Huxley College of the Environment’s field course on rainforest conservation traces some of its roots to a seminal 1967 publication. MacArthur and Wilson’s The Theory of Island Biogeography presented two fundamental principles. Larger islands support more species than smaller ones and remote islands support fewer species than less remote ones. Moreover, they also established how habitat can be insulated by not only distance between islands, but anything that divides a landscape such as mountains and climate. But the conservation implications of biogeography became dichotomized during the seventies and eighties into a debate between preserving a Single Large section of habitat, or Several Small and captured in the acronym SLOSS? Costa Rica’s preserved natural areas presented Western Washington University students with an excellent case study of this history of conservation biogeography and its future where protected area management embraces Single Large AND Several Small (SLASS). Moreover, Costa Rica offered a stimulating laboratory to explore the promise and pitfalls of SLASS for students from around the world and its implications for ecosystem conservation challenges everywhere (Boza, Jukofsky, and Willie, 1995).
Five Seasons in Ecotopia: Rainforest Immersion and Conservation Action in Costa Rica
Abel, Troy D. 2012. Conserving single large and several small. In Five Seasons in Ecotopia: Rainforest Immersion and Conservation Action in Costa Rica, ed. Troy D. Abel. Bellingham, WA: Village Books Press, 12-15.