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How to Conserve Biodiversity: Exploring Some Principles and Strategies

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About this sample

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Words: 2102 |

Pages: 5|

11 min read

Published: Aug 14, 2023

Words: 2102|Pages: 5|11 min read

Published: Aug 14, 2023

Table of contents

  1. Brief Background: Definition and Siglificance
  2. Threats to Biodiversity and Conservation Strategies
  3. Nowadays Threats to Biodiversity
  4. Possible Conservation Strategies
  5. Conclusion
  6. References

This essay aims to present the general threats of how to conserve biodiversity as well as strategies that are currently implemented across the globe. A million species of both plants and animals are threatened with extinction. Almost all the threats such as over-exploitation and urbanization are human-induced and/or occurring because of intrusions and interventions made by humans on the existing natural ecosystems. Thus, humans should take actions to save these species. Conservation strategies for biodiversity must be further implemented to protect and safeguard existing ecosystems, to promote sustainable ways of handling and/or using biological resources and to raise the humanity’s environmental awareness.

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Brief Background: Definition and Siglificance

Biodiversity is first defined as the number of species. But then, as time went by scientists - especially biologists - realized that this particular definition is limiting since this term is not just about the species. Later on a more comprehensive definition for the term was used: this is a characteristic of an area which specifically denotes the variety within and among living organisms, groups of living organisms and both naturally occurring and human-modified biotic processes and communities; it can be quantified based on genetic diversity as well as in terms of the number of the different types of the species, groups of the said species, both biotic processes and communities, and the abundance and/or its structures; Lastly, it is measured in any spatial scale that ranges from microsites to the entire biosphere. Although the said definition is generalized, scientists still believe that it could still change over time as the current knowledge, ideas, technologies, and resources for measuring biodiversity develops. Lastly, there is a need for accuracy and precision in defining this term since both the efficiency and effectivity of future policies/programs depends highly in the said definition.

Biodiversity is probably the most significant and the most complex characterization of the world. It describes the abundance and the variety of life on earth. To generalize its significance, the major roles of biodiversity include ecosystem productivity, ecological stability, and economic importance. In terms of ecosystem productivity, a higher biodiversity means higher productivity. Each species in a community is given a specific task and thus, productivity is strengthened as biodiversity increases. This is useful to humans since higher production rates in ecosystems is directly proportional to the biological resources that humans can have like food, pharmaceutical drugs, and medicinal resources. On the other hand, for ecological stability, as mentioned, each species has a specific role in its community. Aside from increasing production rates, this particular feature also helps in sustaining the balance of the community. If a certain community suffered a loss of a particular species, instability will occur. But, if the said community possesses high biodiversity rate, the sustainability of the community is also higher. Thus, lesser time is needed for the balance to come back again. Lastly, in terms of economic importance, since there is higher production, then the biological resources for product manufacturing will also increase. A higher reservoir of resources will eventually result to higher economic outputs as manufacturing of cosmetics, food, and pharmaceuticals prospers. This is also of economic importance since higher biodiversity means higher production of resources for human food such as crops, fisheries, and livestock.

Threats to Biodiversity and Conservation Strategies

In this paper, general threats to biodiversity as well as biodiversity conservation strategies will be presented. This synthesis will include two papers which were published last 2016 and 2017. Both papers discussed the same topic based on two perspectives: local and worldwide. In the 2016 study, the generalization is based on the global status of biodiversity and the actions being done. On the other hand, the 2017 paper made a generalization based on the biodiversity status and current actions of India.

Last May 2019, after multiple sessions, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) released its first ever worldwide assessment report. This is a compilation that contains the changes that the Earth went through after five (5) decades. It is compiled by 145 primary authors and 310 contributing authors from 50 countries. According to this report, an estimate of a million species are threatened with extinction and that the average abundance of native species in most land habitats decreased by at least 20% since 1900. Some of the significant findings in the report also include human alteration of 75% of the natural land habitats and 66% of the natural marine habitats; 33% of most land surface and 75% of freshwater resources are now used for crop and livestock production; plastic pollution is continuously growing; most biological resources are harvested at unsustainable levels; and until 2050, a negative trend will be experienced by nature due to human intervention. In line with this, it is important for humanity to know the threats to biodiversity as well as biodiversity conservation strategies to help nature cope with its current situation.

Nowadays Threats to Biodiversity

A threat is defined as any natural or human-induced process or occurrence that can possibly cause adverse effects in either the current status or sustainable use of a component of biological diversity. In both papers, numerous threats are stated. They presented similar threats and some unique threats. Similar threats include climate change, habitat alteration and destruction, pollution, species invasions, over-exploitation, and human population increase. On the other hand, institutional/policy failure is a unique threat presented by the 2016 paper while the 2017 paper included unique threats such as transportation and service corridors and geological events.

As mentioned earlier, human intrusions and disturbances are causing a lot of habitat alteration and destruction. This is considered a major threat since it reduces the biodiversity by altering and destroying existing natural habitats. Some recreational activities, war/civil unrest, clearing of forests for agricultural purposes, and harvesting resources for industrial production and urbanization are considered under this threat. Pollutions, both organic and inorganic pollutants that affect either terrestrial or marine ecosystems, are also categorized as a threat. These include household sewage and urban waste, both waterborne and airborne pollutants from industries, garbage and solid wastes, and excess energy such as heat and sound that can disturb species. Invasive species are also considered as a threat if they cause either direct or indirect harmful effects. Either intentional or accidental introduction of invasive species are considered under this threat and are termed as biological pollutants. Climate change is also considered a threat since it is causing instability on species reproduction and distribution, population size, and migration events. Global warming is considered as the main issue in climate change since this can naturally alter and shift habitats, start droughts and temperature extremes, and storms and floods. In addition, this is considered as one of the major threats since it can cause mass extinction. Over-exploitation is considered a threat since biological resources are being deliberately or unintentionally harvested in a rate that the natural reproductive capacity cannot handle. Hunting and collection of terrestrial and marine animals, gathering of terrestrial and marine plants, logging, and mining and energy production are included in this threat. Lastly, human population increase is also considered a major threat since increase of demand in biological resources causes great impact on biodiversity as an entirety. This include urbanization such as residential and industrial development.

On the 2016 paper, institutional/policy failure is included. This is rooted on the idea that although governments and organizations implement a lot of laws to prevent major threats, the said laws are not that followed or not implemented well. This needs to be considered since almost all threats are human-induced. As for the 2017 paper, it included two unique threats: transportation and service corridors and geological events. The first threat is derived from service corridors such as roads and railways, shipping lanes, and flight paths that causes disturbances and destruction of natural habitats. Lastly, geological events include volcanic activities, earthquakes, avalanches, landslides, and tsunamis. These are catastrophic events that causes alteration and destruction of different ecologies.

Possible Conservation Strategies

Most factors that threaten biodiversity can cause extinction of numerous species. Biodiversity is significant to humanity and if it continues to deteriorate throughout the years, then humanity will suffer and may undergo its own extinction. After all, humans are also species of Earth. In line with this, humans are implementing conservation strategies that aims to extinguish the current threats, reduce pressures on biodiversity, promote more sustainable ways in handling biological resources, safeguard existing ecosystems, and enhance the implementation of some laws for biodiversity conservation. Both papers presented similar strategies such as in-situ conservation, ex-situ conservation, and education and increasing of awareness.

In-situ conservation is a conservation strategy that aims to protect species inside their natural habitats or within a protected area. With this set-up, groups of species are maintained and recovered in their natural surroundings. Under this strategy is the construction of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. These areas are given statutory legal protections that prohibits human interference and exploitation of natural resources. Thus, humans are not allowed to enter these protected areas unless the law permits them to. In the current time, there are at least 3,000 national parks around the globe. Another example under this type of conservation is the creation of biosphere reserves. This is a concept first presented by United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). An area will be divided into three zones: core zone, buffer zone, and the transition zone. The core zone is a fully protected natural area under legal protections wherein human interventions are kept minimal. The buffer zone will surround the core zone. This area is intended for education and research on the key resources found in the core zone. Lastly, the transition zone is the outermost region of the biosphere reserve. In this area, local people are found. In addition, human recreational activities are encouraged if they are harmonious to the conservation purposes. In present time, there are 651 biosphere reserves located in 120 countries.

On the other hand, ex-situ conservation is a strategy where animals and plants are conserved outside their natural habitats. This strategy is mostly conducted to safeguard species which are near extinction. Botanical gardens are prime examples of this strategy. In this place, plants are grown and displayed for research and educational purposes. This strategy aims to conserve and propagate plant species that are significantly threatened as well as to increase the public awareness on plant conservation. Zoological parks are almost similar as botanical gardens but instead of plants, animals are conserved, bred, and displayed for the public. These includes zoos, safari parks, aviaries, butterfly zoos, animal-themed parks, and reptile centers. For further conservation of plant and animal species which are extremely threatened, gene banks and cryopreservation are prescribed. In these strategies, the cells, living tissues, seeds, and DNA materials of threatened species are conserved and preserved. The said samples are placed under low temperatures to suspend their mitotic and metabolic activities which eventually preserve the samples. Lastly, education and increasing public environmental awareness is probably one of the best and simplest strategy for biodiversity conservation. In this strategy, environmental awareness is increased by providing information through various media such as publishing, television, seminars, and through blogs in the web. This strategy aims to increase not just the awareness but the knowledge, skills, and behavior of humans.

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Conclusion

As inhabitants of Earth, humans have a huge responsibility in ensuring the conservation of its biological diversity. Biodiversity is significant to human existence since it is considered as the backbone of the biological resources they need and use in their day-to-day lives. In addition, most threats that gradually reduces the planet’s biodiversity such as climate change, urbanization, and over-exploitation are human-induced. After numerous decades of degrading the environment, a million species are pushed to near extinction and it is our and it is our responsibility to somehow lessen this negative trend. Different conservation strategies are conducted worldwide which aims reduce the dangers of the threats of biodiversity, promote more sustainable ways of handling biological resources, and to enhance existing implemented conservation laws. Lastly, education and increasing public awareness is the simplest but the best way that humans can help sustain its biological diversity.

References

  • Australia: State of the Environment Report. (2016). Importance of biodiversity. Retrieved April 14, 2020, from Australia: State of the Environment Report: https://soe.environment.gov.au/theme/biodiversity/topic/2016/importance-biodiversity
  • IPBES. (2019, May). Natures Dangerous Decline Unprecedented Species Extinction Rates Accelerating. Retrieved April 14, 2020, from Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES): https://ipbes.net/news/media-release-global-assessment
  • Rawat, U., & Agarwal, N. (2016, February 18). Biodiversity: concept threats and conservation. Retrieved April 14, 2020, from Researchgate: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/294876262
  • Singh, S., Sharma, M., & Pandey A. (2017, June 2). Biodiversity-threats and conservation. Retrieved April 14, 2020, from Researchgate: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/317313069
  • Swingland, I. (2018, November 14). Biodiversity definition of. Retrieved April 14, 2020, from Researchgate: https://www.researchgate.net/
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How to Conserve Biodiversity: Exploring Some Principles and Strategies. (2023, August 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 18, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/how-to-conserve-biodiversity-exploring-some-principles-and-strategies/
“How to Conserve Biodiversity: Exploring Some Principles and Strategies.” GradesFixer, 14 Aug. 2023, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/how-to-conserve-biodiversity-exploring-some-principles-and-strategies/
How to Conserve Biodiversity: Exploring Some Principles and Strategies. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/how-to-conserve-biodiversity-exploring-some-principles-and-strategies/> [Accessed 18 May 2024].
How to Conserve Biodiversity: Exploring Some Principles and Strategies [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2023 Aug 14 [cited 2024 May 18]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/how-to-conserve-biodiversity-exploring-some-principles-and-strategies/
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