Biology career spotlight: Conservation Scientist

William Woods Undergraduate

According to NASA, “The current [global] warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is very likely human-induced and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented in the past 1,300 years.”

It becomes more important than ever to place much of our focus on the preservation of the planet and all the living things that dwell within it.

Bachelors in biology students interested in not only exploring the natural world but protecting and preserving it for generations to come may be interested in a career in conservation science.

Many think of nature and society as battling forces — that the act of conservation is wholly focused on preserving nature, and less concerned with our needs as a developing society.

However, in a study by conservation experts Peter Kareiva and Michelle Marvier, they argue that this is not the case, sharing that present scientists widely acknowledge that, in a world dominated by humans, “the scientific underpinnings of conservation must include a consideration of the role of humans,” and that the field of conservation science is one that “explicitly recognizes the tight coupling of social and natural systems.”

“Emerging priorities include pursuing conservation within working landscapes, rebuilding public support, working with the corporate sector, and paying better attention to human rights and equity,” the study explains. “We argue that in conservation, strategies must be promoted that simultaneously maximize the preservation of biodiversity and the improvement of human well-being.”

Professionals working in the field of conservation science are responsible for managing, improving and protecting natural resources, as well as monitoring overall land quality of forests, parks and rangelands. They often assist governments and landowners in deciding the most ecological uses for their land, taking into account both present and future considerations.

Conservation scientists focus on major areas such as climate change, disease prevention, effects of tree harvests on soil erosion, monitoring soil chemistry before and after harvesting, stream sediment, harmful insect invasions, fertilizer use and more.

Other duties may include:

  • Overseeing forestry and conservation activities to ensure compliance with government regulations and habitat protection
  • Negotiating terms and conditions for forest harvesting and land-use contracts
  • Establishing plans for managing forest lands and resources
  • Monitoring forest-cleared lands to ensure that they are suitable for future use

Conservation scientists work in a variety of different environments, including the federal government, state government, local government, or social advocacy organizations, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), they make an average annual salary of $60,220.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *