3.0 Biodiversity and the need to Conserve

As a sub-theme, Biodiversity can accomplish many goals and provides a wealth of opportunities for curricular applications.

The Curriculum pages provide many objectives that relate to biodiversity.

cbd1.The best resource for this topic can be found on the CBD website:


2. Also, this pdf from the UNEP website: http://www.unep.org/geo/geo4/report/05_Biodiversity.pdf


  • People rely on biodiversity in their daily lives, often without realizing it.
  • Current losses of biodiversity are restricting future development options.
  • Biodiversity plays a critical role in providing livelihood security for people.
  • From the use of genetic resources to harnessing other ecosystem services, agriculture throughout the world is dependent on biodiversity.
  • Many of the factors leading to the accelerating loss of biodiversity are linked to the increasing use of energy by society.
  • Human health is affected by changes in biodiversity and ecosystem services.
  • Human societies everywhere have depended on biodiversity for cultural identity, spirituality, inspiration, aesthetic enjoyment and recreation.
  • Biodiversity loss continues because current policies and economic systems do not incorporate the values of biodiversity effectively in either the political or the market systems, and many current policies are not fully implemented.
 Although many losses of biodiversity, including the degradation of ecosystems, are slow or gradual, they can lead to sudden and dramatic declines in the capacity of biodiversity to contribute to human well- being. Modern societies can continue to develop without further loss of biodiversity only if market and policy failures are rectified.  These failures include perverse production subsidies, undervaluation of biological resources, failure to internalize environmental costs into prices and failure to appreciate global values at the local level. Reducing the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010 or beyond will require multiple and mutually supportive policies of conservation, sustainable use and the effective recognition of value for the benefits derived from the wide variety of life on Earth. Some such policies are already in place at local, national and international scales, but their full implementation remains elusive."

3. “From http://www.unep.org/geo/geo4/report/06_Regional_Perspectives.pdf

“Population and economic growth are major factors fuelling increased demand on resources, and contributing to global environmental change in terms of the atmosphere, land, water and biodiversity….”

“A number of factors have led to the deterioration of marine and coastal areas, including fisheries, mangroves and coral reefs. They include rapid development of urban and tourism infrastructure, and of refineries, petrochemical complexes, power and desalination plants, as well as oil spills from ship ballast. Vast areas of terrestrial and marine ecosystems have been severely affected by wars, which led to the discharge of millions of barrels of crude oil into coastal waters. They have also been harmed by the infiltration of oil and seawater into aquifers, and by hazardous waste disposal. Environmental impact assessment requirements were introduced recently. Other responses include programmes to conserve biodiversity, manage coastal zones and develop marine protected areas. is also increasing in the environment.”

Box5.4 Deep Sea Biodiversity recently extended to the deep sea with the designation in 2003 of the Juan de Fuca Ridge system and associated Endeavour Hydrothermal Vents (2,250 metres deep and 250 kilometres south of Vancouver Island, Canada) as a Marine Protected Area.

4. See Value of biodiversity and ecosystem services

5. In October of 2007, The minister of Environment for Brazil spoke in a conference in Norway that focused on the importance of biodiversity in combating poverty and in achieving sustainable development. ( http://www.regjeringen.no/en/dep/md/Selected-topics/Naturmangfold/Vedlegg/Ecosystems-and-People–biodiversity-for-.html?id=487378 )

6. Species Diversity: http://www.millenniumassessment.org/documents/document.287.aspx.pdf

The lowered biomass and fragmented habitats resulting from overexploitation of marine resources is likely to lead to numerous extinctions, especially among large, long-lived, late-maturing spe- cies (Sadovy and Cheung 2003; Sadovy et al. 2003a; Denney et al. 2002).

Fishing is thus one of the major direct anthropogenic forces that has an impact on the structure, function, and biodiversity of the oceans today. Climate change will also have impacts on biodiversity through changes in marine species distributions and abundances. In the coastal biome, other factors, including water quality, pollution, river and estuarine inputs, have large impacts on coastal and marine systems. (See Chapter 19.) Historical over- fishing and other disturbances have caused dramatic decreases in the abundance of large predatory species, resulting in structural and functional changes in coastal and marine ecosystems and the collapse of many marine ecosystems (Jackson et al. 2001). One well-documented example is that of the historic fishing grounds ranging from New England to Newfoundland and Labrador, which once supported immense cod fisheries but which have now been almost completely replaced by fisheries targeting invertebrates, the former prey of these fish (providing a classic example of fishing down marine food webs). The system that once sup- ported cod has almost completely disappeared, fueling fears that this species will not rebuild its local populations, even though fishing pressure has been much reduced (Hutchings and Ferguson 2000; Hutchings 2004; Lilly et al. 2000). However, some col- lapsed stocks have been able to recover once fishing pressure is removed: the North Sea herring fishery collapsed due to over- harvest in the late 1970s but recovered after a four-year closure (Bjørndal 1988). On a much smaller scale, but nevertheless wide- spread throughout the tropics, coral reef areas have been degraded by a combination of overfishing, pollution, and climate variability.

Archives : The  Metchosin Biodiversity Strategy

3.1.0 Ecosystem Integrity