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Sheikh Rafiq Hasan Assistant lecturer of Business Studies Southeast University

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Introduction Diverse Consideration The Conservation of Biodiversity in Latin America A Major New Opportunity to Finance the Preservation of Biodiversity. The Effect of Global Climaticchang on Natural Communities


The diversity of life forms, so numerous that we have yet to identify most of them, is the greatest wonder of this planet. The biosphere is an intricate tapestry of interwoven life forms. Even the seemingly desolate arctic tundra is sustained by a complex interaction of many species of plants and animals, including the rich arrays of symbiotic lichens.

Diverse Consideration

SOCIOLOGICAL ISSUES: The problem of population growth sometimes seems so enormous as to be intractable. Even with stringent birth control, future population growth is inevitable because of the very youthful age structure of populations in developing countries. Short of coercion, the only permanently ameliorative approach is to improve living standards while providing birth control devices and aggressive public education programs. That is not an instant solution, because human conditions cannot be improved overnight and a response in the form of reduced fertility does not happen right away either. There is no question that the association between development, population control, and conservation needs our continuing preoccupation. ECONOMIC PRESSURES: For some time, I have advocated the notion that some portion of the debt be allocated to these pressing problems of biological diversity. The money is already in the developing nations where the greatest conservation problems are, and much of it is unlikely

The Conservation of Biodiversity in Latin America


The increasing awareness of the need to preserve biological diversity in the world is demonstrated by the meetings that have been convened in developed countries. In the United States, for example, there were the Smithsonian Institution meeting in December 1985, the World Wildlife Fund meeting in September 1986, the National Academy of Sciences and Smithsonian Institution joint meeting in September 1986, and the meeting of the New York Zoological Society in October 1986. All are clear examples of this general trend. Although this awareness has come slowly to countries in the Third World, some important steps have been taken. In Latin America, for example, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of established protected areas (Harrison et al., 1984).

The preservation of the biological diversity in the world is a shared commitment between rich and poor countries and that major responsibilities fall into the hands of the countries where this diversity is found. Since the greatest diversity exists in the tropical areas of the world, these responsibilities generally lie within the developing countries. In these countries, however, social, economic, and political problems often make conservation of their diversity very difficult. The riddle of balancing development; stability in economic, social, and political terms; and conservation of their natural resources is difficult for any of the countries to solve by themselves. Because Mexico provides an instructive example of these problems in the Latin American region, I will summarize the general conditions that determine the context in which this conservation is now and will be taking place in the near future. I will also consider means to achieve the sharing of responsibilities among countries in the world.

The new leaders have been responsible for the inclusion of environmental considerations in part of the government planning process and in political agendas. NGOs have flourished in the last 5 to 10 years. At present, there are probably 200 of these organizations located primarily in major cities throughout the country. In 1985, 22 NGOs established a federation in Mexico City. These organizations, supported by the scientific community, have pushed for improving environmental legislation and the establishment and protection of the conservation units within different habitats. In addition, they have discussed wildlife trade and have helped to organize and spread the conservation message among citizens in the country.


The most important and fastest-growing industry has been the petrochemical industry, which generates not only oil, plastics, pesticides, and fertilizers but also air, water, and soil pollution. Modern industry generates large quantities of toxic materials, commonly storing them on site, dumping them down sewers or landfills, or burning them without regard for environmental concerns.

major concern of environmentalists has been the possibility that payment of the foreign debt may generate additional environmental problems and that the


The politics of the environment and its conservation is poorly defined in Mexico. There are no clear policies. Legislation is frequently a response to conflicting priorities and emergency situations. In some areas where there are laws (e.g., pollution control), there are no regulations to implement them (Albert, 1985). In other areas, the law is rarely applied, and when it is, the sanctions and fines are ridiculously low (Ramos, 1985). Government officers are politically appointed, and communication among them or their agencies is limited, because of strong territoriality at that level.


From the scientific and technical standpoint, Mexico has limited capabilities for environmental protection. Of primary importance, its scientific community is slowly eroding because of attrition. Salaries in this sector have dropped in real value to 30% of what they were 7 years ago. Operating budgets for research institutions have dropped dramatically too. Although these budgets for 1986 were the same as those for 1985, inflation has increased to about 65 to 70%, and because of dropping international oil prices, they suffered additional cutbacks of 23 to 27% for the whole year. This left most research institutions stranded. The personnel and infrastructure budgets have not been funded for the last 3 years, except in very selective cases approved by the Planning and




Conservation of biological diversity on a global scale cannot take place only through the efforts of the developed world. Moreover, the general conditions of countries like Mexico and the real possibilities of preserving biological diversity under those conditions appear very grim. Major changes would have to be made within Mexico and in the international community to produce well-defined strategies designed to avoid or diminish the possibility of failure and the duplication of efforts. Both need to concentrate on specific plans of action for successful conservation and development efforts. Thus, although there is a tremendous need to address the issues of conservation more globally, it is essential to include the Third-World countries as equal partners in the process.

Developed Nations
Developed nations should be aware of the issues involved in conserving biological diversity and their magnitude at the local, national, regional, and international levels. There is an extreme need to understand more globally the problems faced by ThirdWorld countries. Money alone will not lead to the successful conservation of biological diversity in those regions. They must also be aware of our partnership and shared responsibilities as well as the need for mutual respect. For example, the conservation of migratory species of wildlife

A Major New Opportunity to Finance the Preservation of Biodiversity.


The most effective component of wildland management is financial support for the conservation of ecologically similar wildlands in one or more WMA. Where a WMA has already been established in the same type of ecosystem that is to be converted by a Bank- supported project, then it may be preferable, for administrative or biological conservation reasons, to enlarge the existing WMA rather than to establish a new one. Biological conservation is usually more effective in one large WMA than in several small ones that combined have the same total size and the same types of natural habitats. The government's wildland agencies, local university wildlife departments, and various international organizations can often assist in making such judgments.

SIGNIFICANCE FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY: The significance of these new policies for biological diversity is that the World Bank will finance the preservation of wildlands. The World Bank is owned by 152 developed and developing member nations, so it is likely that the species or habitats with which most readers are concerned occur in a country that is a member of the Bank. This demonstrates a clear need for nongovernment organizations (NGOs). Communications between governmental agencies, NGOs, and academia are not yet efficient and systematic in the environmental arena. The Bank seeks to foster such communications.

The Effect of Global Climatic hang on Natural Communities



Evidence of such range shifts during periods of warming in the past, together with projections of range shifts based on physiological tolerances and computer-modeled future climatic conditions, suggest that in the United States, the oncoming warming trend may shift the area within which a particular species may flourish by as much as several hundred kilometers to the north. A projection for loblolly pine (Pinus taeda), for example, suggests that the southern limit of this species in the United States may shift more than 300 kilometers to the north by the year 2080 because of moisture stress (Miller et al., in press).

In terms of responses specifically directed at the effects of climate change, the most environmentally conservative action would be to halt or slow global warming. Granted, this would be difficult, not only because fossil fuel use will probably increase as the world's

If efforts to prevent global warming fail, however, and if global temperatures continue to rise, then amelio-rating the negative effects of climatic change on biological resources will require substantially increased investment in the purchase and management of reserves. If management measures are unsuccessful, and old reserves do not retain necessary thermal or moisture characteristics, individuals of disappearing species might be transferred to new reserves. For example, warmthintolerant ecotypes or subspecies might be transplanted to reserves nearer the poles. Other species may have to be periodically reintroduced in reserves that experience occasional climate extremes severe enough to cause extinction, but where the climate would ordinarily allow the species to survive with minimal management. Such transplantations and reintroductions, particularly involving complexes of species, will often be difficult, but some applicable technologies are being developed (Botkin, 1977; Lovejoy, 1985).