The world's species, genes, and ecosystems are going extinct at
an alarming and unprecedented rate, largely as a result of human
activities. If this trend continues, human civilization itself is at
risk. Yet we remain either unaware or unconcerned.
In Biodiversity and Democracy, Paul Wood looks at this
dilemma from another perspective. He argues that the problem can be
traced back to how we think about both biodiversity and democratic
societies. He examines the concept of biodiversity, recasting it as an
essential environmental condition that is being irreversibly depleted,
not a biological resource that can simply be replaced. He then
demonstrates how democratic policies cater to short-term public
preferences, with little or no concern for the long term.
Wood considers a number of contemporary theories of justice and
concludes that biodiversity conservation is a legitimate constraint on
current collective preferences and that biodiversity should be
conserved, even if it is not in the public's current best interest
to do so. This is a strong message that carries serious implications
for constitutional and statutory legal reform in liberal
This book will be of interest to academics and professionals in the
related fields of conservation biology, environmental law, public
policy, environmental ethics and political philosophy. Public interest
groups, environmental advocacy groups and government agencies will also
find Wood's approach thought-provoking.
Paul M. Wood is assistant professor in the Department of Forest Resources Management at the University of British Columbia.
Acknowledgments 1. Introduction: A View of the Landscape 2. Biodiversity: An Environmental Condition 3. The Failure of Utilitarianism 4. The Failure of Economic Efficiency 5. The Failure of Consensus among Stakeholders 6. The Case for the Priority of Biodiversity Conservation 7. The Cost of Biodiversity Conservation 8. Constitutional and Legal Implications References Appendices 1. Categories of Protected Areas 2. Levels of Protection: Summary of Current Practice Index