Conservation of a species, habitat or ecosystem may be needed because it is at risk of human influences or other pressures. It is also a dynamic process because it must respone to change. It may be for the benefit of people or other organisms.
- Protection of species - laws against hunting blue whale
- Protection of habitats - laws preventing discharge of wastes into rivers
- Restoration or reclamation - erecting sea defences, preventing sand being blown off dunes
- Creating new habitat - digging pond, planting new woodland
- Captive breeding of endangered species - breeding programmes for Hawaiian goose
- Prevention of succession - gazing and/or burning of heath or grassland
- National action - laws preventing destruction of bats and their roots
- International action - convention on international trade in endangered species treaty preventing trade in products such as rhino horn.
Conservation is not the same as preservation. Preservation protects species and/or habitats, while conservation includes the active management needed to maintain or increase biodiversity. Conversation may be needed to counter the effects of modern farming methods.
Many ecosystems provide economically important resources. Sustainable management allows the same area to be exploited indefinitely:
- it does not result in loss in fertility
- the population that is exploited does not become extinct or decline seriously
- biodiversity is maintained - the destruction of other species that share the habitat with the exploited species is avoided.
Unsustainable management results in damage to the habitat and/or depletion of the exploited species, to a point where it no longer provides an economic return, as has happened to cod over much of the North Sea.
Timber has great economic value and is used in construction, as fuel, and in paper manufacture. Some timber is grown on a small scale on agricultural land. These may have developed naturally or may be plantations.