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“A belief is not merely an idea the mind possesses; it is an idea that possesses the mind.” — Robert Bolton

Watts Up With That?

English: Large Blue butterfly, Maculinea arion... Large Blue butterfly, Maculinea arion, Rabastens-de-Bigorre, Hautes Pyrénées, France (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Guest essay by Jim Steele, Director emeritus Sierra Nevada Field Campus, San Francisco State University.

What Good Conservation Science Reported

Good stewards of the environment are compelled to engage in good science. In 1980, butterfly experts in the United Kingdom predicted that both the Silver-spotted Skipper and the Large Blue butterfly were doomed to extinction. The widespread Silver-spotted Skipper was gradually restricted to just 46 locations. The more rare Large Blue had been declining from over 90 estimated colonies supporting tens of thousands in the 1800s to just two colonies and about 325 individuals by 1972. The question that had continuously eluded conservationists was why?

Disturbed by repeated failures to correctly identify the causes of the decline, Dr. Jeremy Thomas embarked upon extensive research that ultimately unraveled the mystery. It is a model of superb scientific research and…

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