The importance of lists in the history of conservation is discussed with particular reference to some episodes in the international history of bird protection. Historiographical research has shown the hybrid nature of conservation that results from the blending of scientific expertise, political action and legal measures. In such a contested arena, lists have often provided a simple but powerful textual device for translating scientific information and conservation concerns into effective legal measures. Naturalists, trained in the natural history tradition of lists and catalogues, have played a key role in this respect. The usefulness of lists, derived from their simplicity and clarity, is not, however, without shortcomings.
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