OXFORDSHIRE NATURE CONSERVATION FORUM

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Biodiversity

Stewardship

Man has been the chief cause of the recent dramatic rise in the rate of extinction, partly through ignorance and partly through greed. We have more power over other life on the planet than any other species; this power brings the responsibility to care for our planet.

Species that have evolved over millions of years may be lost very quickly and cannot be re-created.

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Moral Obligation

The culture of a nation is closely allied to its landscapes and wildlife; poets, painters, writers and composers have been inspired by the nature around them.
We should hand on to the next generation an environment no less rich than the one we ourselves inherited and should conserve species and habitats because they enrich our lives.
A culture that respects wildlife and the environment encourages respect for individuals and for human life.

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Benefits to Society

Natural habitats perform important functions e.g. flood plains act as natural valves for rivers in flood; woods and hedges act as wind breaks; vegetation provides good protection against erosion on hills.
There are many potential medicinal benefits from nature and our knowledge is limited so it makes sense to preserve as many species as possible; for example some plants promise potential cures for different forms of cancer.
A rich environment is important to people’s physical and psychological health.
The wealth of habitats and species is a valuable indicator of the health of the planet.

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Economic Value

Much of the countryside in the UK is of great beauty and is a focus for recreation and tourism.
Many species have direct economic value e.g. as food, building materials, fuel, clothing. Improved breeds are developed using genetic material from wild relatives; we will need to keep going back to this pool of wild material.
Biodiversity also provides a more indirect, economically valuable service e.g. water and soil conservation, climate and weather moderation, pollution control.

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