Taxonomical Anarchy Hampers Conservation

To: "" <>
Subject: Taxonomical Anarchy Hampers Conservation
From: Chris Corben <>
Date: Thu, 1 Jun 2017 13:20:24 +0000
So taxonomy should be a political activity?  It is already basically a
political decision that only species matter. Yet believe it or not, back
in the early 90s Qld Forestry accepted the notion that they should
protect the viability of local populations, not just broader categories
like species or subspecies. Northern Spotted Owl got protection in the
USA despite not even being a subspecies!

Cheers, Chris.

On 6/1/2017 3:03 AM, Laurie Knight wrote:
> That’s not the point of the paper
> "There is reasonable agreement among taxonomists that a species should 
> represent a distinct evolutionary lineage. But there is none about how a 
> lineage should be defined. 'Species' are often created or dismissed 
> arbitrarily, according to the individual taxonomist's adherence to one of at 
> least 30 definitions. Crucially, there is no global oversight of taxonomic 
> decisions — researchers can 'split or lump' species with no consideration of 
> the consequences.”
> On 1 Jun 2017, at 6:00 pm, Dave Torr <> wrote:
>> If one accepts evolution then surely the corollary is that species change 
>> over time. Else there would probably only be one species of bird
>> Or am I missing something?
>> On 1 Jun 2017 17:58, "Laurie Knight" <> wrote:
>> Steve Garnett and Les Christidis say
>> "The assumption that species are fixed entities1 underpins every 
>> international agreement on biodiversity conservation, all national 
>> environmental legislation and the efforts of many individuals and 
>> organizations to safeguard plants and animals. Yet for a discipline aiming 
>> to impose order on the natural world, taxonomy (the classification of 
>> complex organisms) is remarkably anarchic.”
>> See today’s edition of Nature: 
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Chris Corben.

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