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In Situ Conservation - within the natural habitat (Habitat or species-based) Protected sites, or Reserves In situ conservation maintains

not only the genetic diversity of species, but also the evolutionary adaptations that enable them to adapt continually to shifting environmental conditions, such as changes in pest populations or climate. In situ conservation also ensures that along with target species, a host of other interlinked species are also preserved as a byproduct. It is generally cheaper than ex situ methods (although not cheap). It may often be the only conservation option, for example for species with recalcitrant seeds. In situ conservation measures involve designating specific areas as protected sites. Protection may be offered at various levels, from complete protection and restriction of access, through various levels of permitted human use. In practice, complete protection is rarely necessary or advisable in a terrestrial context. Human beings have been a major part of the landscape for many thousands of years. Over the course of that time, human cultures have emerged and adapted to the local environment, discovering, using and altering biotic resources. Many areas that now appear ‘natural’ bear the hallmarks of millennia of human influence. Other species have evolved along with that influence and in many cases require the disturbance provided by humans to provide the necessary conditions for their survival. In other words, it is rarely advisable to relegate the countryside to the status of a museum piece. This applies particularly in the less economically developed areas of the world, where in many cases, the livelihood of the local people depends on using the natural resources available to them. Prohibiting the use of such resources in protected areas means that expensive enforcement measures usually have to be put in place. It is far better to involve local people in conservation and to find creative ways for them to make a sustainable living while still protecting valuable habitats or species. The biosphere reserve concept has been developed through the Man and Biosphere (MAB) Programme of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). Biosphere reserves are an attempt to reconcile the problems of conserving biodiversity and biological resources, with sustainable use of natural resources for people. They form an international network of sites, nominated by national governments, but designated by UNESCO. The first reserves were nominated as long ago as 1976. By 2001, a network of 393 reserves in 94 countries had been developed. More on Biosphere reserves here. Marine conservation areas lag behind terrestrial ones. Protected areas have existed on land for over a century, but there is no tradition of managing marine areas for conservation. The only current statutory marine reserve in England is Lundy Island. This harbours a huge variety of marine life due to the diversity of underwater habitats present there.

Marine reserves may be vital tools in preserving species-rich areas such as tropical coral reefs, which are being devastated by non-sustainable fishing methods in many areas. The rationale of such reserves is not to lock away fish from fishermen, but rather to create refuges inside which populations can build up and spill over to repopulate adjacent areas.

Marine Reserves need to be carefully designed to take into account, movement patterns, dispersal rates and population dynamics of particular target species. For example, it would be pointless having a reserve where the resident species regularly travelled to non-protected areas. It would also be pointless protecting the habitat of an adult, but neglecting the geographically different breeding grounds and habitats of juveniles, or vice versa. Such factors should also be taken into consideration in the design of terrestrial reserves. Management of Nature Reserves Nature reserves are usually designated to protect a particular species, assemblage of species, or specific habitats. As

Regulatory policies are necessary to curb the introduction of exotic species and genetic resources. For these reasons. With the drastic loss of area of natural habitat occurring world-wide. It becomes vital where an ecosystem will never recover naturally. INTRODUCED SPECIES The vast majority of exotic introduced species die out because they are unsuited to local conditions. Between 1967 and 1972. Both species compete for the food resource of hazel nuts.g. However. with the result that large areas of former habitat have become unsuitable for dormice. Restoration may rely heavily upon species maintained by ex situ methods and is an example of the complementary nature of in situ and ex situ techniques. drastically reduced . Such resulting changes in habitat may mean the loss of particular species for which the reserve was originally designated. there would always be other wetland habitats at an earlier stage of the succession process elsewhere. wetlands and heathlands. A few however. so provision of habitat is often the key requirement for recovery of a species. RESTORATION Restoration attempts to bring land modified by human use back to its original state. Sites cleared by bulldozer may take a thousand or more years to recover. Left to natural processes. Dormice are the subject of a species recovery program sponsored by English Nature. as the consequences can be disastrous. many ecosystems will return to their original condition provided populations of the original species still exist nearby. so that restoration to an original condition is not an option. natural recovery of slash and burn agricultural sites takes more th an a century. appear to be superbly adapted to particular local conditions and will tend to out-compete native species. Management is necessary in order to prevent natural processes such as succession from taking place. Dormice also suffer from competition with an introduced species. The decision therefore has to be made to halt succession at a particular stage in order to preserve the species associated with it. Succession is a natural process which will tend to replace particular species with different ones. either because it has been physically transformed.such they can rarely be left in isolation to manage themselves. or because species cannot migrate to repopulate the area. this is often no longer the case. restoration is often limited to the approximate recreation of habitat. Intervention may be used to speed up the process. In former times. an African cichlid fish introduced into a lake in Panama wiped out 6 of the 8 previously common fish species. coppicing is little practised these days. These would act as species reservoirs. RECOVERY OF THREATENED SPECIES The recovery of threatened species generally hinges on providing suitable habitat and conditions in which they can thrive. this is rarely a realistic goal. Most biodiversity losses can be directly attributed to habitat loss. Recovery therefore hinges on providing suitable areas for the species. They thrive in deciduous woodland and overgrown hedgerows. Restoration does not necessarily require intervention. Introduced species can wipe out innumerable other local species. The dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius)is a good example of this. This may however be a lengthy process. while an area of a particular habitat might be lost through succession (such as a wetland drying out and eventually becoming a woodland). Because determining the original natural state is often difficult and because ecosystems continually change. hazel nuts and honeysuckle). the grey squirrel. They are arboreal and require networks of interlinking low branches to provide aerial highways to food sources (e. Examples of this include wild flower meadows. In former times. Changes may also in some cases be irreversible. This is often as a result of ecological change induced by the organisms themselves. the practice of coppicing woodland (cutting trees near to ground level and then allowing them to regenerate numerous shoots) provided ideal conditions for dormice. In Brazil’s caatinga forest.

There is no guarantee that all the results will be beneficial or can even be controlled. habitat degradation through pollution brought about by activities elsewhere. This one species alone has decimated tens of thousands of acres. Such protection requires the presence of a legal framework which can be effectively enforced. Genes from a fish have been introduced into tomatoes. Fish populations can be contaminated by interbreeding with introduced varieties. LEGAL PROTECTION Nature reserves need to be properly protected from the adverse results of human activity. Even introducing the same species can present hazards through the mixing of genetic stocks. as in for example. e. as in unauthorized extraction of resources from the reserve. Genetic engineering can involve the transfer of genetic material between widely separated taxonomic groups. Grey squirrels introduced from America have also all but replaced native red squirrel populations. .g. particularly in the west. Pure Red Deer may in the end be confined to isolated islands in Scotland. GENETIC MODIFICATION Humans now have the technology to alter life on earth in a totally unique way. rhododendron has taken over large areas. In Britain. Entirely new species can intentionally or unintentionally be produced. algae and fish-eating birds up and down the food chain. virtually eliminating native plants and their associated faunas. This might be indirect. The genetic integrity of native British Red Deer is now also threatened through hybridisation with introduced Sika Deer. it may involve direct damage.populations of a seventh and affected aquatic invertebrates. Alternatively.