Umbrella species: a waterproof concept for conservation?

Ideas for Sustainability

By Ine Dorresteijn

(Introductory note by Joern Fischer: We are introducing a new category in our blog — ‘concepts in sustainability and conservation’. In this category, we will briefly summarise some of those key concepts that we all ought to know about, including a small number of key references. The concepts discussed will come from both the social and natural sciences. I hope this new category will be of interest to you!)

Biodiversity conservation is an integral part of sustainability. In practice, biodiversity conservation often relies on the use of shortcuts due to (a) a lack of available data on abundance and distribution of species of conservation concern and (b) limited funding and time. One of the shortcuts in conservation management is the use umbrella species. Umbrella species are species whose conservation grants the protection of a large number of co-occurring species (Roberge & Angelstam 2004). The concept of umbrella…

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