Topic 4.3 conservation of biodiversity


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Topic 4.3 conservation of biodiversity

  1. 1. Topic 4 Conservation and Biodiversity 4.3 Conservation of Biodiversity
  2. 2. Arguments for Conservation of Biodiversity • Nature has inherent value – e.g. aesthetic and cultural value • Many natural products have economic value – e.g. Forests provide timber and oportunities for ecotourism • Ecosystems provide free services to humans – e.g. Rainforests stabilise soil and the water cycle, sequester carbon and produce oxygen • Ecosystems conserve biodiversity • Undisturbed habitats are still home to many indiginous people
  3. 3. Arguments for Conservation of Biodiversity • Obvious reasons: – Timber – Drugs – Food stocks Conserving resources with financial value • Less obvious reasons: – – – – – – – Environmental indicators Scientific knowledge Education Genetic diversity Ecotourism Aesthetic value Human rights for indiginous peoples – The ethical responsibility of human stewardship
  4. 4. Questions 1. In which countries are indiginous rainforest peoples still found? 2. What are threats to these people? 3. In which ways do their views of the rainforest and its value differ from ours’? 4. What environmental services do rainforests provide? 5. What other reasons are there to conserve the rainforest?
  5. 5. Conservation Organisations • Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) – Greenpeace – World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) • Intergovernmental Organisations (IGOs) – United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) – United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) – International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) • Governmental Organisations (GOs) – National Departments of the Environment Not run, funded or influenced by national governments. Have no direct influence on national policy Established by international agreements. Have some influence over national governments, but also influenced by national politics Restricted by national politics, but important in bringing internatal conventions and laws into force
  6. 6. IGOs vs. NGOs IGOs NGOs Media Professional liason officers Slick news clips and press releases Advertise on popular TV Create public events Response Slow – rely on many countries reaching a consensus Rapid and regular Able to make own decisions Constraints Constrained by different legal requirements and diplomatic issues Generally unaffected by politics Activities may be illegal in certain situations Political Influence Big – have direct access to governments No direct political influence but may alter perceptions of the voting public Enforceability Directly influence international agreements and laws Rely on public pressure and have no legal authority
  7. 7. International Conventions on Conservation of Biodiversity • Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) – Published in 1973 – Driven by IUCN • World Conservation Strategy (WCS) – Published in 1980 – A collaboration of IUCN, UNEP and WWF • Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) – Established in 1992 at the Rio Earth Summit – Agenda 21 was the discussion which centred on biodiversity conservation and sustainable development
  8. 8. Criteria For Designing Protected Areas (in situ conservation) • Large area better than small • One large area better than several small ones • Close is better than isolated • Clumped better than spaced out to allow dispersion and recolonisation • Corridors preferable to no corridors to allow migration • Round is the best shape to reduce edge effects. Also makes the centre of the reserve less accessible to poachers
  9. 9. Criteria For Designing Protected Areas • Area – In general, larger reserves are better than smaller ones – Of course the size of reserves are affected by national politics or boarders (although many national parks do cross boarders) – The best indicator of the health of a population is its size – Many large reserves with similar habitats and large populations help guard against extinction
  10. 10. Criteria For Designing Protected Areas • Edge Effects – When we looked at islandisation we saw that biodiversity increases towards the centre of an island (fragment) – At the edges of a fragment there are more severe abiotic factors, such as wind, temperature variations, humidity etc. – Edges are also more subject to colonisation by alien species from outside the fragment
  11. 11. Criteria For Designing Protected Areas • Shape – Circular reserves have less circumference and therefore fewer edge effects – However, reserves are limited by the available land and are not generally designed
  12. 12. Criteria For Designing Protected Areas • Corridors – Many species are unable to cross between fragments (e.g. Ant Bird) – Advantages: Corridors allow movement of organisms to new habitats, gene flow, seasonal migration and help to prevent populations becoming too large in one area – Disadvantages: Corridors may reduce populations too much in one area. They may allow the spread of disease or alien species. The may allow poachers to move more easily in the reserve. If they are too narrow, they may become subject to severe edge effects themselves. They may cross land which present new dangers to migrating animals
  13. 13. Criteria For Designing Protected Areas • Buffer Zones – These are managed or undisturbed areas around a reserve that help to maintain disturbance from outside influences – It is generally a bad idea to allow cities or agriculture to encroach right to the edge of a park, but in some places this does occur Nairobi National Park, next to Nairobi City, Kenya
  14. 14. Criteria For Designing Protected Areas • Characteristics of a successful reserve: – Partially or completely funded and run by government – Attract many visitors (although ecotourism must be carfully controlled to avoid negative impacts) – All have management programmes (although human exclusion zones have been seen to work effectively) – All have high profile and popular animal species (eg. Orangutans , Bengal Tigers, Giant Pandas)
  15. 15. Evaluating the Success of a Protected Area (Case Study) • You should consider: – Which species is the area designed to protect? – Why is/are the species threatened? – How and why has the protected area been successful? – What are the weaknesses (and their causes) of the protected area? – How have the criteria used to design protected areas influenced the success of each one?
  16. 16. The Species-Based Approach to Conservation (The Role of Zoos) • Selecting species to conserve: – Better to conserve endangered species rather than those that are not – Different zoos have different areas of expertise – Can the zoo afford to support conservation projects? – Where is the zoo located and is this important in selecting which species it can help to conserve? – There should be dialogue between zoos to ensure they provide help to as many endangered species as possible
  17. 17. The Species-Based Approach to Conservation (The Role of Zoos) • In situ vs ex situ conservation: – Smaller species are easier to keep in zoos (ex situ) – Zoos should concentrate on species threatened due to anthropogenic factors rather than natural factors – Species facing habitat loss often have to be kept ex situ – The choice is often heavily influenced by local politics – Species facing disease should be kept ex situ where possible to ensure continuation of the population – The choice of species to be kept ex situ in zoos is often influenced by the attractiveness of species to the general public (zoos are businesses after all). Money raised by exhibiting attractive non-threatened species can be used to protect unattractive threatened species – Ex situ conservation should have the objectives of helping to conserve the same species in situ
  18. 18. The Species-Based Approach to Conservation (The Role of Zoos) • Managing animals in zoos (‘The 5 Freedoms’): 1. 2. 3. 4. Freedom from thirst, hunger and malnutrition Freedom from discomfort Freedom from pain, injury and disease Freedom to express normal behaviour (suitable space, facilities and company) 5. Freedom from fear, distress and boredom
  19. 19. The Species-Based Approach to Conservation (The Role of Zoos) • Managing breeding programmes in zoos: – Can choices of mates be allowed? – Expansion of the gene pool should be a consideration in choosing mates (genetic compatibility) – Artificial insemination is a possibility and gets around the problems of shipping animals – Birth control may have to be considered to prevent populations getting too big for the zoo to sustain – Females sometimes reject young, therefore keepers may have to take offspring from their mothers – Good design of enclosures encourages animals to mate
  20. 20. The Species-Based Approach to Conservation (The Role of Zoos) • Advantages – Education of the public – Increased scientific knowledge – Controlled environment allows us to protect animals – Makes genetic monitoring easier – Captive breeding has high reproductive success – Higher chance of offspring surviving to adulthood – Species can be held while ways to conserve their habitat are explored • Disadvantages – Animals in zoos always originate from individuals forcibly taken from their habitat – Captive populations have a small gene pool – Captive animals (and their offspring) may never be able to be reintroduced to the wild – There in an ethical argument against keeping animals in captivity for profit – Not all zoos take notice of the 5 freedoms, and sometimes become no better than circuses