21.4) Conservation

21.4) Conservation


Sustainable resource: is one that is produced as rapidly as it is removed from the environment so that it does not run out.

Sustainable development: is development providing for the needs of an increasing human population without harming the environment.


Non-renewable resources such as fossil fuels need to be conserved because the stocks of them on the planet are finite.

It can be conserved in the following ways:

  • By increasing the use of renewable energy (wind energy, solar energy, hydroelectric power).
  • By improving the efficiency of energy use (better insulation, smaller car engines, more public transport).


Sustaining forest and fish stocks:

  • Some resources, such as forests and fish stocks can be maintained with careful management.
  • This may involve replant land with new seedlings as mature trees are felled and controlling the activities of fishermen operating where fish stocks are being depleted.
  • There are three main ways of sustaining the numbers of key species. These are:

1) Education

  • Local communities need to be educated about the need for conservation. One they understand its importance, the environment they live in is more likely to be cared for and the species in it protected.

2) Legal quotas

  • In Europe the Common Fisheries Policy is used to set quotas for fishing, to manage fish stocks and help protect species that were becoming endangered through overfishing.
  • Quotas were set for each species of fish taken commercially and also for the size f fish. This was to allow fish to reach breeding age and maintain or increase their populations.

3) Restocking

  • Where populations of a fish species are in decline, their numbers may be conserved by a restocking programme.
  • This involves breeding fish in captivity, then releasing them into the wild.
  • However, the reasons for the decline in numbers need to be identified first.
  • if pollution was the cause of the decline, the restocked fish will die as well, issue of pollution needs to be addressed first.



  • Products such as paper, glass, plastic and metal can be reused or recycled.


Sewage treatment:

  • Microorganisms, mainly bacteria and protoctista, play an essential part in the treatment of sewage to make it harmless.
  • Sewage contains bacteria from the human intestine that can be harmful.
  • These bacteria must be destroyed in order to prevent the spread of intestinal diseases.
  • Sewage also contain substances such as soap and detergent from household wastes and chemicals from factories. These too must be removed before the sewage effluent is released into the rivers.
  • Inland towns have to make their sewage harmless in a sewage treatment plant before discharging the effluent into rivers.
  • A sewage works removes solid and liquid waste from the sewage, so that the water leaving the works is safe to drink.
  • In a large town, the main method of sewage treatment is by the activated sludge process.


Sustainable development:

  • This is a complex process, requiring the management of conflicting demands. As the world’s population grows, so does the demand for the extraction of resources from the environment.
  • However, this needs to be carried out in a controlled way to prevent environmental damage and strategies need to be put in place to ensure habitats and species diversity are not threatened.
  • Planning the removal of resources need to be done at local, national and international levels.
  • This is to make sure that everyone involved with the process is aware of the potential consequences of the process on the environment, and that appropriate strategies are put in place, and adhered to, to minimise any risk.


Endangering species and causing their extinction:

  • Anything that reduces the population of a species endangers it (puts it at risk of extinction).


Climate change:

  • This is a natural, uncontrollable process, but processes like global warming are made worse by human activity.


Habitat destruction:

  • Can be caused by a number of things – pollution biggest factor, fishing activity and dredging ships.
  • Lead to destruction of habitats leaving species homeless.



  • Global warming caused by pollution leading to rapid changes in climate in certain.
  • As a result the conditions will change, causing the environment to change and the species being no longer suited to it and struggle to survive.
  • Eg polar bear – arctic ice melting – cannot swim very well.


Introduced species:

  • Some species of animal are not introduced deliberately into different ecosystem, but find they way in due to man’s activities and then upset food chains.



  • Extreme hunting species of animals can cause extinction.


Conservation programmes:

  • If the population of a species drop, the range of variation within the species drops, making it less able to adapt to environmental change.
  • The species could, therefore, be threatened with extinction.
  • When animal populations fall, there is less chance of individuals finding each other to mate.


Habitats can be conserved in a number of ways:

  • Using laws to protect the habitat.
  • Using wardens to protect the habitat.
  • Reducing or controlling public access to the habitat.
  • Controlling factors, such as water drainage and grazing, that may otherwise contribute to destruction of the habitat.
  • Monitoring and protecting species and habitats.
  • Captive breeding and reintroductions – possible to boost a species numbers by breeding in captivity and releasing the animals back into the environment.
  • Seed banks – way of protecting plant species from extinction. They include seed from food crops and rare species. They act as gene banks.


Reasons for conservation programmes (CP – not pokemongo related, word just too long cbf writing it):

Reducing extinction:

  • CP strive to prevent extinction. Once a species become extinct its genes are lost forever.
  • So we are also likely to deprive the world of genetic resources.
  • The chances are that we will deprive ourselves not only of the beauty and diversity of species but also of potential sources of valuable products such as drugs.


Protecting vulnerable environments:

  • CP are often set up to protect threatened habitats so that rare species living there are not endangered.

Maintaining ecosystem functions:

  • There is a danger of destabilising food chains of a single species in that food chain is removed.
  • Crops are grown for food, extraction of drugs and the manufacture of fuel.
  • Crop growth has major impacts in ecosystems, causing the extinction of many species and reducing the gene pool.
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