Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Human Burials Can Save Threatened Species

By Matthew Holden

As declines in biodiversity accelerate we need to examine innovative ways to save threatened species. Conservation burials may be one solution, and the potential is enormous.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

All of us will die, so imagine how beautiful it would be if our friends could visit our grave, hear the song of a critically endangered bird and know that, in death, we saved this bird from becoming extinct? I’m talking about a conservation burial in which burial fees are used to fund the acquisition and management of land for conservation.

It works like this. Instead of spending vast amounts of money on fancy coffins and tombstones we instead put these resources towards the purchase and restoration of habitat. Within this habitat, the burial process employs natural principles – that is, your corporeal remains decompose in the ground alongside only biodegradable materials (bypassing the embalming process).

But conservation burials go a step further than natural burials. Natural burials are about avoiding environmental damage caused by conventional burial and cremation. Conservation burials not only eliminate this damage but improve the...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.