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The prospect of a biodiversity crisis has finally raised international concern. The question of how to respond poses a major challenge to biologists. Urgency and the demands of practical management call for a problem-orientated response. Three priorities areas, identification, safeguarding and rescue-and-rehabiliation are singled out as the most immediate conservation priorities. Each topic calls for the development of simplifying theories, application criteria and conservation methods. Finally, the scale and urgency of the crisis calls for a big-science approach in which the academy of sciences could play a catalytic role by establishing an international commission for biodiversity.
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