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One of the primary goals of the Wildlife Diversity program is conservation: of species, of habitats, of Iowa’s ecosystems. Why is conservation important? In their 1981 book Extinction: The causes and consequences of the disappearance of species, Paul and Ann Ehrlich compare species loss to the rivets on the wing of an airplane. You may not even notice the removal of a few rivets as the wing is built with some redundant parts but lose too many rivets and you’re going to crash. Lose too much habitat or too many species and recovery may not be an option. Conservation is essential!
Two of the main ways the Diversity Program participates in conservation is the establishment of priority habitat areas like Bird Conservation Areas and identifying possible new threats to wildlife such as wind energy and the effect of lead on wildlife. We also work very closely with the DNR’s threatened and endangered species biologist in addition to funding and conducting research projects studying Iowa’s Species of Greatest Conservation Need.