Is True Biodiversity Conservation A Real Goal?

Biodiversity conservation is one of the most important issues we face today. If we do not take steps to prevent further losses of our natural resources, we will not be able to sustain life as we know it.

Given the importance of biodiversity conservation, it would seem that every government on the planet would have it on their list of top issues. Many do, but biodiversity conservation does not come cheap. In addition to conserving resources going forward, which involves things like reengineering projects to minimize negative impacts on the biodiversity of a region, there is the astronomically expensive prospect of repairing damage done to regions over centuries; damage done by both humans and nature itself.

Further, people often think you cannot have biodiversity conservation and development at the same time. They are not aware that the two can go hand in hand, and create a better environment for all.

For example, industrial development, agriculture, and urban development threaten the biodiversity of the Florida Everglades by changing not only the distribution, quantity, and timing of the water flow, but by changing its nutrient levels, specifically the levels of phosphorus. This caused an influx of algae, led to a loss of marshland to sustain varying flora and fauna, and the species of plants and animals that had been living on that marshland. It also led to an influx of non-native (exotic) plants, like Melaleucca and Brazilian pepper. Part of the solution to this particular biodiversity issue is to acquire land to recreate flood plains and to reclaim land being used by agribusiness and return it to as close to its original state as possible. Neither of these actions are cheap.

It takes participation at all levels of society to enact and continue biodiversity conservation, and this is often problematic because each group of people has its own agenda.

Another problem is that, given the scale of the problem in each biodiversity hotspot, technical knowledge may be the easiest thing to acquire. The greater challenge to those wanting to fix the problems may very well be acquiring and continuing support and funding from both individuals and agencies, and creating the political will to address these situations. Areas involving private land and resources will further need consultation and negotiation to create and sustain shared resource management goals, and ways of carry outing and monitoring them, or necessitate land land acquisitions by the overarching management institution by federal and state governments. This makes the task of biodiversity conservation even more cumbersome.

If, however, individuals, corporations, and governments do not begin to act together to carry out biodiversity conservation, the planet as a whole will lose.