Conservation biology is the study of impacts to biodiversity with the intention of conserving it.
The physical structure of a landscape can heavily influence biodiversity. If habitat fragmentation occurs, which is when habitat is destroyed and separated into smaller and smaller patches for the sake of human development and use, biodiversity tends to decline.
Corridors connecting habitat patches can be created or protected by conservationists to preserve biodiversity. Conservation biologists often aid in establishing protected areas in order to slow the loss of biodiversity. Challenges to species conservation are often conflicts between the habitat needs of species and human use of the land.
EXAMPLEConsider dams and salmon migration. Salmon migrate seasonally for reproductive reasons, swimming up river to lay their eggs. However, humans build dams (see diagram below) to control water resources and create hydroelectric energy sources. This blocks salmon migration and fragments their habitat, which can drastically reduce species populations.
Restoration ecology is the study of the distribution and abundance of organisms and their interaction with the environment, with the intent to determine ways to restore damaged or destroyed ecosystems.
EXAMPLELet's return to the previous discussion of salmon migration. A restoration ecologist might determine that the salmon population's decline is resulting from the existence of the dam. They might also note that bear populations in the area are impacted by the decline in salmon populations. A restoration ecologist might then suggest that dam removal or relocation of a salmon species could restore an ecosystem to homeostasis.