Ecological situation in the world
Nowadays a lot of attraction is paid to ecological situation in the world. And its reasons are well understood. The reasons to speak about it are not necessary to be named. Everybody knows them quite well. The human progress together with the development of technology is causing a great influence of the global ecosystem, changing it forever.
As the Mornington Peninsula and Western Port Biosphere Project e-bulletin states in it’s beginning: “The global rate of resource consumption exceeds the level the planet can sustain by 20 per cent, according to an analysis published on the weekend by the US National Academy of Sciences.” (Second Edition April 2003)
There are not that many virgin lands on the earth where people can definitely say how that areas had looked before, because the influence of human on world system of nature has changed many places to no possibility of being recognized:
“These unprecedented rates of growth, which could have alarming effects on the environment and the life support system of the planet, have renewed the debate about the future prospects for human societies.
The high rates of economic and industrial development that accompanied population growth in the twentieth century fed fears about depletion of resources and fouling of the land, air, biota, and water in nearly all parts of the globe.” (Growing Populations, Changing Landscapes: Studies from India, China, and the United States (2001) National Academy of Sciences, p.1)
Even knowing the serious out-comes of the realities of modern time people still try no think about these problems, and find a lot of reasons for escaping for the core of this question:
“Most people on the planet worry only about their own families and some close friends, and only for a short period. A few people think about problems of their city or country. D. Meadows expects that more than 90 percent do not think about future millenniums. Billions of people wish to satisfy their requirements immediately and behave on the Earth as if the future does not concern them. They readily waste natural resources, pollute the natural environment, and are hostile to each other.” (The Role of Environmental NGOs–Russian Challenges, American Lessons: Proceedings of a Workshop (2001), p.2)
At the curtain point of development the world authorities began to think about what is going to be in future, and may be there will come a day when society will realize that there is not that much they can do to preserve and keep at least rare example of virgin nature, as the example of nature’s harmony and symbiosis.
The biggest achievement had been reached in 1992, when in Rio de Janeiro the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development brought these issues and concerns to the attention of the world’s leaders. The Conventions on Biological Diversity, Global Climate changes and desert expansion had been agreed to show the anxiety about environment, nature protection issues, social policy that will reflect the respect for the rural communities and will give them more opportunities for development as well as more cooperation on ecologically related issues. All these were lately named by the term “sustainable development”.
As the past years have shown the conception of :sustainable develop” is opening new horizons in the activity of the mankind and his symbiosis with environment, as by the facts of the last years we see that care about environment also generates the alarm for future generations that will have to use the resources left after ourselves.
The foundation of Biosphere Reserves goes far back to 1968, when a “biosphere conference” was organized by UNESCO, to discuss the coming global problems of natural resources exploitation and future development of ecological monitoring. This was the first attempt to establish Biosphere reserves in the regions of high ecological importance for the global community.
Biosphere reserves are special territories with ecosystems that hadn’t feel a lot of human’s influence and are very close or are as natural as they had been before the appearance of humans. They represent an important subject of concern both of public and scientific, as they can be considered to be “as living laboratories” that show the high, natural level of interaction both of animal world, with flora, land and natural phenomena.
Biosphere reserves are recognized by world authorities and they are under the jurisdiction of the countries, on which territories they are situated. The unity and integrity of these territories is guaranteed and protected by the laws of each particular country.
Every biosphere reserve has a purpose of fulfilling the following functions:
A conservation function which is the most essential, as its duty is to preserve the ecosystem in the way it had existed for a long time;
A development function answers for the development of human interaction with nature, improving the natural processes and promoting preservation of it as well as playing an educating role in human’s consciousness about the importance of keeping nature preserved;
And the last one the logical function which has it’s duty to secure and guarantee the research, constant study of the ecological system, its monitoring and scientific cooperation with specialists from another countries.
Biosphere reserves are divided into three major areas: which are the core zone, the buffer zone and transitional area.
It’s essential for the core area to be correctly established and be protected by the laws, so that it’ll be guaranteed a long-term protection to the whole ecosystems including flora, fauna, environment and entrails. Understandably it should not be the object of the man’s activity because any influence of the weak chain of ecosystem can be the result of future constant damaging to the whole system. The only activity that can be allowed is exploration and scientific monitoring of the natural processes that take place in the environment.
Buffer zones are defined as the areas that surround the core zones, or that are situated very closed to the core areas. The activities that are allowed in such areas don’t prohibit human activity, but more over they are directed on the conservation of nature and scientific research, to explore the natural vegetation conditions, animals monitoring and care, etc. These areas can be used for educational purposes, recreation and leisure as well as for tourism.
An outer transition area can be used for the basic needs of rural settlements. It’s often the areas used for agriculture, farming, and rural settlements. The conditions allow here more freedom of activities than in other areas of the biosphere reserve but still leave an important place for nature monitoring and protection. Outer transitional areas are the subject for the cooperation of both local communities as farmers and scientific authorities and ecologists for the development of the management strategies for both improving the rural conditions of life and development of communities as well as for taking measures to protect the environment and it’s the subject of further hard work of seeking for desired balance between nature and human expansion.
This zonation division is used in various ways in the real world to adjust geographical, social and cultural particularities, as well as legal protection of the environment and to find probable ways of solutions for many environmental issues. The abilities of zonations to adjust and adopt new conditions allow the integrated functioning of the biosphere reserve. Dividing the territories into such zones of different level of protection people at the same time are trying to use those territories left for agriculture and farming in the most rational way, as well as to do the best to study and explore territories under protection for future proper functioning and solving issues that have any kind of damage to the ecosystems on the early stages of their spread and development.
In the most of cases countries that have agreed to establish biosphere reserves are developing their ecological legislature, make it more flexible for different changes and in the whole they are trying to make more perfect the system of relations regulations on the level of the country so that every citizen will experience the duties and responsibilities for nature protection.
At the same time this legislature may also refer to the private property as some territories in buffer zones of biosphere reserves can be the subject of someone’s ownership. So there will be a big dilemma of whether these lands will or not be transformed into transitional territories.
As I’ve mentioned above the need in biosphere reserves is obvious. The main advantage of these territories that by guaranteeing security from the side of the state and law it’s much easier and more reliable to save the biological diversity left on our planet. The measures taken by the biologists and other scientists who work in the ecology related sphere of science are able to foresee, monitor and prevent any abnormalities in the world of wild nature, and at the same time to give some kind of assistance to the damaged species and make the most desirable conditions for their protection.
The regulation measures that will be taken by government and ecological authorities will guarantee the safety of the ecosystem and will make more rely on the environment. The healthy ecosystems that are the subject of maintenance for the ecological authorities will be the guaranty of health for the people who inhabit the surrounding territories of the biosphere reserves.
The idea of the biosphere reserves also give a lot of soil to think about alternatives to natural resources as well as enough soil to think about their rational exploitation. As this idea units a great number of specialists in ecology and those who exploit the natural resources in transitional areas, it opens new opportunities for cooperation and penetration of new technologies to farming and agriculture that will minimize the influence on the environment.
Biosphere reserves give a wide range of opportunities for people who are settled near such territories. First of all it’s ecologically save territory, so that they don’t have to vary a wide range of ecology caused problems, the care of such reserves will require new working places, making these regions more economically stable. The investments into environment will develop the infrastructure of such communities as well as the development of tourism and appearance of new recreation facilities will again make a demand in workers. The growing stability will be the guaranty of future development of such territories and will reduce the level of immigration which often happens in rural areas.
The new legislature and measures of regulation will make the farmers and exploitations of natural resources of close lands think about more rational usage of natural wealth as well as to accept new safe methods of soil fertilization, regulated fishing and hunting and reasonable exploitation of water resources.
Scientists can benefit as much as the nature itself can give them the opportunities for its studying and monitoring. Because of the financial opportunities given to the development of research in biosphere reserves, scientist can take the most advantage from their experimental and scientific work. The experiments and well as monitoring that will be made on such territories will help to better understand the biological and ecological processes that acquire in the world of wide life and it will be the opportunity to make the entire picture of biological processes that take place on the territories with no human influence. It will be helpful in the realization and finding of the new ways to improve the biological and ecological situation in on other territories as well.
The entire world community will get a big benefit also. The educational opportunities and experience of cooperation of science, man and ecology will be very valuable for future generations. Through the spread of mass media the big number of people will get basic literacy of nature treatment and will change their consciousness in the way of anxiety about future generation, not only themselves. The experience of managing these biosphere reserves of one country will be a good soil and basement for the start of environment policy and nature protection of another country and so on. The fact that a lot of countries begin to show the worry about ecological situations on their territories and their readiness to cooperate with global community shows that this very actual problem has been heard about and definitely is starting to be solved. The facts from report of the bureau of the international co-ordinating council of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere program are the good proof of it:
“A note on the number of biosphere reserves. In the Council session, you will recall we added two new sites respectively in Poland and in Ukraine. The Council had recommended that work be continued to join theses sites and a potential West Polesie TBR with a third country, Belarus. A meeting will be held in Minsk next month to design a project which will help this recommendation become reality. In May, the Bulgarian authorities asked the Secretariat to remove one site which has been subsumed under a larger protected area, in a countrywide process which will lead inter alia to the review of all Bulgarian sites designated as biosphere reserves. Thus we now have 408 biosphere reserves in 94countries. Members may also be interested to know that I have received a letter from the Head of the Government of Andorra, indicating that his government wishes to explore applying the biosphere reserve concept and design to their whole country. This will be an exciting and interesting project, in which we may develop some new perspectives.”
A good example of biosphere reserve is Seberut. It’s situated in Indonesia and is one of Mentawai islands. Seberut is characterized by the unique rainforest that is not so spread in the world and a variety of endemic animal species (species that are not found anywhere else on our planet). The reasons for its protection are well understood. But for years the north part of the island was a subject to unreasonable and hard exploitation because of rich oil fields and forest felling.
Now the island is under the protection of ecologists. New measure had coursed a lot of changes in the life of the islanders. New development program involves the development of market-trading of agro-forest products, the development of recreation and river transportation. In future the development of Seberut will be put on new stage of cooperation of man and nature.
Making a conclusion I can say that the protection of natural resources is a very essential problem of modern time. If it won’t be solved now or at least won’t be started solving now the outcomes of the irrational exploitation of land will be able to cause ecological catastrophe in future. And we have to start solving this problem by changing mostly the conception of personal attitude towards the environment.
An important role in the forming of people’s consciousness has to be done by the governmental and public organizations, because their influence and connection with common people is more close and clear than that one of the countries government and agencies. As N.P.Tarasova (Russian Academy of Sciences) writes in “The Role of Environmental NGOs–Russian Challenges, American Lessons: Proceedings of a Workshop (2001)”:
“According to J. Mayer, an initiator of the Talloires group University Presidents for a Sustainable Future, the number of people who are able to analyze global social forecasts does not exceed one thousand. These people do everything possible to save the planet. Nongovernmental organizations should play a key role in realization of scientific principles by the general public. As a matter of fact, they are an example of self-organization of human society and a response to the changes in nature and in the social environment. So I should like to express a hope for identification and articulation of future directions as a result of cooperation among our workshop members representing a wide spectrum of nongovernmental and scientific organizations” (The Role of Environmental NGOs–Russian Challenges, American Lessons: Proceedings of a Workshop (2001), p.2)
The example of rainforests of course is at least something done, but the whole problem is more global and new ways of it’s changing and improving of life conditions have to be done already now.
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