There is no wilderness. Ten thousand years ago hunters wiped out most of the major mega-fauna in all the forests and from then on all land is a commodity. From then on society has been looking for a way to employ all property, all species. The question is what is the "highest and best use"? Is it strip farming, or biodiversity cultivation that enables the tens of thousands of species living there to do jobs for us.
Taking conservation out of a the government run model and evolving a new contributing component of society expands the political base. Making locals' livelihoods dependent on conservation and ecotourism mobilizes the voters to support the conservation activities.
Big as life and twice as opinionated, the renowned preservation biologist Daniel Janzen spoke for The Long Now on Friday, April 9, 2005. His perspective on preservation may be jarring to some: "It’s ALL Gardening".
Dan Janzen is most widely known for his heroic efforts helping set all of Costa Rica on a preservation path, ensuring that the mega-diverse nation continues indefinitely as a haven for science and eco-tourism. His particular focus, Guanacaste Conservation Area, was recently declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. His ongoing work there in field taxonomy and innovative preservation practices led to his receiving the Crafoord Prize (1984), the Kyoto Prize (1997), and the Albert Einstein Science Prize (2002). Professor Janzen teaches at the University of Pennsylvania.