Identification of Key Species for Conservation and Socio-Economic Development

Identification of Key Species for Conservation and Socio-Economic Development

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Commonwealth Secretariat
01 Nov 1993
9781848595101 (PDF)

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The worldwide conservation effort has often been focused on a few key species which have a core function either ecologically or socioeconomically. These species, scientists believe are important for the long term survival of Homo Sapiens. To develop the concept of key species a technical workshop was held in Trinidad and Tobago. The objective was to equate diverse views on what are key species and how to identify and conserve them in the context of current socioeconomic development. The first part of this book gives a complete report of the proceedings of the workshop. The second part contains the results of the first attempts by five member countries of the Commonwealth to identify key species in their respective countries based on the concepts given in the first part.

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  • Introduction

    The worldwide conservation effort has often been focused on a few “flagship” species. These species tend to be the large carnivores, such as lions and tigers, the primates, such as the mountain gorilla, and other mammals, for example the giant panda, or birds. There seems to have been no real scientific reason for selecting these species.

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    • The Trinidad Report: Identification of Key Species for Conservation and Socio-Economic Development

      As emphasised in the World Conservation Strategy (Anon. 1980), the preservation of biological diversity is of paramount importance to the future welfare of mankind. As such, it requires urgent and co-ordinated action from both developing and developed countries. In the face of spreading environmental degradation and increasing species loss, one urgent priority is for us to identify, for immediate protection, monitoring, and potential application, those species (hereafter called ‘key species’) that are most critical.

    • The Identification of Key Species for Conservation

      There is a diversity of arguments made to support conservation practice which ranges from an extremely nostalgic position (that any gain to or loss from the natural environment is a change in our heritage, and therefore to be resisted), to a purely economic argument that conservation retains species (and genes) that might in the future be found to be useful to man.

    • What Constitutes a Key Species?

      This background document has as its brief the general question of what constitutes “a key species for its role in conservation and socio-economic development”, from the perspective of an experimental ecologist. I was asked to address two particular points.

    • Nitrogen Fixing Species

      A major feature of the present-day is the ever increasing degradation of the surface of the earth and the ecosystems upon it. This is no new process. Civilizations throughout time have been destroyed by loss of the soils of the croplands which allowed those civilizations to prosper as well by loss of the original vegetation on lands surrounding them.

    • Conservation Strategies: an Agro-Ecologist's Viewpoint

      The estimate of the number of species on earth varies from 5 to 30 million; in any case, no one doubts that the numbers are far higher than was thought until recently (World Resources Institute 1988). With an estimated 15 to 33% loss out of the total wildlife by 2 000 AD, the extinction rate is becoming critical (Lovejoy 1986). It is in this context that conservation biology assumes considerable significance.

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    • Appendix A: Key Species of Grenada

      Grenada, located at the southern end of the Lesser Antillean Island chain (approximately 90 miles north of Trinidad), is the largest of the three main islands which make up the nation of Grenada; the other two being Carriacou and Petit Martinique in the Grenada Grenadines. There are also a number of small islands, islets and rocks which lie offshore from the main islands.

    • Appendix B: Key Species for Conservation and Economic Development in New Zealand

      A list of plant species considered to be either ‘key’ for ecological reasons or for socio-economic reasons is presented in this report. An introductory section outlines the application of these concepts to the New Zealand situation, with special emphasis on problems.

    • Appendix C: Some Key Species of the Nigerian Flora

      The alarming rate of destruction of the natural forests of Nigeria has been a subject of grave concern in recent times. Aladejana (1985) reported that the forest estate of Nigeria is approximately 9.6 million hectares or 9.8% of the total land area of the country, covering approximately 92.4 million hectares. Of this, only 2% is said to be within the unit regarded as commercial forests, most of which lies in the high forests of the southern states.

    • Appendix D: Trinidad and Tobago: Status Report on Key Animal Species

      The Interim Technical Committee on Biological Diversity and Genetic Resources decided at its meeting of 17 July 1990 to initiate one of its objectives by compiling a status report on key species of animals for Trinidad and Tobago. A graduate student was hired for four months to collate the available information and conduct the necessary interviews forming the basis of the report. The format of the report is structured upon a questionnaire from the Commonwealth Science Council which refers to potentially valuable plants.

    • Appendix E: List of Key Ecological and Economic Species of Zambia

      The continent of Africa is richly endowed with great biological diversity and genetic resources. Zambia being one of the countries in sub-saharan Africa is rich in plant and animal taxa. Unfortunately, due to modern farming techniques, population pressure and over-exploitation of these genetic resources, the rich biological diversity that once existed is slowly being lost.

    • Index of Subjects and Species
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