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Amphibian & Reptile Conservation


Of significant biodiversity importance, the Mesoamerican herpetofauna now increases at a rate of approximately 35 species annually. As its size increases, however, the global problem of biodiversity decline continues to worsen with time. Recently, a set of conservation priority levels was established for individual species based on a combination of physiographic distribution and Environmental Vulnerability Score (EVS). The 18 such levels identified range from level one, encompassing species that occupy a single physiographic region and with a high EVS, to level 18, including species that inhabit six physiographic regions and have a low EVS. For the Mesoamerican herpetofauna, the greatest number of species is placed in level one, amounting to 970 taxa with documentable distributions. From one to 149 priority level one species are found in 20 of the 21 physiographic regions recognized in Mesoamerica. Slightly more than three-quarters of the priority level one species of anurans, salamanders, and squamates are found in the Baja California Peninsula and six montane regions in Mexico and Central America. Conservation biology, thus far, has not been successful at reversing the steady loss of biodiversity nor at placing biodiversity decline on the global agenda. In addition, humans are becoming increasingly divorced from contact with the natural world and, thus, less aware of the life-threatening impact they are having on the planet’s life-support systems. Given this situation, the authors of this paper have become increasingly devoted to trying to understand why humans in general exhibit the highly dangerous anthropocentric worldview. As have other biologists, the authors ascribe this behavior to what is known as “the mismanagement of the human mind.” This mismanagement of the human mind is believed to result from a cascade of psychological ailments giving rise to increasingly restrictive forms of centristic thinking. In the final analysis, these types of thinking appear likely to doom to failure any efforts to establish for perpetuity protected areas that can harbor the priority level one species identified in this and earlier papers. Until and unless the anthropocentric worldview can be transformed into a worldview consonant with the realities of how life operates on planet Earth, we humans are not only endangering ourselves but also all other life. This article discusses the implications of this worldview for the potential conservation of the priority level one endemic species of the Mesoamerica herpetofauna.


Biological and Environmental Sciences

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