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Wildlife and wilderness make up the biodiversity within a certain ecosystem. Conservation ensures the protection of global ecosystems. In this report, the reasons for wildlife and wilderness conservation will be discussed. The positive and negative aspects of conservation will also be discussed and evaluated. Another matter that will be discussed is the potential conflicts of interest within Yellowstone National Park found within the United States of America.
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The reasons for wildlife and wilderness conservation can be broken down into seven key aspects; aesthetic, ethical, moral, educational, recreational, economic and genetic aspects. Conserving wildlife and wilderness ensures the aesthetic value attached to biodiversity. “human preferences will increasingly determine many species’ prospects for survival.” Stokes (2006) Although this statement may be a positive thing for many species, endangered wildlife, and wilderness that is considered less aesthetically pleasing may not receive the support that is needed to protect them. Conservation projects and research such as the EDGE of existence programme have been put in place by ZSL to educate the general public on the importance of all species and the threats that would not receive enough attention and awareness through media. Education plays a key role in conservation, whether it is educating people on ways to protect the environment or on species of animals that wouldn’t be seen in daily life. This allows humans to make connections with animals that they are familiar with increasing humans efforts to show more enthusiasm in conservation projects and adopting new habits to protect wildlife. The recreational value of wildlife and wilderness can help fund the costs of conservation. Green tourism is a form of tourism which creates sustainable tourism projects, conserves natural resources and reduces pollution. “Nature has spiritual and aesthetic values which have economic value.” Prasad (2012). Humans benefit from nature and use it for resources such as fuel, food, and water. The harvesting of natural resources has a large profit margin and creates jobs. Nearly every religion in the world is connected to nature. “Natural habitats and biodiversity form a strong part of people’s culture and values” Rautkari (2017). Conserving wildlife also ensures there will be wildlife for future generations to enjoy. Conservation also protects genetic diversity which safeguards species strengthening gene pools.
Some human interests can have a negative impact on ecosystems and species worldwide. One type of ecosystem that is slowly declining due to human interests are coral reefs. “70 percent of all coral reefs are expected to disappear by 2030 if corrective measures are not taken” Cossio (2016) Tourist activities are having a negative impact on coral reefs. Some of these negative impacts contributing to the decline of coral reefs include pollution and irreversible damage. This can be caused by cruises and tour boats; anchoring and grounding can cause physical damage to coral reefs along with human waste being disposed of on top of the reef.
“UK has the highest rate of cocaine use among young adults in Europe” (Smith, 2015). This deadly illegal habit is having many negative impacts. 300,000 hectares of forest have been destroyed to create space for coca planting which is later being used to create cocaine. Toxic chemicals used to create cocaine are causing a pollution risk as they are getting into waterways and rivers positioning wildlife further downstream. Conservation initiatives such as Greenpeace are working alongside the Colombian military and staff to monitor and protect the areas being affected. A global pledge to reduce drug use has also been made.
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Some may argue that ski resorts are having a negative impact on ecosystems. In order to run a successful ski resort, tourists must be able to ski or snowboard. Due to global warming snowfall is becoming less frequent, therefore causing owners to move their resorts further up the mountains or to source their snow from elsewhere. Artificial snow is used to attract more skiers. Artificial snow can have negative impacts on the environment as it is made with chemicals, salt is also used to create faster runs for skiers, whilst this will ensure more tourism artificial snow can cause threats to wildlife such as chemicals and other materials that may be poisonous to animals if ingested are used. Deforestation is another issue faced by wildlife, trees are being cut down to make way for new ski runs, therefore, destroying habitats.
Succession is “the process by which the structure of a biological community evolves over time.” (Thompson 2017). There are two types of succession; Primary and Secondary. Primary succession occurs on natural surfaces such as bare rock where no soil exists. Pioneer species known as lichens converts these surfaces into the soil which can support simple plant forms such as grasses and perennials. Over the time span of several hundred years, these simple plant forms colonize the soil and intermediate species of plants begin to grow. The final stage of primary succession is known as a climax community and will remain at this stage until destroyed. Secondary succession has the same stages as primary succession but is faster as it occurs on environments that already possess soil. Succession typically occurs after a major disturbance in an ecosystem which damages or destroys plant life such as natural disasters or deliberate human intervention. Controlled burning is normally used on moorland and heathland and can be used in conservation management. Positive aspects of succession include the preservation of moorlands and heathlands which are home to many game birds and invertebrates. One negative aspect of succession are species which inhabit these ecosystems must adapt or migrate with each stage as succession. Some species of animals may also be harmed if controlled burning is not carried out correctly.
Control of undesirable invasive or non-native species is used in conservation management for multiple reasons, whether it be to help boost populations of another species or to reduce the spread of diseases. Methods to reduce numbers of invasive or non-native species include culling to reduce the population within a certain area or moving the species to another area also known as translocation. Cargo and airport checks are vital for early prevention as seen in Guam which is now overrun with brown tree snakes. The brown tree snake first arrived in Guam on a cargo ship shortly after World War Two. The brown tree snake is infamous for being an invasive species and is responsible for the disappearance of many native birds and rodents as the island lacks any predators that are able to control the numbers. Without control of undesirable invasive species or non-native species, the brown tree snakes population in Guam will continue to increase causing long-term irreversible consequences for forests and other species as researchers to say the growth of new trees have fallen by up to 92%.
Provision of favorable conditions for favorable species is another method used in conservation management to help boost species with declining numbers. These declining numbers could be due to many factors such as pollution levels deterring animals or disruptions to the food chains and food webs. Solutions to declining numbers in favorable species include adjusting conditions to help attract more or providing the species with a suitable location to breed. The natterjack toad is one of the UK’s native amphibian species and is endangered due to damage and loss of habitat. The RSPB in Sandy, Bedfordshire created new shallow sandy, heathland pools to help increase the number of natterjack toads. “RSPB wardens and volunteers counted more than 300 of the thumbnail-sized amphibians emerging from the pools at the RSPB’s nature reserve at The Lodge, in Bedfordshire.” (Rupert 2017)
Zoos, botanical gardens, and seed banks play a major role in the conservation and preservation of genetic diversity. Zoos undergo projects which help with the conservations of species that are endangered. In 1992 Toronto zoo have been involved in recovery programs for the black-footed ferret, once thought to be extinct. Thirty-four were released into the wild through the program in 2009. Some may argue that animals bred in captivity will never behave the same way that they would in the wild caretakers try there hardest to recreate these animals natural habitat but it will never compare to the wild ecosystem in which they originate from. 20% of plant diversity is under threat to becoming extinct. Botanical gardens contain 33.3% of all known plant species, 41% of those are considered endangered. (Lewsey 2017) Botanical use seed banks to educate and conserve plant species under threat and to preserve genetic diversity. Seed banks are also useful for storing many species of plants in limited amounts of space. Seeds are collected to protect species with conservation.
Some organizations whether they are commercial, commercial or charity contribute towards the conservation and protection of sites with ecological importance. The body shop is a commercial organization actively involved with protecting and conserving the environment. A small proportion of each sale made in-store or online is donated toward the World Land Trust. The World Land Trust help restore land in the Garo hills in India and the Khe Nuoc forest in Vietnam. The body shop only uses natural materials sourced from sustainable locations to reduce the ecological footprint that they leave on the planet. The main negative aspect that comes from using natural ingredients is products may become expensive therefore attracting a smaller following. Government organizations such as Natural England (sponsored by DEFRA) are in place to help set policies to protect England’s nature and wildlife. In 2017 “Natural England has confirmed the designation of the Mid Cornwall Moors as a Site of Special Scientific Interest” Natural England (2017) meaning the area now has legal protection for its wilderness and the species that inhabit it. Natural England also works alongside local organizations and landowners to conserve the landscape Cornwall and other sites across England. WWF is a Charity organization, it is the largest conservation organization and has over five million supporters in over 100 countries. They conserve and reduce the most pressing threats to the biodiversity on this planet and have projects in areas such as food, Climate, fresh water, wildlife, forests, and oceans. One of the major challenges the WWF face is urbanization. It is estimated by 2050 than 70% of humanity will live in urbanized cities. Whilst this may not seem like must of an issue Humanity’s ecological footprint already exceeds the planet’s carrying capacity. This can be seen in the decline of biodiversity.
Yellowstone National Park is the largest national park located in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. It covers an area of 3468.4 square miles and is home to hundreds of different species, some of which are endangered. One of the major threats to Yellowstone is mining, north of the national park a large mining operation for gold and coal takes place daily. Pollution from this operation is then being washed downstream affecting the wildlife and wilderness that inhabit it. Yellowstone businesses are fighting for a ban on mining for natural resources around the park to reduce the amount of pollution. Another issue faced by species inhabiting Yellowstone is tourism, because of tourism the roads surrounding and going through Yellowstone are regularly backed up with traffic during peak seasons. Tourists have also been known to feed wildlife. Feeding animals human food is dangerous for the animal and also illegal. Means to prevent feeding of wild animals include the placing of signs stating not to feed animals and the dangers of feeding the animals are available for anybody to read on the Yellowstone website.
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