Biological diversity: and wildlife conservation
What is biological diversity?
Biological diversity refers to the variety of life forms found
on earth, their genetic-constitution of the - ecosystem and ecological processes
of which they are a part. Biological diversity is usually considered at three
levels: genetic diversity, species diversity and ecosystem diversity.
Genetic diversity - refers to the sum total of heritable
traits/characteristics contained in the genes of each living organism. This
diversity is found within species and is the reason why no two individuals are
Species diversity - refers to all species of plants, animals and
microorganisms. This diversity refers to the variety of different species within
a given ecosystem.
Ecosystem diversity - refers to the variety of habitats, biotic'
communities and ecological processes, as well as to differences in habitat and
ecological processes found within each ecosystem. This diversity refers to
variation within and among ecosystems.
What are wildlife?
Wildlife are plants and animals found in their natural habitat
undisturbed by man or free from human' interference. They constitute flora
(plants) and fauna (animals) not domesticated and which are free-ranging in
their naturally associated habitats.
What is wildlife conservation?
Wildlife conservation is action to increase, maintain and
protect existing wildlife population for their economic, ecological; scientific,
educational and cultural importance. Wildlife conservation programs include the
enforcement of the regulation of trade on the Convention on International Trade
of Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna. This is achieved through the issuance
of permits in the exportation of wild flora and fauna and the enforcement of the
regulation against gathering and transporting wildlife- species.
Also included in this process is the capture, banding and
release of migratory birds as well as the monitoring of activities of wildlife
forms, petshops, nurseries and the status of wild plants.
Value and/or importance of biological diversity
Biological resources provide products which people depend on for
health and well-being.
· Economic value.
Many wildlife species offer high potentials for saving money and generating
income. Food, like fruits of trees, fishes, insects and snails, are sources of
· Biomedical value.
Many wildlife species are used for medical researches and formulation of
· Ecological value.
Wildlife plays an important role in the essential life processes that are
carried out by nature, Birds, for example, serve as excellent monitors for the
environment. 'The presence of certain birds can indicate the health of a given
ecosystem. But, if birds are declining in: number and fail to breed
successfully, the environment is unhealthy. Birds and insects help in the
pollination of flowers and seed dispersal, thus, keeping the environment healthy
and productive. Birds of prey keep clown to a desirable level the population of
pests and diseases harmful to agricultural crops.
Social and cultural
· Aesthetic and
recreational value. Wild plants and animals are sources of inspiration to
people, especially to photographers, artists and painters, because of their
beauty and wonder.
· Cultural value.
Many species of plants and animals are found only in the Philippines. This
serves as a source of identity and pride to most indigenous groups. They also
serve as a symbol of cultural and national heritage.
· Ethical value.
Many people attach feelings of sympathy, responsibility and concern towards
wildlife species and the environment. Many argue that all species have their own
intrinsic value and, therefore, right to exist.
What are the major threats' to biological diversify?
· Habitat loss or
conversion. Related to land use changes that involve great reduction in the area
of natural vegetation. This means reduction in the population of species with a
resulting loss to genetic diversity and an increase in vulnerability of species
and population to diseases, hunting and random population changes.
The exploitation of resources at an uncontrolled rate that cannot sustain the
natural reproductive capacity of the population being harvested.
· Pollution of air,
soil and water. This can lead to the destruction or death of ecosystems and
· Climatic changes.
Alterations in earth's atmosphere 'from human activities may lead to
unpredictable changes in climate.
species. Non-native species which have replaced the original species of certain
plants and animals. Some are responsible for the decline of certain wildlife due
to predation, acquired diseases or competition.
· Human population
increase. Given a limited resource base, increasing numbers of people result in
fewer resources per person and greater waste per unit