The Department of Ecosystems and Conservation provides students with instruction and expertise in a diverse area of ecological and biological sciences including Biodiversity conservation.
Biodiversity conservation in Tanzania
Biodiversity conservation, the practice of protecting and preserving the wealth and variety of species, habitats, ecosystems, and genetic diversity on the planet, is important for our health, wealth, food, fuel, and services we depend on. It plays an integral role in supporting many sectors of development.
Ex situ conservation
Conserving biodiversity outside the areas where they naturally occur is known as ex situ conservation. Here, animals and plants are reared or cultivated in areas like zoological or botanical parks.
Reintroduction of an animal or plant into the habitat from where it has become extinct is another form of ex situ conservation. For example, the Gangetic gharial has been reintroduced in the rivers of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan where it had become extinct.
Seedbanks, botanical, horticultural and recreational gardens are important centres for ex situ conservation.
In situ conservation
Conserving the animals and plants in their natural habitats is known as in situ conservation. This includes the establishment of
After the introduction of cotton, tobacco, sugarcane, sunflower, soyabean and so on, farmers became victims of monocultures in their greed for money. Therefore, many of the indigenous varieties of crops were lost. Moreover, the hybrid varieties of fruits and vegetables (e.g. tomatoes), introduced for pulp are more susceptible to disease and pests. Though hybrid varieties are preferred, traditional wild varieties of the seeds should be conserved for future use in the event of an epidemic which would completely wipe out the hybrids.
Botanical gardens, agricultural departments, seed banks etc., alone should not be given the responsibility of agrobiodiversity conservation. Every farmer, gardener an cultivator should be aware of his role in preserving and conserving agrobiodiversity.
The aim of the convention is to save species and plants from extinction and their habitats from destruction.
The developed countries are looking for a sustainable supply of biological resources from the developing countries and easy access to them as well. The developing countries lacking the technology to exploit their resources are inviting the developed countries to do so. This has resulted in the developed nations channeling out the benefits of these natural resources. The developing countries are now demanding a higher share of the accrued economic benefits. The developed nations are also concerned by the unsustainable exploitation of natural wealth, particularly rainforests.
Key points from the Convention on Biological Diversity
The aim of the Convention on Biological Diversity is ‘the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources. The convention stipulates that Parties must :
A number of factors like pollution, erosion, evolution, urbanization, industrialization, population, and depletion lead to the loss of biodiversity. Loss of biodiversity is very harmful to the ecosystem as it indicates either loss of species, or reduction of species in a natural habitat, or both of them on a global level. Loss of biodiversity has a poor impact on the ecosystem. Loss of biodiversity directly impacts the ecosystem and food chains in it. It affects agriculture and weakens the resistance to natural disasters like floods, drought, etc.
The major causes for biodiversity loss
Loss of biodiversity occurs when either the habitat essential for the survival of a species is destroyed, or particular species are destroyed. The former is more common as habitat destruction is a fallout of development. The latter reason is encountered when particular species are exploited for economical gain or hunted for sport or food.
Extinction of species may also be due to environmental factors like ecological substitutions, biological factors and pathological causes which can be caused by nature or man.
Natural causes for the loss of biodiversity
Natural causes include floods, earthquakes, landslides, natural competition between species, lack of pollination and diseases.
Man-made causes for the loss of biodiversity
Various types of conservation methods ensure a healthy ecosystem. A healthy ecosystem means a clean and healthy environment, smooth running food chains, availability of resources, and so on.
Human beings are also majorly dependent on the environment for basic necessities and wellbeing. We are interdependent on a variety of species of plants and animals for a living. Hence it is very important to conserve these species and their ecosystems which are threatened by many human activities.
A threat to biodiversity poses a threat to humankind. It can be the cause of various grave problems like pollution, habitat loss, resource exploitation, climate change, species extinction, disease outbreak, and so on.
For economic and various life support reasons, it is very important to protect and preserve biodiversity.
Following are some of the important strategies for biodiversity conservation:
An area with higher abundant species has a more stable environment when compared to a lower species abundance area. Humans directly depend on different species of plants for numerous needs. Similarly, people depend on various animals and microbes for different reasons.
Due to various reasons such as the loss of habitat, over-exploitation of resources, climatic changes, pollution, invasive exotic species, diseases, hunting, etc biodiversity is being lost. It is very important to conserve biodiversity as it provides various economic and ethical benefits and adds aesthetic value.
Head of Department
Department of Ecosystems and Conservation,
PO Box 3010, Chuo Kikuu, Morogoro, Tanzania