Biodiversity

Conservation of Biodiversity

The county of Yorkshire has adopted the Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP), the national action plan to conserve biodiversity. But the county also has Local Biodiversity Action Plans (LBAPs) because conservation of wildlife species cannot be assured on a national level without a strong support of the local groups that identify the most threatened species and habitats, monitor the situation and make sure that the national plan is being carried out.

We still rely on various animal and plant species for food, medicine and other products, however, the very existence of wildlife species which are vital for human survival is directly threatened by human actions in a number of ways. Unfortunately, the society heavily depends on the very same activities which threaten biodiversity and one of the best examples is conventional farming. It has dramatically increased food production and improved nutrition, however, it depends on the use of chemical pesticides and artificial fertilizers which are among the greatest threats to wildlife species. Pesticides for instance do not kill only the pests but they also kill many wildlife species including pollinators without which crop production would not be possible in the first place, while artificial fertilizers disturb the balance of soil micro-organisms, pollute the groundwater and threaten the aquatic life.

Organic farming seems to be the best solution for the problem although there are concerns that food production will drop dramatically if all farmers will adopt organic methods of crop and livestock raising. These fears have been shown unjustified so far, however, many farmers are reluctant to make the transition as organic farming involves a greater amount of physical labour in comparison to the conventional methods.

Conservation of ancient woodland and reforestation play the vital role in conservation of biodiversity as well because most wildlife species depend on forests which provide them with both food and shelter. Forest management has improved significantly throughout Britain from the beginning of the 20th century when forests accounted only about 5% of the total territory. Forested areas reached nearly 12% to date and continue to increase. Efforts to expand forested areas helped many endangered species to survive, while some of those that were thought to be extinct were noticed again in the recent years.

In addition to directly improving biodiversity by providing wildlife species a habitat where they can thrive, protection of ancient woodland and reforestation also lowers the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere because the trees absorb this harmful gas and release pure oxygen. This helps reduce the effect of climate change which is not only threatening the human population but biodiversity as well because most wildlife species are adapted to specific regional climates. As a result, warmer temperatures, changes in precipitation, etc. could dramatically alter and even destroy their habitats.

The awareness of the importance of biodiversity is on a high level in the United Kingdom. However, it is crucial to continue to increase the public awareness as well as stimulate people to actively contribute to the effort to preserve wildlife by joining a local conservation group or body, creating wildlife-friendly habitats in their gardens, avoiding the use of chemicals and other actions which could harm the fragile ecosystems.