The Value Of Biodiversity Essay

1237 words - 5 pages

The Fire-Brigade Period (The First 100 Years of Conservation) Involvement in conservation work entails the use of a wide variety of skills, some of which one most probably will not adequately be prepared. There are two arguments ? that the role and importance of conservation are changing dramatically (rapid increase of problems, recognition that conservation is essential for our survival) and secondly that conservation must increasingly be ?drawn into the mainstream of social and economic activity?.Conservation, as we know it, is a product of the past 100 years ? the ?fire-brigade period?. It has largely been a specialist activity hence giving it a somewhat elitist standing, being dominated by scientists and amateur naturalists.Over this period, priorities have tended towards a sort of ?museum type of approach? ? the aim being to preserve different habitats as showcase items of diversity.Conservation has had little impact on economic activity. One of the main reasons for this is that it has the image of a sectional interest, which can be satisfied through the preservation of certain areas ? a sort of apathetic appeasement which shows no real resolution to solve the problems at hand. The economy is deemed much more important. These protected areas are not large enough to support all of the species that were once present.Conservation and the Environmental Crisis The fire-brigade phase is believed to be coming to an end ? at least in the developing world. We have learned much about the abundance and distribution of species and habitats, and there is now legal protection for the most notable natural areas. Despite our achievements, however, we are not doing enough to halt the loss of biodiversity. The estimated rate of extinction of plant and animal life is phenomenal when compared to times before human intervention.A powerful new argument has emerged for protecting biodiversity ? we need it for our survival. Radical changes to our environment are occurring such as acidification, eutrophication of waterways, extreme flooding events, overall climatic changes and the destruction of the ozone layer. These problems mainly stem from modern economic activity. We depend for our survival upon biological processes ? now called ?ecosystem services? ? which are now provided by natural and semi-natural ecosystems such as wetlands to a significant extent.A good example is the importance of the ecosystem services is in agriculture. In the past 40 years production has been seen as a function of inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides. Increasingly we are seeing problems with pesticides ? increased resistance and the destruction of the natural controls within the existent ecosystem. Agro-ecology, recognizing the reliance on ecological processes to maintain production and control pests and diseases has been emerging, in turn meaning a greater dependence on biological diversity.Valuing Biodiversity Biodiversity is increasingly recognized as a diminishing resource....

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