Principles of resource management, conservation and biodiversity
|introduction||An introduction to the issues raised in this section. (located on this page) (10 pages)|
|When people exploit minerals and nature's products, they become resources. One can distinguish various types of resource, according to their characteristics. Management of a resource hopes to minimise environmental damage, and if possible, achieve sustainability. Read about substance, resilience, reserves, economy of exploitation, management, tragedy of the commons, problem solving and more. (26 pages)|
|biodiversity||Biodiversity is Nature's answer towards populating this planet optimally, with maximum resilience to outside influences. Read about the various aspects of biodiversity, ecosystems services, extinctions, measuring biodiversity, taxonomy, how to protect biodiversity, differences between land and sea, the effects of scarcity, and more. (30 pages)|
|The conservation of nature embodies all our actions to mitigate our wrongdoings. Read about conservation biology, strategies, dilemmas and obstacles. Conserving a species, a spot, a habitat, an activity. Spiritual dimensions of conservation. Also learn how the sea differs from the land (30 pages)|
|Marine mammals protection has advanced over the years by international conventions and marine mammal reserves. It is a highly politicised subject with untold many myths and fallacies. (postponed)|
|A look at threats to the marine environment. Objectives of marine conservation.
Perceived benefits of marine reserves and discussion of these. What marine
reserves don't do. What they do best. Principles for their location. Spillout
quantified. Larval dispersal. How reserves fail. (33 pages)
|The Goat Island marine reserve in Leigh is New Zealand's first. Established in 1977 and visited by over one hundred thousand people each year, it has taught us some valuable lessons, how marine reserves can fail and what we do wrong. Many pictures. (23 pages)|
|Why are seas everywhere in the world sick? What is marine degradation
and how does it work? Why is it accelerating so fast right now? What symptoms
accompany it? How can it be measured? (25p)
|legislation||Because conservation is about changing human behaviour, legislation is indispensable. But is it the best way? This article summarises NZ and international legislation. (postponed)|
|myths and fallacies||FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and answers
about marine conservation and marine reserves. Honest and incisive. A must-read.
Myths and Fallacies in speeches and newspaper articles and more nonsense in the marine reserve debate (large and growing).
Science exposed: the myths and mistakes in recent marine ecological scientific research. For the challenged few.
The war for marine reserves: the NZ Government and governments elsewhere are clamouring for marine reserves at any cost, even though these have proved not to protect the environment. What's going on? Important reading. (large)
on this web site
|Read the important section on degradation
with many photographic examples. Also follow the many threats
and issues and a summary of threats
to the environment and people.
Visit the section on ecology to learn more about environmental processes, populations, etc. (planned)
Marine reserves of New Zealand: marine reserves index. Details of each. (large section)
Introduction to marine habitats; physical factors, terminology, etc. (15 pages)
Biorealms of the Earth: a summary of features that characterise fresh water, land, sea, soil. (4 pages)
From hunter to caretaker: an article about marine conservation, containing the essence of these chapters, and with discussion points at the end (19 pages)
The red data book of New Zealand: a damning list of disappeared and disappearing animals. (8 pages)
Summary of global threats:
read what we are doing to your life, the air, land , sea and soil. (18
sustainability, erosion and conservation. (large section)
NZ Marine Reserves act 1971
updated to 1996. (16 pages)
on this web site
|Table of the important
elements for life, in the universe, planet, plants, animals. (5 pages)
Periodic table of elements, with explanation, importance for life and more. Introduction to the structure of atoms, basic chemistry and radioactivity. (10 pages)
Detailed composition of seawater: a concentration for all the elements known. (1 page)
Geologic Time Table: the history of life and the planet, with earth maps and pictures. (7 pages)
Time table of mankind: a summary of the events that shaped the human world. (22 pages)
|further reading||Books and references. Most available on loan from the Seafriends Public Library (on this page)|
|Internet links||Links to related sites on the Internet. (2 pages)|
|what's new?||A log of recent changes to this section (on this page)|
Note! for best printed results, set your page up with
a left margin of 1.5cm (0.6") and right margin of 1.0cm (0.4")
The whole section covers about 4.5MB, including text, drawings and photographs. Read tips to get most out of this web site.
For comments, suggestions and improvements, e-mail the author, Floor Anthoni.
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In this section on conservation, we have brought together the important rules and principles about saving the land and the sea. Because so many people have differing opinions, the information on this web site has been gleaned from many books and other publications. This massive amount of knowledge has been compacted and simplified in order not to waste your time. As such, it is perhaps the only complete overview of the subject, brought together in one place, while being easy to learn. Many diagrams and drawings have been made to enable you to visualise the issues, for ease of understanding and recall. As with other sections on this web site, it is not our intention to give you recipes for life, but more importantly, to give you the ingredients to make your own. Three more sections on this web site are of immediate importance: Ecology (in preparation) makes you understand how populations interact. Oceanography teaches about how the planet works such as circulation, climate, precipitation, productivity and detailing why habitats and ecosystems are found where they are. See also the section on soil. Details of all New Zealand's present marine reserves are found in Marine reserves of New Zealand.
The human species is unique among all the species on Earth, because
it has developed capabilities (through technology) that far exceed what
is possible by the advantages passed down through evolution (brain and
muscles). As a result, humans have modified the world to suit their needs,
assuming in the process, that the human superiority gives them the right
to take from other species what it likes, without restriction. This has
led to the over development of the biosphere, possibly beyond its capacity
to sustain itself, resulting in loss of life and species, while also indirectly
threatening human existence. We believe that human nature is not just one
of greed and pillage, but one equally of compassion for others, including
other species. We also believe that we have enough knowledge, foresight
and discipline not only to avert disaster, but also to manage this unique
planet while providing happiness and dignity for all. However, in the past
century we have put systems in place that have cultivated our short-term
outlook, immediate satisfaction and a selfish attitude. It has produced
a world, which paradoxically, has gained some but lost other qualities,
making people long for true humanity while lavishing in the emptiness of
the wealth that replaced it, as expressed eloquently by George Carlin:
|George Carlin's paradox of our times.
(Lat: para= against; doxa=opinion; contrary to opinion)
The paradox of our time in history is that:
These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion;
big men and small character; steep profits and shallow relationships.
Remember, spend some time with your loved ones, because
they are not going to be around forever.
Give time to Love, give time to speak, give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.
At the start of the 21st century, humanity is faced with the biggest challenge ever, that of accommodating another 4-6 billion people in as little as 40 years. At the same time, our most precious resources are running out, our agricultural systems are overstressed, and our economic systems at the verge of collapse. Already today, we are experiencing more disasters, more frequently, which at the same time are also more puzzling and longer lasting. The real causes are not difficult to find: human overpopulation, coupled with unrestrained consumption, pollution and waste.
For effective and lasting solutions, our knowledge of the environment has been lagging behind. Scientists do not understand its basic functioning and limitations. They are literally caught unaware. Despite the appearance of many scientific articles, no progress has been made in the certainty surrounding environmental problems, solutions and management, in over 25 years. Many articles are in fact only guesswork and philosophical in nature. As a result, we deal with problems by plastering over their cracks, rather than by curing them and attacking their causes, let alone preventing them by foresight. Conservation is no longer an option; it has become necessity.
Not only has it become important to better look after ourselves, but
being dependent on the services provided by a shrinking environment, we
are also obliged to look after some 10 million other species, who together
define what Earth looks like and how it works. The ways conservation has
been defined over the years, is indicative of our ignorance and reluctance
to make room for those other species on which we ultimately depend. Here
are some of the attempts at defining conservation, and of solving our problems.
|IUCN (World Conservation Union), 1980: The management
of human use of the biosphere so that it may yield the greatest sustainable
benefit to present generations while retaining its potential to meet the
needs and aspirations of future generations.
Resource Management Act New Zealand (1993): Managing the use, development and protection of natural and physical resources in a way, or at a rate, which enables people and communities to provide for their social, economic, and cultural wellbeing and for their health and safety, while:
National Resource council, USA 1994. Priorities for coastal ecosystem science:
United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, Earth Summit 1992, Rio de Janeiro
While past conservation efforts were aimed at protecting particular species and habitats, the Convention recognizes that ecosystems, species and genes must be used for the benefit of humans. However, this should be done in a way and at a rate that does not lead to the long-term decline of biological diversity. The Convention aims to achieve:
New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy, March 2000.
New Zealand Environment 2010 strategy
In 1995 the New Zealand Government adopted the 'Environment 2010 Strategy' which is a strategic overview of how we deal with environmental issues. Its agenda for action is to:
As you can see, our concept of conservation has been changing gradually, from a human-centred position to one that reluctantly makes room for 'unimportant' species. However, the reality of the situation has not sunk in, as can be inferred from the NZ Biodiversity Strategy. Notice also that no word was said about reducing human populations and their spreading, about controlling economic growth and wanton wasting, and living within a smaller footprint. One could frankly say that that people have no idea of what is needed.
In writing this large section about conservation, I came across a large
volume of often opposing ideas. What struck me, is our obsession with wanting
to know more and more detail, as shown above. The following allegory may
illustrate my misgivings:
|Two thugs, named Technology and Profit are bashing a victim named Nature in the street. Two bystanders, named Morality and Science, are watching. "So what are you doing about it?", asks Morality. "I'll have to know more about the victim", says Science, "We need to know how far we can go before she becomes disfigured permanently. We don't want her to die, but neither do we need to stop. Using a stick instead of that chain, would help already, and gagging her to muffle her screams would make the situation more comfortable".|
Those who think this allegory is accurate, stand closer to a solution
than those who think it is not. Conservation is not really about nature
or the environment, but all about humans. Control humans, and you'll control
the problems. Paying attention to the victim leads to plaster-solutions,
whereas paying attention to the thugs leads to lasting solutions.
The nature of the problem is further illustrated by an almost complete absence of scientific data. Many scientific articles have been published, but as an indictment of true science, they are all based on opinion, one reciting another. In this way myths are born and propagated, much like UFOlogy or scientology. It is therefore unavoidable that this large section on conservation sometimes leaves the strict scientific path, to enter the rather boggy morass of the humanities and philosophy. In doing so, I have tried to be incisive, calling a spade a spade while exposing myths and fallacies. In the process, refreshingly new ideas have surfaced.
In the article about resource management, we'll define and try to understand what a resource is, how it behaves and how its use is expected to accelerate. We'll examine how nature invented strategies for resilience and sustainability, and how populations are stabilised. We'll introduce some relevant techniques for solving problems, which lead to management strategies for managing resources.
In the article about biodiversity, we'll investigate how diversity came about and how ecosystems function. Already for many millennia, but critically in recent years, species have been disappearing because of the spread of the human species and consequent destruction or change of natural habitat. Not only do people have the responsibility of maintaining the lives of other humans, but also of all those creatures still alive today. People depend on the services provided by the functioning of a healthy environment. Marine biodiversity is difficult to understand, without also understanding the differences between land and sea. It shows that the sea is a totally different world, requiring a different approach to conservation. A separate document stresses the differences further between the main biorealms of this planet. By looking at the combined effects of habitat loss and loss of species, we discover that mankind is digging a deep hole for itself, prescribing for itself what it did to other creatures. The mathematics of scarcity attempt to explain this.
The article about conservation brings all elements together that are important for understanding conservation and for creating successful protected areas. It deals with the benefits, dilemmas and obstructions of conservation, and how to go about saving a species, a spot or regulating an activity. It also deals with the spiritual dimensions of conservation.
Marine mammals protection is an area already attracting ample interest worldwide, but some aspects have been neglected, reason for some incisive and controversial analysis.
A whole article has been devoted to aspects of marine reserves, their benefits, but more importantly, why so many don't work. Having seen the management of fisheries fail everywhere in the world, people are seeking refuge in the marine reserve concept, having false expectations. Attention is also paid to the selection and design of marine reserves.
Conservation legislation is appearing everywhere in the world as a weapon to salvage nature, but essential mistakes are made here too. Environmental litigation is rapidly becoming the number one source of earnings for lawyers, placing a high burden on the economy. Inappropriate legislation is rife and does not appear to make any practical difference to nature.
Finally the situation in New Zealand is discussed in relation to the above.
The topics of whaling, fishing, soil erosion, effluent discharge, chemical pollution, ballast water, poisonous plankton and habitat loss are so large that they warrant their own sections, to be completed in due time.
Much effort has gone towards describing all existing marine reserves in New Zealand, while also subjecting these to healthy criticism. In the end, it is not important what mistakes we have made, but how we can learn from them to do better in the future. The details of all New Zealand marine reserves have their own large section (see marine reserves index).
Conservation has been a subject about which everyone has an opinion. Much has been written, and as the situation develops further, the environment may well become a main focus and activity in the economy. The purpose for writing this large section, was to bring all important aspects together, and to incisively expose myths and fallacies. If conservation was once an option, it has become a necessity today, and tomorrow an unbearable burden. Only by being extremely smart, can humanity bring about lasting and affordable solutions. This section aims to teach our children and decisionmakers about the seriousness of the situation, in such a way that it can be grasped in its totality, allowing each to arrive at his own conclusions and actions.
Read this section carefully because it has been written in a compact way, revealing a wealth of information, thoughts and processes, systematically and in a small space. Good luck. By reading this, you have already distinguished yourself from the vast majority.
For suggestions and comments, please e-mail
the author, Floor Anthoni
Further readingReferences in blue are available from the Seafriends Library
Bailey, James A: Principles of
wildlife management. 1984. John Wiley.
for Conservation reports (SfC) from the Dept of Conservation, NZ.
Since 1997. A very good source of mostly terrestrial information.
DOC Research & Development Series (with DoC Science Internal Series reports DSIS) more good and timely information. Note that many consultancy reports to DoC are not available although they and the work they represent have been paid for by the public purse. Yet many decisions have been based on them.
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