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Conserving biological diversity: a strategy for protected by Susan M. Braatz

By Susan M. Braatz

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Additional info for Conserving biological diversity: a strategy for protected areas in the Asia-Pacific region, Volumes 23-193

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The Role of NGOs. Nongovernmental organizations contribute to biodiversity conservation by playing an advocacy role, implementing projects, encouraging local support and participation, and mobilizing financial resources from the international donor community. However, only a few Asian countries (India, Nepal, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Thailand) have large NGO communities, and relatively few NGOs are involved in conservation. Strengthening local and national NGOs in the region, therefore, will be an important step in making links between conservation and the needs of local communities and increasing national capabilities and absorptive capacities.

The genetic richness of wild plants is indispensable for developing new agricultural and medicinal varieties. In addition, many countries earn substantial foreign exchange from natural ecosystems with touristic values. These direct economic values of biodiversity are, conceptually at least, rather easy to quantify and value, even though relevant scientific and economic data are lacking in all but a handful of examples. Services to Humanity. Biodiversity supplies the working ingredients for natural ecosystems that provide an array of essential services to humanity: keeping the air clean, modifying climatic extremes, degrading wastes, recycling nutrients, creating soils, controlling diseases, regulating hydrological cycles, and so on (see Box 1).

Conservation in many countries is limited by administrative structures. Generally, the responsibility for conservation resides with the Forestry Department where priorities have traditionally been on production, not protection. Most institutions are overcentralized and relate poorly to local governments. In addition, political support for conservation often is limited; thus the institutions lack the necessary authority to carry out their responsibilities effectively and low morale becomes a problem.

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