The Loss of Biodiversity
POL310 Environmental Policies
Instructor: Arthur Piervencenti
February 10, 2013
It seems that in today’s time, the discussion of biodiversity and what it means is being discussed frequently. There are those who feel that biodiversity is something that will possibly take care of itself. Then there are those who realize that the Earth is changing and there are some things that need to be done to ensure that the Earth is preserved. This is going to require policymakers and Scientists coming to an understanding. It will require addressing the social and economical perspectives of biodiversity. There will be some things addressed that government currently has in place but seem to work against each other. However, there are some recommendations that may help educate citizens and give some incentive for being more responsible in regard to biodiversity. Biodiversity speaks of the diversity of life. As defined in the purposed US Congressional Biodiversity Act. HR1268 (1990), “biological diversity means the full range of variety and variability within and among living organisms and the ecological complexes in which they occur, and encompasses ecosystem or community diversity” (Jensen, D., Tom, M. & Harle, J., 1990). There are several levels of biodiversity which include species, ecosystem, and genetic diversity. Species diversity is defined as the number and extent of individual species existing. Ecosystem diversity involves the ability of the Earth to support the assortment of ecosystem which includes low-lying tropical jungles to high alpine rock and ice. Then there is a genetic diversity which refers to genes and organisms that sustain the genetic pool. All of these things define what biodiversity consists of. Policymakers often bump heads with scientists in regard to whether prevention of species going extinct can be effective by intervention of humans. There is further disagreement as to how conserving biodiversity should be approached. Scientists however hold to promoting long term species survival by preserving important habitat as opposed to placing animal and plants in zoos and arboretums. It is the belief that when key habitats requirements are met, species will reproduce and maintain healthy population numbers. The key habitats include: food, shelter, migration, and security (Dale, 2011). The loss of biodiversity is the extinction of species and loss of genetic variation within species which has important implications for agriculture and medicine. There is approximately 42 million acres of tropical forest land that is cleared each year for the purpose of subsistence agriculture and cattle ranching. One major cause of extinction is the habitat loss which comes from tropical deforestation. Habitat loss from tropical deforestation is a major cause of extinction (Frisvold, Condon, 1984). One of the challenges that policymakers have is that of scientific uncertainty. Science builds knowledge and reduces uncertainty to some degree; however, the policymakers may never hear of it. Science often fails to provide policymakers with viable solutions; therefore, ethics is used to help prioritize issues. There is no dedicated system of measuring, monitoring, or reporting natural capital. Good governance requires objective decision making which affects people that use public funds. Having a better understanding and quantitative measurement of biodiversity and ecosystem values to support integrated policy assessments are a core part of the long-term solution (TEEB, 2009). There will be an attempt to parting two different perspectives that adds to understanding the challenges we face environmentally. According to scientists, animal and plant species and declining in an unprecedented rate today. One of the challenges is scientists and policymakers cannot come to agreement about how to approach the idea of savings biodiversity. The Endangered Species Act (ESA) made an attempt to stop and...
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