Biodiversity loss and why we need conservation
The earth’s resources are being lost at an unprecedented rate. Conservation is the crisis science that aims to save species, habitats and ecosystems from excessive rates of extinction. The current rate of extinction is estimated to be up to 100,000 times greater than the natural or ‘background’ rate. The driving force of this loss is the unsustainable rate of human exploitation of natural resources. The natural world is under too much strain from this extraction and cannot support this pressure.
We derive many direct and indirect benefits from the living world. Ecosystem services are essential biological functions that benefit humans. These resources include all our food, clothing fibres, many pharmaceutical drugs, and construction materials, to name but a few. Plants produce oxygen. Forests control the climate. Bees and birds pollinate plants. Do we realise what it is we depend on?
The natural world is also aesthetically pleasing to a lot of people. Nature has its own intrinsic value. Surely there is some ethical obligation for conserving biodiversity? One species could not have the right to cause the extinction of others.
We need sustainable management and planning in our use of the planet’s resources; management that is based on ethical and scientific reasoning. Monitoring of biodiversity loss and the threats species face is essential for conservation work.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature is one organisation that has been particularly essential in teh evaluation and monitoring of the conservation status of species through its associated IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™.
Deforestation and habitat loss -
The extinct Miss Waldron's Red Colobus