It is because man is an intelligent being, capable of selecting an optimum strategy from a variety of opportunities that conservation of the biosphere has a chance of success.
Conservation can be an emotive topic, involved as it is with ethics, behaviour, rights of non-human creatures, landscapes; but when stripped of such emotives, conservation becomes concerned with one issue-survival. Can man be so ignorant of his future well-being that the ignores the need to incorporate a conservation attitude into his life style?
A conservation policy based upon subjective, emotive reasons has no chance of success. On the other hand, conservation based upon well-founded, ecological arguments can present a logical and inevitable strategy with which to counter the trend towards the incessant growth which has so far been a hall-mark of man’s civilization.
If a conservation attitude is to become an integral part of men’s survival kit then it is essential that we understand what the biosphere comprises, how it influences our well-being and why some of the past actions of mankind have led to its disrepair.
Individual species, let alone individual organisms, make use of only very small and usually specific parts of the biosphere. The amalgamation of the individual components of atmosphere, lithosphere and hydrosphere provide distinctive physical conditions which comprise ‘habitats’ which in turn, can be colonised by specific groupings of plants and animals.
All the species which exist in habitat ‘A’ will have similar requirements for survival. Some of the inhabitants of habitat ‘A’ may also be able to survive in different habitats e.g., ‘B’, ‘C’ or ‘D’ but it is extremely unlikely that all inhabitants of ‘A’ will be able to find one other mutually acceptable habitat. In other words, if habitat ‘A’ will be lost. Individual species may also be lost if no suitable alternative habitates are available.
To summarise: biosphere change (whether natural or induced by man) can bring about several different results:
1. If a specific habitat is destroyed the species agglometration within that habitat is lost.
2. Species from the lost habitat can regroup (but in different combinations) in different habitats.
3. If no suitable local habitat exists then species may become ‘homeless’ and they cease to exist (they become extinct).