Change, persistence and conservation (biology)

by Tibor Hartel

We live in the era of fast change. Some people see opportunities in change, while others suffer from it. In this post I selected some pictures from a Transylvanian rural landscape – the Saxon area – to illustrate change. Such changes are very likely in many other rural landscapes of Eastern Europe. 

Fast change pose a serious challange for conservationists. We need to deal with it, and make it gentle and supportable for people. But by definition we, conservationists, want to conserve some elements of our ‘physical reality’ and therefore act against the change. What to conserve, and what not? What types of criteria should we use when selecting ‘values’ for conservation? Beauty? Unicity? Originality? Biodiversity?…Wellbeing? Resilience?

Change is not only an ecological but a social and economic problem. How to direct change to minimise the losses after it? Could we, as individuals and society, cope with change in a wise way? To fit in one body and harmonize two fundamentally different forces: persistence and change? What I can say about me: my ability to cope with change is limited, with every openess and desire to do it. I am limited by my culture (with the good and bad aspects). So are, probably, you too. You may be limited by a different culture. But we need to cope with change (as individuals first and then to show good examples to society). Will see if we are successful or not in this.


Fischer, J., Hartel, T., Kuemmerle, T. (2012): Conservation policy in traditional farming landscapesConservation Letters, in press.


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