Conservation

The conservation of endangered plant species employs several compelling arguments: Plants enhance the world's beauty, have the right to exist, and are useful to people. The most persuasive argu ment may be that the survival of the human species depends on a healthy worldwide ecosystem. Three major goals of conservation are recovery, protection, and reintroduction.

Conservation methods depend on increasing public awareness by providing information about endangered or threatened species so that people can take action to reverse damage to the ecosystems. Other important strategies include achieving a widespread commitment to conservation and obtaining funding to protect rare or endangered species. Conservation efforts include setting aside protected areas, such as reserves, wilderness areas, and parks, and recognizing that humans must integrate and protect biodiversity where they live and work. Many countries are actively conserving species through protected areas, endangered-species acts, detailed studies of species and habitat, and information campaigns directed to the public.

Virginia L. Hodges

See also: Biological invasions; Competition; Deforestation; Ecology: history; Ecosystems: overview; Ecosystems: studies; Grazing and overgrazing; Human population growth; Invasive plants; Logging and clear-cutting.

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