Conservation of biodiversity

Conservation of biodiversity

he Foundation participated in the drafting process of what has now become an international treaty: the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) signed in Rio in 1992 by 168 countries. In principle, this treaty should enable humanity to conserve in the long term all forms of life on earth. In practice, the realization of this goal is not easy and every day that goes by a growing population of humanity, in its struggle for survival and battle for development, discards or destroys in complete indifference some of its living heritage. Unfortunately, extinction is forever. The obstacles to conserving biodiversity in its entirety lie at various levels: Shortsightedness: much of humanity's actions are driven by short term motivations; survival, politics, profit, all need quick solutions. Long-term research and planning usually lack funding, Misunderstanding: ecologists and economists speak different languages; as a result, when scientists claim that biodiversity is "invaluable", economists evaluate it at zero in national or international accounting. This error can lead to where an apparent growth in the GDP could in fact hide a loss of biodiversity. Ignorance : most species, particularly microorganisms, have not been inventoried, and the role they play in ecosystems is unknown to science, Even though the Foundation's main interest lies with large terrestrial mammals, it would have been senseless to try to conserve them, or reintroduce and rehabilitate them without ensuring that suitable habitats were available. How to motivate local people and decision-makers to conserve and enhance the value of natural habitats has therefore been a preoccupation of the Foundation since it was created. Twenty years ago, the Foundation started with demonstrating to Mongolia's government the economic value of wildlife through sport-hunting; recently, the same approach was followed by IGF to communicate that the revenue from mopane forest in Southern Africa could be doubled by developing the harvest of wild mopane silkworms. Only when the values of all products derived from wild fauna and flora - be it as meat, leather, medicinal or cosmetic ingredients - are added up can we prove that wild habitats can outcompete their transformation to impoverished "domesticated" ecosystems. Only if we take the time and have the will to enhance "wild" values per hectare, sustainably used, can we hope to conserve them in the long term.

 
 

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