The amount of land contained in conservation areas has more than tripled worldwide over the past three decades. Over 100,000 parks and nature preserves now enclose roughly 12% of the earth’s land surface. Despite this massive intervention, countless species of plants and animals are rapidly declining to the point of extinction, as are valuable habitats that support human populations. How are we to make sense of this fact? What can be done to bring about more effective responses to conservation dilemmas? This course will examine a series of moral, political, economic, and scientific issues that shape contemporary conservation theory and practice. It will also explore ways to reconcile the goal of protecting biodiversity and rare habitat with meeting the needs of resident human populations.