CIE Categories Archives: 18 Biodiversity, classification and conservation

Summary Biodiversity and conservation

3 There are moral and ethical reasons for maintaining biodiversity, and also more
practical ones. For example, we may be able to use plants to provide medicines, and
animals to provide alleles to use in animal breeding.
4 Species may become in danger of extinction through habitat loss, change to their
environment (perhaps as a result of pollution) and overexploitation by humans.
1875 Conservation of an endangered animal species may involve captive breeding
programmes, in which viable populations are built up in zoos and wildlife parks. These
programmes try to ensure that the gene pool is maintained and inbreeding is avoided. At
the same time, attempts are made to provide a suitable habitat in the wild, so that
captive-bred animals can eventually be re-released into the wild. Local people are
involved, because this increases acceptance of the project and the chances of its
6 Botanic gardens and seed banks help to conserve threatened plant species by
breeding them for reintroduction into an appropriate habitat. Seed banks provide
suitable conditions to keep different types of seeds alive for as long as possible.
Samples of the seeds are grown into adult plants every now and then, so that fresh seed
can be collected.
7 Many countries have protected areas called national parks, which often cover large
areas. These are set up to conserve rare and endangered species and to maintain their
habitats. Often legislation is passed to ensure their protection. In such areas, agriculture
is controlled and building, mining and other industries strictly regulated. Access is often
limited but not forbidden, as one aim of most such parks is to educate people about the
importance of conservation. 8 Other, smaller, conservation areas may be created to
protect particular species and habitats.





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