Biodiversity and Democracy
256 pages, 6 x 9
Release Date:01 Oct 2000
Release Date:01 Oct 2000

Biodiversity and Democracy

Rethinking Nature and Society

UBC Press

The world's species, genes, and ecosystems are going extinct atan alarming and unprecedented rate, largely as a result of humanactivities. If this trend continues, human civilization itself is atrisk. Yet we remain either unaware or unconcerned.

In Biodiversity and Democracy, Paul Wood looks at thisdilemma from another perspective. He argues that the problem can betraced back to how we think about both biodiversity and democraticsocieties. He examines the concept of biodiversity, recasting it as anessential environmental condition that is being irreversibly depleted,not a biological resource that can simply be replaced. He thendemonstrates how democratic policies cater to short-term publicpreferences, with little or no concern for the long term.

Wood considers a number of contemporary theories of justice andconcludes that biodiversity conservation is a legitimate constraint oncurrent collective preferences and that biodiversity should beconserved, even if it is not in the public's current best interestto do so. This is a strong message that carries serious implicationsfor constitutional and statutory legal reform in liberaldemocracies.

This book will be of interest to academics and professionals in therelated fields of conservation biology, environmental law, publicpolicy, environmental ethics and political philosophy. Public interestgroups, environmental advocacy groups and government agencies will alsofind Wood's approach thought-provoking.


  • 2000, Winner - K.D. Srivastava Award, UBC Press
Interesting stuff, and indicative of the kinds of land planning decisions we will be forced to make over the next generation or two ... is well written and well indexed. C.H. Smith, Choice
Paul M. Wood is assistant professor in the Departmentof Forest Resources Management at the University of British Columbia.


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


1. Categories of Protected Areas

2. Levels of Protection: Summary of Current Practice


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