How is biodiversity maintained nationally and globally?

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How is biodiversity maintained nationally and globally?

Biodiversity is a term given to the variety of life on Earth. It is the variety within and between all species of plants, animals and microorganisms and the ecosystems within which they live and interact. The greater the species richness and evenness in the area, the higher the biodiversity. Some human activities such as hunting for food, killing for protection, pollution, habitat destruction and killing competitors for our food has caused a loss in biodiversity.  The loss of one species reduces biodiversity, for instance habitats are often replaced with a crop of low diversity - monoculture (a crop of plants of a single species bred very similar) . The advantage of this it that it makes harvesting easier. The importance of genetic diversity is that it allows species to adapt to changes in the environment. If a species has a low genetic diversity, such problems like change in climate may occur. As humans have begun to spread over the world and increase, the rate of extinction of other species has risen dramatically. For example, the giant sloth and mammals 10000-14000 years ago were animals that were hunted for food.

There are two different ways of conserving biodiversity. Conservation in situ is where there are attempts to minimise human impact on the natural environment. It is possible to pass legislation to stop activities such as hunting, logging and clearing land for development and agriculture. However, it can be difficult to enforce it especially if the government is not in favour of it. For example the National Wildlife federation defends and strengthens the Endangered Species act, which provides an essential legal safety net to prevent the loss of plant and animal species to extinction. In the UK there are conservation reserves that maintain biodiversity. There are 14 national parks and over 6000 sites of special scientific interest.  Around 8,500 Protected areas exist throughout the world in 169 countries. This covers terrestrial ecosystems, which amounts to 5.2% of the Earth’s land surface. The World Conservation Union (IUCN) has a key role in promoting the establishment of protected areas throughout the world.  Since 1948, IUCN has developed standards and guidelines for PA management.  Protected areas have been established following the categories defined by the IUCN. 

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Conservation ex situ is the process of protecting an endangered species of plant or animal outside of its natural habitat. Some examples would be zoos, captive breeding, aquariums, Botanical gardens and gene banks. However, ex situ has not always been successful. For example the Hawaiian goose was practically extinct in the wild when 12 birds were taken into captivity and a population of 9000 was released back into the wild. The experiment failed because the original cause, rats, had not been eliminated. The rats eat the eggs and the nestlings of the geese. The Botanical garden are used to grow and display plants primarily for ...

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