Think ‘Global’ act ‘Local’
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.
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.