Conservation Of Biodiversity – Need Of Time

Posted by Dixit Ghanshyam
February 21, 2017

Self-Published

Conservation ?? What It Really Means
Conservation Means Saving Species and wildlife or we can say the entire wildlife around Us They Consist Of Vast Range Of Species Flora And Fauna Before we get to the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of the conservation we should try to understand the ‘why’, why should we conserve biodiversity?                                                                                                                                                        Biodiversity is the incredible variability of all living organisms that surrounds us, Our Society including all of the earth’s plants, animals, of the genes of all these organisms, their habitats and of the terrestrial, aquatic and marine ecosystems which they belong to. The reason to conserve it are aplenty and talking about them will be deviating from the topic but never the less it should be stated that our sustainable future is directly linked to our biodiversity, which is the life support system of our planet- we depend on it for the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat, and not to mention that it also has recreational, cultural, spiritual and aesthetic values attached to it.
Before we get to the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of the conservation we should try to understand the ‘why’, why should we conserve biodiversity?                                                                                                                                                        Biodiversity is the incredible variability of all living organisms that surrounds us, including all of the earth’s plants, animals, of the genes of all these organisms, their habitats and of the terrestrial, aquatic and marine ecosystems which they belong to. The reason to conserve it are aplenty and talking about them will be deviating from the topic but never the less it should be stated that our sustainable future is directly linked to our biodiversity, which is the life support system of our planet- we depend on it for the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat, and not to mention that it also has recreational, cultural, spiritual and aesthetic values attached to it.
We’re living in an age where there is a catastrophic decline in the Earth’s biodiversity and we need to accept and acknowledge that the resources currently devoted to conservation are not going to save every species out there. Conservationist have long had to admit that we can’t conserve everything on the planet because of various reasons like a lack of political will, funding or public support to do so. Hence, raising a basic question: How do we decide which species to save? We need to focus on what we want to conserve, a conservation goal is necessary for the efficient allocation of resources and its fundamental for the prioritisation and implementation of conservation action plans. Yet at the same time it should be ensured that the choices are broad enough so that the other species are not left out and their wellbeing is also taken into account.

In an ideal world, there would be enough money to save everything but in reality we’re faced with a growing list of species at imminent risk of extinction, habitat loss, uncertainty whether the investment will yield success or not and inadequate conservation budgets. Present practices categorise species into ‘threatened species’, ‘endangered species’, ‘ecologically important species’, ‘species useful to humans, ‘species with non-use value’ etc.  Or another method is to identify particular places in urgent need of help and so on. But slotting beings into such categories is in itself another difficult task where various factors come into play.
Conservationist with the help of economist or scientists may use algorithms and other analytical models to determine success rate or  a return on investment for trying to save an endangered species, for example if ‘x’ dollars are invested in breeding, looking after and ensuring survival of a certain species then how many ‘y’ will be saved. But apart from an economic perspective there are a host of other factors which determine where conservation efforts are targeted eventually, like public perception being one. How members of society feel about a particular flora or fauna which can be due to emotional psychological or other reasons.  A giant panda will generate more publicity and sympathy in minds of people than, for example, a rare species of spider or ants and it will certainly be easier to get funding from companies because of its economic value.
Norman Meyers, a British environmentalist, in the late ‘80s proposed his theory of protecting the maximum number of species by focusing on large land areas that contains high level of species diversity found nowhere else on the planet and are threatened with extinction as well. He called such places biodiversity hotspots and he, along with his colleagues, eventually identified 25 hotspots worldwide right from California to Madagascar and placed them on priority lists. The criteria Meyers used to define an area a hotspot was that the area must contain at least 0.5%, of the world’s plant species as endemics and has lost 70% or more of its primary vegetation.
The argument behind targeting hotspots is that by concentrating conservation efforts in these areas, an impact can be had on the maintenance of the remaining global biological diversity and that such area targeting approaches offer realistic and practical hope of maintaining a significant proportion of the world’s biological diversity.
Concentration of conservation efforts on limited set of areas of species richness and endemism ignores the large part of the world that is not within a hotspot, and the high proportion of species not present in such areas thus depriving them of the survival plan benefits. Another criticism associated with this approach is that it oversimplifies a global problem.
Optimal conservation will always be to save as many species, habitats and processes as possible, but due to the reason we discussed in the beginning paragraphs, it’s just not practical.                      Conservation triage is a controversial topic that has been gaining traction in the recent years. Controversial because it forces people to acknowledge that we don’t have enough resources to save all threatened species and we need to make choices to save species which have the best chance of recovery taking in mind the cost associated with it and the likelihood of success. It assists in allocating resources appropriately like, for example, If we have two endangered species of us, triage answers the question of how to efficiently spend money for the infront ir conservation. Advocates of triage in recent years have  proposed several ways to make such choices, with the aim of providing maximum bang for the buck ,some argue for prioritising species according to their role in the ecosystem, while some prioritise based on the unique job the species have to offer and whose own survival ensures the survival of many others. Values, biodiversity benefit and costs are some of the factors used to rank various species.                                                                                                 Making such decisions about targeting which species, area, how to allocate resources, using them judiciously are much more complex in reality. Some actions or initiatives that require funding may not contribute directly to a quantifiable benefit to in the near future, but it helps in setting stage for future long term conservation opportunities.
This approach, like the hotspot one, too has its fair share of criticism with majority of it directed towards it promoting a ‘defeatism’ attitude where a species is deemed too difficult or not practical to save. It typically highlights and acknowledges that given the present circumstance, extinctions are inevitable and having to choose between species we aim to conserve and the ones we let go.
In conclusion I would like to say that there were many approaches out there while I was researching for this topic but these two primarily caught my eye, for one conservation triage was something I had never heard of and biodiversity hotspot was something I only had a faint idea about so this helped me gain a little insight into these. And lastly, it may sound cynical to some and realistic to  others but we just cannot save every other endangered species out there and we should really develop methods in identifying the ones which not only are of value to us, but are also more likely to survive, so that we can aim towards implementing various strategies ensuring there conservation.
We’re living in an age where there is a catastrophic decline in the Earth’s biodiversity and we need to accept and acknowledge that the resources currently devoted to conservation are not going to save every species out there. Conservationist have long had to admit that we can’t conserve everything on the planet because of various reasons like a lack of political will, funding or public support to do so. Hence, raising a basic question: How do we decide which species to save? We need to focus on what we want to conserve, a conservation goal is necessary for the efficient allocation of resources and its fundamental for the prioritisation and implementation of conservation action plans. Yet at the same time it should be ensured that the choices are broad enough so that the other species are not left out and their wellbeing is also taken into account.
HOTTEST HOTSPOTS
The analysis so far has considered key factors: numbers of and endemic species/area ratios for both plants and vertebrates, and habitat loss. These factors do not carry endemics equal weight, so they cannot be combined into a single quantitative ranking. For comparative purposes in qualitative fashion, The leaders are Madagascar, the Philippines and Sundaland, appearing for all factors, followed by Brazil’s Atlantic Forest and the Caribbean, appearing for four. Three of these hotspots, Madagascar, the Philippines and the Caribbean, have small areas, which further highlights their importance.
In an ideal world, there would be enough money to save everything but in reality we’re faced with a growing list of species at imminent risk of extinction, habitat loss, uncertainty whether the investment will yield success or not and inadequate conservation budgets. Present practices categorise species into ‘threatened species’, ‘endangered species’, ‘ecologically important species’, ‘species useful to humans, ‘species with non-use value’ etc.  Or another method is to identify particular places in urgent need of help and so on. But slotting beings into such categories is in itself another difficult task where various factors come into play.
Conservationist with the help of economist or scientists may use algorithms and other analytical models to determine success rate or  a return on investment for trying to save an endangered species, for example if ‘x’ dollars are invested in breeding, looking after and ensuring survival of a certain species then how many ‘y’ will be saved. But apart from an economic perspective there are a host of other factors which determine where conservation efforts are targeted eventually, like public perception being one. How members of society feel about a particular flora or fauna which can be due to emotional psychological or other reasons.  A giant panda will generate more publicity and sympathy in minds of people than, for example, a rare species of spider or ants and it will certainly be easier to get funding from companies because of its economic value. People In The Worldwide Who Have Biodiversity In Their Surroundings Can Be Questioned How Much They Are Concerned Of Care For Their Surroundings Biodiversity How Much They Are Informed About Species Found There .
Norman Meyers, a British environmentalist, in the late ‘80s proposed his theory of protecting the maximum number of species by focusing on large land areas that contains high level of species diversity found nowhere else on the planet and are threatened with extinction as well. He called such places biodiversity hotspots and he, along with his colleagues, eventually identified 25 hotspots worldwide right from California to Madagascar and placed them on priority lists. The criteria Meyers used to define an area a hotspot was that the area must contain at least 0.5%, of the world’s plant species as endemics and has lost 70% or more of its primary vegetation.
The argument behind targeting hotspots is that by concentrating conservation efforts in these areas, an impact can be had on the maintenance of the remaining global biological diversity and that such area targeting approaches offer realistic and practical hope of maintaining a significant proportion of the world’s biological diversity.
Concentration of conservation efforts on limited set of areas of species richness and endemism ignores the large part of the world that is not within a hotspot, and the high proportion of species not present in such areas thus depriving them of the survival plan benefits. Another criticism associated with this approach is that it oversimplifies a global problem.
Optimal conservation will always be to save as many species, habitats and processes as possible, but due to the reason we discussed in the beginning paragraphs, it’s just not practical.  Conservation triage is a controversial topic that has been gaining traction in the recent years. Controversial because it forces people to acknowledge that we don’t have enough resources to save all threatened species and we need to make choices to save species which have the best chance of recovery taking in mind the cost associated with it and the likelihood of success. It assists in allocating resources appropriately like, for example, If we have two endangered species infront of us, triage answers the question of how to efficiently spend money for their conservation. Advocates of triage in recent years have  proposed several ways to make such choices, with the aim of providing maximum bang for  buck ,some argue for prioritising species according to their role in the ecosystem, while some prioritise based on the unique job the species have to offer and whose own survival ensures the survival of many others. Values, biodiversity benefit and costs are some of the factors used to rank various species.                                                                                                 Making such decisions about targeting which species, area, how to allocate resources, using them judiciously are much more complex in reality. Some actions or initiatives that require funding may not contribute directly to a quantifiable benefit to in the near future, but it helps in setting stage for future long term conservation opportunities.
This approach, like the hotspot one, too has its fair share of criticism with majority of it directed towards it promoting a ‘defeatism’ attitude where a species is deemed too difficult or not practical to save. It typically highlights and acknowledges that given the present circumstance, extinctions are inevitable and having to choose between species we aim to conserve and the ones we let go.
In conclusion I would like to say that there were many approaches out there while I was researching for this topic but these two primarily caught my eye, for one conservation triage was something I had never heard of and biodiversity hotspot was something I only had a faint idea about so this helped me gain a little insight into these. And lastly, it may sound cynical to some and realistic to  others but we just cannot save every other endangered species Present out there because we don’t have planned methods of their identification and we should really develop methods in identifying the ones which not only are of value to us, but are also more likely to survive, so that we can aim towards implementing various strategies ensuring there is urgent need of time.

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