CHAPTER 8: BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION (Conservation of Genetic Diversity…
CHAPTER 8: BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION
Important for intergenerational equity
In conservation planning, it is important to consider these 4 levels:
Genetic, Population, Species and Ecosystem
Conservation of Genetic Diversity
Important because species with low gene diversity are less able to respond to changes in the environment
Measured in alleles which record variation of morphology(appearance) of individual species or population
Downside: very little info available on level of genetic variation within species.
Hence morphology predominantly used due to the expression of genes
However organisms with similar morphology may differ in genetic makeup (genotype). And organisms with different appearances may be genetically similar.
Conservation of Population Diversity
: A group of organisms of the same species living within a particular area.
Populations are separated from one another geographically which restricts gene flow between populations
Genetic composition vary as each population adapts to their environment
the extent of difference determines by how isolated they are, difference in environment and the length of time separated
Conservation of Species Diversity
The species is the basic unit of most conservation programs.
: a group of individuals that actually or potentially interbreed with one another and produce fertile offspring. (does not include organisms that don't reproduce sexually- they are defined by their morphological characteristics or their habitat range.)
Conservation of Ecosystem Diversity
Variety of ecosystems in a given place.
Conservation at the landscape level is critical to conserve biodiversity. Enabling protection of a representative array of interacting ecosystems and their associated species and genetic diversity
Difference ecosystems support different ecological processes and provide different environmental services.
The greater the number and types of ecosystems present in the biosphere, the more resilient the environment and the more likely that its processes will continue to provide the essential services needed to support all life on Earth.
The Precautionary Principle
We should not allow anything to happen that could lead to the irreversible loss of biological resources through ignorance of the impact or because we think that a resource is of no value.
Our responsibility to future generations implies that we need to maintain our biological resources because of their potential future use and intrinsic value.
Included in a variety of treaties and agreements. Eg the Australian Intergovernmental Agreement on the Environmental(1992)
Measuring changes in biodiversity
• the measures of ecosystem diversity including the number of different ecosystems in a biosphere and the variety of ecological processes that occur in different physical settings
• assessment of genetic diversity through variations in morphology as an indicator of genetic make-up of individuals within a species
• sustainability principles relevant to biodiversity conservation including: inter- and intra-generational equity including funding of selected species; the precautionary principle in relation to habitat change or introduction of species; ethical principles for managing biodiversity including justice and beneficence; and value systems including anthropocentrism, biocentrism and ecocentrism.