University of Bristol
Wellcome Trust
Recommended by:
Society of Biology
PEEP for Physics & Ethics at GCSE


Think ‘Global’ act ‘Local’

International Conservation

International biological conservation aims to maintain the quality of natural environments and their biological resources. (see biodiversity section)

  • An early conservation approach was to ‘exclusively’ preserve certain species e.g. the panda, but it was soon realised that this approach was flawed, as you cannot preserve the long term survival of an individual species without conserving and managing its habitat or ecosystem. 
     Hong Kong Society for Panda Preservation
  • Elephant conservation will not work unless there is sufficient appropriate habitat for its survival. Elephants are called ‘keystone species’, as so many other organisms depend on their activities.

Bushmeat in
West Africa

There is often a major conflict between conservationists and local communities, who may depend entirely on their local environment for survival.

  • To resolve this conflict, conservationists adopt the approach of ‘sustainable development’ of ecosystems.
  • This is a form of development which can continue indefinitely, as it exploits renewable resources with minimal damage to the environment and the organisms that live within it. The section on ‘enhancing biodiversity’ looks at this in more detail.
  • There are many important international conservation organisations. Some of these are run jointly by many countries whilst others are independent organisations known as NGO’s (non-governmental organisations).
  • In addition to these organisations, there have been many important international conferences and conventions which often tackle specific threats to the environment.


  1. Use the following table to summarise the work of some important international organisations. Present your findings by filling in the following table - go to the ‘printer friendly version’ which will give you a table with more space for your answers. Alternatively,  download a word document of this table.



Type of organisation (NGO?)

What does it aim to do?

(United Nations
Environment Programme)

UNEP United Nations Environment Programme logo



The World
Conservation Union

ICUN World Conservation Union  logo




CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) logo




World Wildlfe Fund logo




Greenpeace logo



  1. Use the following table to investigate the role of some important international conferences and conventions. Present your findings by completing the following table - go to the ‘printer friendly landscape version’, which will give you more space for your answers.  download a word document of this table.

Convention or Conference

What did it aim to achieve and did it succeed?

Montreal Protocol

Kyoto Protocol

Johannesburg Earth Summit 2002




 National Conservation


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