Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • News Feature
  • Published:

Conservation priorities: What to let go

Not all species can be saved from extinction. Emma Marris talks to conservation biologists about prioritization and triage.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Buy this article

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout


  1. Ehrlich, P. R. & Ehrlich, A. Extinction: the causes and consequences of the disappearance of species (Random House, London, 1981).

  2. Halpern, B. S. et al. Conserv. Biol. 20, 56?64 (2006).

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. Walker, B. H. Conserv. Biol. 6, 18?23 (1992).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Isaac, N. J. B., Turvey, S. T., Collen, B., Waterman, C. & Baillie, J. E. M. PLoS ONE 2, e296 (2007).

    Article  ADS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  5. Myers, N. Environmentalist 8, 1?20 (1988).

    Google Scholar 

  6. Myers, N. et al. Nature 403, 853?858 (2000).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Brooks, T. M. et al. Science 313, 58?61 (2006).

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  8. Wilson, K. A. et al. PLoS Biol. 5, e223 (2007).

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  9. Murdoch, W. et al. Biol. Conserv. 139, 375?388 (2007).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Kareiva, P. & Marvier, M. Am. Sci. 91, 344?351 (2003).

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


Additional information

Emma Marris writes for Nature from Columbia, Missouri.

Related links

Related links

Related links in Nature Research

Evolution & Ecology

Biodiversity insight

Society for Conservation Biology blogging at Nature

Related external links

Biological Conservation special issue on the Cape Floristic Region


CI Page on Hotspots

Peter Kareiva of The Nature Conservancy on hotspots

Make Poverty History

Ecology and Society

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Marris, E. Conservation priorities: What to let go. Nature 450, 152–155 (2007).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing