Biological diversity is a vital resource for human beings, both for the global community, for each nation and more so for communities. It is at the heart of economic productivity and livelihood today and its conservation and rational use are an absolute necessity to achieve sustainable development.
addition, its protection and maintenance is an insurance policy for future
generations – even forms of life that may appear to provide no human benefit
now may become important as conditions change over the coming centuries.
both wild and domesticated components of biodiversity, humanity derives all of
its food and many of its medicines and industrial products. Economic benefits
from wild species alone make up an estimated 4.5% of GDP of industrialized
countries such as the USA. For less developed countries this proportion can be
current commercial value of domesticated plant and animal species is even
greater – for example in Philippine
agricultural production accounts for up to 15 % of GDP. Many benefits,
particularly in less developed countries, may not be well represented in purely
economic terms but are nonetheless critical for peoples livelihoods.
example, in the uplands of the Philippines
three out of four people look to wildlife for most of their protein and
for almost 80% of people in developing countries traditional medicines from the
wild form the basis of primary health care.
diversity in its totality forms the living biosphere in which human beings,
along with all other species, inhabit and depend upon for their survival. In
the remote past, human actions were trivial when set against the dominant
processes of nature. This is no longer true and as the human race approaches
the close of the 21st Century it is clear from threats of climate change,
desertification, land degradation, etc., that at both a national and global
level we are using up and destroying the very basis of our future survival.
indigenous peoples of the Cordillera, biodiversity is as important as land and
water. Yet, it is sad that while many advocates of indigenous rights clamor for
land and water source ownership, many indigenous peoples themselves are now
part of those who are destroying biodiversity. The old traditional systems that
used to protect biodiversity is being lost and it may not be long before these
are totally forgotten.
Michael A. Bengwayan wrote for the British Panos News and Features and GEMINI
News Service, the Brunei Times, and US Environment News Service. In the
Philippines, he wrote for DEPTHNews of the Press Foundation of Asia, Today, the
Philippine Post, and Vera Files. A practicing environmentalist, he holds
postgraduate degrees in environment resource management and development studies
as a European Union (EU) Fellow at University College, Dublin, Ireland. He is
currently a Fellow of Echoing Green Foundation of New York City. He now writes
for Business Mirror and Eurasia Review.