The American Society for Mammalogy, the Ecological Society of America, and the Politics of Preservation
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From the 1920s to the early1940s, the American Society of Mammalogists and the Ecological Society of America became involved in efforts to preserve natural conditions on protected land areas, and to conserve predatory and other wildlife. Members vigorously disputed how active a scientific society should be in advocating for conservation. Charles C. Adams and Victor E. Shelford served as leaders in two major efforts aiming to shape federal policy, notably the preservation of natural landscapes and the protection of predatory animals. Their unique argument for conservation highlighted preserved landscapes with their original compliments of wildlife, emphasizing the outstanding scientific value and potential for future scientific study of protected places. Through their work on committees of their professional societies and the National Research Council, Adams, Shelford, and many of their colleagues illustrate the various avenues utilized by scientists in efforts to preserve the very essence of their research. Scientific societies took risks as members and the organizations themselves played critical roles in conservation advocacy, while the politics of science became intermixed with the politics of nature preservation.
James A. Pritchard. “The American Society of Mammalogists, The Ecological Society of America, and the Politics of Preservation.” Studies in the History of Biology Vol. 13 No. 2 (2021): 82-101.