What are the advantages and disadvantages of the species approach?

Quick answer:

The advantages of the species approach include the opportunity to prevent extinction and bolster population numbers when needed. The disadvantages of this approach can include neglecting other species and biodiversity.

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First things first: in order to answer this question, we need to define what the species approach is. Also known as the "single species approach," the species approach to biodiversity focuses on increasing numbers of one species rather than focusing on the ecosystem as a whole. This has particular importance with regard to endangered species such as black rhino, white rhino, mountain gorilla, pangolin, and African wild dog.

The advantages of the species approach include the preservation of species. By focusing all an organization's efforts on one species, conditions highly conducive to preservation and reproduction within that species can be created. The species approach also provides a detailed understanding of the relationships that exist between a particular species and its environment. This approach can also provide the data required to make policy-related decisions.

Disadvantages can include the neglect of other species and creation of other problems within a biome. If, for example, an African wildlife project sought to protect the wild dog at all cost, other species like the hyena and jackal might suffer, due to the preferential treatment being given to their natural rivals.

Another disadvantage can be a sudden overpopulation in one area. Sticking to the example used above, if there are suddenly too many African wild dogs in the area, the population dynamics of their prey (such as impala) can suddenly be threatened.

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