Thursday, 19 April 2012

Why Conservation is Important For the Human Race

We normally think that conservation is all about keeping things natural, when in fact, very few places in the world have been left truly natural. Many conservation programmes try to focus on maintaining biodiversity. Biodiversity is the number and variety of living things in a certain habitat. Unfortunately, the rising human population can threaten biodiversity through:
- Over exploitation of wild animal populations for food, sport and commerce. These populations are usually harvested faster than they can replenish themselves.
- Non native species introduced to a habitat by humans, which can out compete native species and force them to extinction.
- Habitat disruption by building and pollution.

Many conservationists would argue that the threats described here make conservation essential. As many believe every species has its own rights to survive, and humans are ethically responsible to look after them. Although these arguments can be understood by other conservationists, they are subjective. The arguments in favour of these threatening activities are driven by economics. Therefore it is much wiser to express conservation in terms of economic value, making governments more likely to give priorities to conservation.

Many species have a direct economical value when harvested. Others may also have a direct value that is yet to be discovered and would be beneficial in the future. For example, the common drug aspirin, was originally derived from the bark of willow trees.
-Many species provide value as a food source, essential for human survival.
-Natural environments are a potential of extremely valuable future resources. Many of the drugs we use today were discovered in natural plant species.
-Natural predators of pests can act as biological control agents.

Many species also have indirect economical value, such as wild insect species that are responsible for pollinating crops. Without them, crops would not produce a large enough yeild and we would have potential food shortages not to mention the fate of farmers. Likewise, other species maintain water quality, protect soil and break down waste products. There is even new found evidence that a reduction in biodiversity may reduce climatic stability, resulting in drought or flooding and associated economic costs.

Tourism and recreation in natural habitats also have an economical and social value, deriving from the aesthetic value of the biodiversity. Ecotourism depends on maintenance of the biodiversity. There is even a significant industry involving natural history books, films and other media.

Although conservation involves management and reclamation, preservation can also help to maintain biodiversity from the major threats of an increasing human population. Preservation involves protecting areas from colonisation, ruling these zones 'no build', as yet untouched by humans.

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