The Importance of Endangered Species in Our World

Topics: Endangered species, Biodiversity Action Plan, Conservation biology Pages: 6 (1642 words) Published: March 4, 2012
The Importance of Endangered species in our world

Importance of Endangered Species in our world

The term endangered is used by international and national organizations to define plants and animals currently in danger of becoming extinct. Although the term endangered is universally used, the definition of an endangered species is greatly varied. In most cases, the factors causing an organism to become endangered are human- related.

Geographic distribution data for endangered species in the United States were used to locate “hot spots” of threatened biodiversity. The hot spots for different species groups rarely overlap, except where anthropogenic activities reduce natural habitat in centers of endemism. Conserving endangered plant species maximizes the incidental protection of all other species groups. The presence of endangered birds and herptiles, however, provides a more sensitive indication of overall endangered biodiversity within any region. The amount of land that needs to be managed to protect currently endangered and threatened species in the United States is a relatively small proportion of the land mass. BODY

An endangered species is a population of animals which is at risk of becoming extinct because it is either few in numbers, or threatened by changing environmental or predation parameters. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has calculated the percentage of endangered species.

Many nations have laws offering protection to conservation reliant species: for example, forbidding hunting, restricting land development or creating preserves. Only a few of the many species at risk of extinction actually make it to the lists and obtain legal protection like Pandas. Many more species become extinct, or potentially will become extinct, without gaining public notice. The conservation status of a species is an indicator of the likelihood of that endangered species not living. Many factors are taken into account when assessing the conservation status of a species; not simply the number remaining, but the overall increase or decrease in the population over time, breeding success rates, known threats, and so on. Internationally, 199 countries have signed an accord agreeing to create Biodiversity Action Plans to protect endangered and other threatened species. In the United States this plan is usually called a species Recovery Plan. Before anthropogenic global warming species were subjected mainly to regional pressures, such as overhunting and habitat destruction. With the acceleration of anthropogenic global warming since the industrial revolution, climate change has begun to influence species safety. Nigel Stork, in the article “Re-assessing Extinction Rate” explains, “the key cause of extinction being climate change, and in particular rising temperatures, rather than deforestation alone.” Stork believes climate change is the major issue as to why species are becoming endangered. Stork claims rising temperature on a local and global level are making it harder for species to reproduce. As global warming continues, species are no longer able to survive and their kind starts to deteriorate. This is a repeating cycle that is starting to increase at a rapid rate because of climate change therefore landing many species on the endangered species list. “Diversity of life and living systems are a necessary condition for human development” (Ishwaran & Erdelen, 2006, p. 179). Many question the importance of maintaining biodiversity in today’s world, where conservation efforts prove costly and time consuming. Species should be saved for “aesthetic and moral justifications; the importance of wild species as providers of products and services essential to human welfare; the value of particular species as indicators of environmental health or as keystone species crucial to the functioning of ecosystems; and the scientific breakthroughs that have...
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