It can be safely said that conservation is important. There are so many species in danger of extinction because their habitat has been destroyed by deforestation and many that are already lost forever. Almost a quarter of all mammal species and a third of amphibians are currently under threat. An area of forested land the size of England is lost every year. This is a particular problem because 90% of the world’s land-based animals and plants rely on the forests to live in. Only a tenth of the remaining forest areas are actually currently protected and some may consider this unacceptable.
Yet it is not as simple an issue as it may first appear. Few like to see forests destroyed but for some people it is a necessary evil. Those living in the poorest countries need to survive and to do that they need to use the land; removing wild areas to make way for farming and crops to make money but also to feed themselves.
It is for these reasons that it is not beneficial in the long run to try and stop deforestation all together; instead it is necessary to work with those who need to use the land to ensure that there is a plan to readdress the balance lost by its destruction. It is essential that there is a plan for the wildlife that may currently reside within the area and for the replanting of trees and plants around the crops and once the area ceases to be of further use to the locals. It is then down to conservation organisations, both local and international, to monitor the effects and ensure as little damage as possible occurs.
It is in the interests of local people to work with conservation organisations as it is the only way to provide sustainable ways of living for the next generations. Deforestation also adds to the problems created by climate change – something that is already starting to affect everyone and that will only further add to the problems currently faced by those in the poorest countries.
There are different ways to go about conserving areas; from working directly with local communities to encouraging governments to set up their own conservation organisations and protect particularly vulnerable areas. There will always be need to use the land, but there will equally always be areas that contain too many endemic species and threatened plant life to be suitable for clearing. It is therefore down to conservation groups and the different countries’ governments to make sure these vulnerable areas are protected whilst providing people with the ability to provide for themselves.
There are ways that we can help, albeit small ones. Ensuring we buy only paper based products from protected forests which have regrowth plans will go some way to bringing an end to unsustainable practices.
Conservation is essential but can only be achieved most efficiently when dealt with along with the needs of the local communities who may be fighting for their own survival.