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close this bookGATE - 3/90 - Conservation of Natural Resource (GTZ GATE, 1990, 36 p.)
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Conservation of Nature

In many of the world's regions natural landscapes which were hitherto untouched or hardly utilized are now being developed and cultivated on a dangerous scale. Every year, as tropical forests, humid zones, ecologically intact steppes and savannahs are destroyed, up to 17,000 species of flora and fauna disappear for ever

As a result, not only are valuable genetic resources lost which can also provide a basis for higher agricultural yields, many pharmaceuticals and other products. Also, the rising demand for land an,i energy, and the wasteful explcitation exploitation raw materials and natural resources which goes hand in hand with economic development is, in many regions, en,iangering the balance that has hitherto existed between the flora an,i fauna on the one hand and the indigenous population on the other. The basis of these people's existence is thus being destroyed.

The search for environmentally compatible systems of utilizing natural resources is therefore becoming ever more important as a development task.

Some natural zones and biotopes, characterized by a particularly wide variety of species, ecological interrelationships or other pecu-liarities, can only be preserved by being fully protected. This requires not only unequivocal statutory provisions, but also an administrative capability to enforce them. Often, however, developing countries lack the necessary personnel and finances.

This is why approaches which combine protection of natural resources with long-term ecologically responsible use of them are often more promising. To achieve this it is necessary for the population to realize how much their existence depends on the preservation of environments which deserve to be protected, such as rain forests or savannah landscapes rich in wildlife.

Possible methods include, for example, establishing and assisting touristically interesting national parks and other protected areas; supporting wildlife husbandry programmes; or introducing and/or developing lasting forms of biotope utilization, e.g. apiculture and harvesting resin, rubber, medicinal plants and other forest products. Programmes of this kind are often accompanied by measures to develop the surrounding regions, as a means of reducing the pressure exerted by the population on the protected areas.

While in the past only a few developing countries were interested in nature conservation projects, increasing importance is now being attached to these tasks.