Sunday, December 15, 2013
Locally adapted conservation biology textbooks can help biodiversity
Posted by Richard Primack
Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations.
In too many developing nations, students struggle to read English-language textbooks that typically don’t even include examples from their region.
"A Primer of Conservation Biology" Chinese edition
For 18 years, I have been inviting scientists to be co-authors of foreign-language editions of my textbooks “Essentials of Conservation Biology” and “A Primer of Conservation Biology.” My co-authors translate the English text into their own language and insert local examples and photos to make it more relevant to their students, as described in a recent article in BioScience. For example, the Indonesian edition features tropical deforestation and orangutan conservation.
So far, 29 translations have appeared in 18 languages with a dozen more in production and four being planned. Some editions cover countries or regions with large populations, such as China, South Asia, the Arabic-speaking world, and Latin America, while others cover less populous countries, such as Estonia, Nepal, Greece, and Mongolia. Many of these have been widely adapted for teaching university courses.
An unexpected benefit of these translated textbooks is that I have incorporated some of the best country-specific case studies back into the English-language versions, enriching their global perspective.
"A Primer of Conservation Biology" Greek edition
This textbook approach would be worth extending to related disciplines, including ecology, environmental science, wildlife biology, forestry, and agriculture, and even perhaps geography, medicine, and economics.