University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Conservation of Biodiversity
4.3.1 State the arguments for preserving species and habitats.
Why conserve biodiversity? The values of biodiversity can be classified as either direct values or indirect values (see pp.119-120 in the IB ESS Course Companion): • Direct values – can be (relatively) easily calculated
• goods harvested & destroyed for consumption (eating) or sale in a market • generally physical commodities of some sort
• private goods – value accrues to the owner of the resource
• food sources (‘heirloom varieties’ of many crops, i.e. corn/maize) • natural products (medicines, textiles, fertilizers, pesticides, etc)
• Indirect values – more difficult to calculate
• stabilize ecosystems (negative feedback cycles)
• provide benefits but are not generally harvested/destroyed/sold
• usually services or processes which benefit everyone
• public goods – value accrues to society instead of individuals
• ecosystem productivity (a.k.a. ecosystem services) i.e. soil aeration, pollination, fertilization, carbon sequestration, oxygen production ,climate regulation, etc
• scientific or educational value
• biological control (another example of negative feedback)
• gene sources
• environmental monitors
• recreation and ecotourism
• human health – possible future medical applications
• rights of indigenous peoples
• intrinsic (ethical) value – biorights
4.3.2 Compare and contrast the role and activities of intergovernmental and non‑governmental organizations in preserving and restoring ecosystems and biodiversity.
There are 2 main approaches to conserving biodiversity around the world: conservation biology and preservation biology. • conservation biology – sustainable use and management of resources; humans are a part of the picture and their needs are also taken into consideration • preservation biology – excludes humans and human needs from conservation efforts; conservation based on biorights
How conservation organizations work: For a comparison of the work of GO’s and NGO’s, see Table 6.1 at the bottom of page 122 in your IB ESS Course Companion. It is important to understand how these agencies use media, enforce laws, respond to the issues, and work within the political/diplomatic constraints imposed by different governments around the world.
• government organizations (GO’s) –
• part or branch of a national, state, department, or local government
• ultimately responsible to the voter
• have the authority to prosecute violations of regulations within their jurisdiction
• examples: Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of Agriculture, Eaux et Forets (Water and Forests), and other branches of local and national government agencies
• intergovernmental organizations (IGO’s) –
• generally a part of multi-national organizations, especially the United Nations
• most agreements are not legally binding under international law, but each signatory country is responsible for legislating and regulating conservation efforts within their own territory
• the UN and other IGO’s
• Examples: UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme), CITES, IPCC (Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change) • non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) –
• work independently from governments to protect threatened species and areas • frequently form partnerships with GO’s and IGO’s to more effectively reach their targeted goals • Examples: WWF, Greenpeace, and too many others to list here. For a brief summary, visit this Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_environmental_organizations
4.3.3 State and explain the criteria used to design protected areas.
Be familiar with the idea of island biogeography: “Two eminent ecologists, the late Robert MacArthur of Princeton University and E. 0. Wilson of Harvard…proposed that the number of species on any island reflects a balance between the rate at which new species colonize it and the rate at which populations of established species become extinct.” (For a complete explanation, visit http://www.stanford.edu/group/stanfordbirds/text/essays/Island_Biogeography.html)
Essentially, protected areas can be thought of as islands within the surrounding landscape. The success and effectiveness of protected areas depends on several factors: 1. size – larger space allows for larger populations and gene pools, and a wider variety of species 2. shape – round is better than all other shapes because it reduces the edge effect 3. edge effects – less edge is better; edge creates differences in the structure of an ecosystem, called an ecotone (an area where 2 habitats meet), which influences what may successfully live there. 4. corridors – provide safe passage between protected areas 5. proximity – if protected areas are close to other protected areas, they are more effective than isolated islands
The above points are effectively outlined and explained in Figure 6.6 and on pages 128-129 of the IB ESS Course Companion.
4.3.4 Evaluate the success of a named protected area.
Evaluate the success of these case studies from the IB ESS Course Companion, as well as at least one local example from India. For each case study, be able to outline and discuss responses to the following questions:
A. Which species is the area designed to protect?
B. Why is/are the species threatened?
C. How and why has the protected area been successful?
D. What are the weaknesses (and their causes) of the protected area?
E. Describe how the criteria used to design protected areas have influenced the success of each case study.
1. Royal Chitwan National Park, Nepal
2. Sichuan Giant Panda sanctuaries, China
3. Sepilok Orang Utan Centre, Malaysia
4. Yosemite National park, USA
5. Serengeti National Park, TZ
6. Gir wildlife Sanctuary
7. Ranthambore National Park
8. Corbet National park
9. Kaziranga National Park
4.3.5 Discuss and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the species-based approach to conservation.
CITES – intergovernmental agreement designed to protect species threatened by international trade; voluntary; each country is responsible for its own laws, territory, and enforcement