Preservation and conservation on the surface appear interchangeable.  But they are not.  Preservation is to set an area aside, without human use, management, or other interference.  There is no hiking, biking, or removal of exotic invasive species.  You let the area run its course.  Think of it like the preserves your Grandma made.  The strawberries are harvested, made into jam, and set aside.  (Okay, I’m sure some of you smarties are saying that you bust open the preserves and use them on bread.  Fine, poke holes in my analogy, but I’m sticking (pun intended) to it.)  Conservation is the wise use of resources.  The study of conservation is a young science (about 100 years) and with anything else, conservation has had a steep learning curve.  But some basic principles have emerged.  You can use some resources while insuring their existence for future generations.   Some strawberries would be harvested.  Others, hopefully the best, would be allowed to remain and reproduce.  You might even plant strawberries in the areas you harvested.  Conservation requires 1) an understanding of the area and its ecology, 2) identification of long term impacts, 3) creativity, and 4) hard choices.  Not everyone gets everything they want when using a resource wisely.  What are you?

ECOLOGYAmy SmithComment