March 5, 2021 at 3:24 pm

Popescu Challenges Students to Tackle World’s ‘Wicked’ Environmental Problems in New Textbook

Viorel Popescu, portrait

Dr. Viorel Popescu

Dr. Viorel Popescu brings an urgency about environmental issues around the country and the world to today’s college students in a new edition of a textbook on conservation biology.

“By embracing new theory and practice and documenting many examples of both conservation successes and the hard lessons of real-world ‘wicked’ environmental problems, Fundamentals of Conservation Biology remains a vital resource for biologists, conservationists, ecologists, environmentalists, and others,” says the forward for the book, which comes out March 23.

Some of the examples Popescu contributes to the new edition, which is more focused on problems around the world than previous editions:

  • Solutions to lionfish invasions in the Caribbean
  • Introduction of invasive sportfish in alpine lakes
  • Contentious practice of trophy hunting
  • Using ecosystem services for decision making in Belize
  • Conservation of traditional wood-pastures in Transylvania (Romania)
  • Economics of tourism in Nepal

Helping to compile all the new references was Ohio University Honors Tutorial College student Andrew Connolly. The book acknowledges him for compiling more than 2,500 literature citations as a standalone bibliography, using a reference management software.

“This is one the seminal textbooks in this field, and it is used—and translated in many languages—worldwide,” says Popescu, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences at Ohio University. He co-authored the book with his former advisers: Mac Hunter, who he studied with at the University of Maine for his Ph.D., and James Gibbs, who he studied with at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry for his master’s.

Popescu updated four chapters in the new book, as well as writing several new case studies.

He noted that publishing a textbook is “a lot of grunt work, too. I’ve reviewed the whole book more than five times,” he says, “But I added my own touch through my international research experiences, conservation decision making, and perspectives offered by teaching a Conservation Biology class at OHIO. Above all, working with two high-caliber conservationists and writers was a humbling learning experience.”

Students in his next Conservation Biology class will get to dive into the worlds’ problems in this new book.

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