sarkar (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of philosophy of biodiversity (pp. 57–69). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Schlick-Steiner, B. C., Steiner, F. M., Seifert, B., Stauffer, C., Christian, E., & Crozier, R. H. (2010). Integrative taxonomy: A multisource approach to exploring biodiversity. Annual Review of Entomology, 55(1), 421–438. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-ento-112408-085432.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity. (2010). Guide to the Global Taxonomy Initiative. CBD technical series no. 30. https://www.cbd.int/doc/publications/cbd-ts-30.pdf. Accessed 14 Nov 2018.
- Tsang, S. M., Cirranello, A. L., Bates, P. J. J., & Simmons, N. B. (2016). The roles of taxonomy and systematics in bat conservation. In C. C. Voigt & T. Kingston (Eds.), Bats in the anthropocene: Conservation of bats in a changing world (pp. 503–538). Cham: Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-25220-9_16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Wege, J. A., Thiele, K. R., Shepherd, K. A., Butcher, R., Macfarlane, T. D., & Coates, D. J. (2015). Strategic taxonomy in a biodiverse landscape: A novel approach to maximizing conservation outcomes for rare and poorly known flora. Biodiversity and Conservation, 24(1), 17–32. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-014-0785-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Wheeler, Q. D., Knapp, S., Stevenson, D. W., Stevenson, J., Blum, S. D., Boom, B. M., et al. (2012). Mapping the biosphere: Exploring species to understand the origin, organization and sustainability of biodiversity. Systematics and Biodiversity, 10(1), 1–20. https://doi.org/10.1080/14772000.2012.665095.CrossRefGoogle Scholar