Posted by: bklunk | March 6, 2007

Gopherwood Optional

what would it take for biodiversity to really emerge on the agenda of international politics?

Amphibian ark envisioned « International Relations student

Amphibians lovers are trying to save the amphibians from extinction with the “Amphibian Ark” project. The chytrid fungus is threatening amphibians, mostly frogs. “In the past 10 years, 170 of 6,000 amphibian species have become extinct. Now, 2,000 species are threatened, the scientists said.” Because the species can not be preserved in the wild, the ark project group is asking zoos and aquariums to build facilities to house the 500 endangered species. “Bringing (frogs) into an amphibian ark is really the last option,” Kevin Buley, director of herpetology at Chester Zoo in England and chairman of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria’s amphibian ark told the Times.

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  1. Biodiversity is the diversity of plants and animals species comprising the Earth’s ecosystems. While policies regarding the extinction of certain species tend to be local, the biodiversity of states affects the quality of the environment in other states. However, as countries create policies in order to protect certain species and attempt to enforce them internationally, other states face harsh realities. For instance, the U.S. enacted the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1990 in order to use dolphin –safe methods in U.S. territory. Therefore, the U.S. banned imports of tuna from Mexico and Venezuela, which decreased the tuna fleet and consequentially free trade.
    In the case of the amphibians, other countries may be unable to comply with the efforts to protect them by housing the amphibians in zoos and aquariums. In order to accomplish efforts to protect biodiversity and avoid collective goods and free trade problems, there should be willingness by other countries to compromise, and leniency in types of international law enforcing these policies.

  2. This is a tough issue that unfortunately is interwoven within many other issues as well. Tasha’s example of the Marine Mammal Protection Act is a fantastic example of how a policy protecting biodiversity negatively influenced trade. I thought I would present one specific example of the opposite occurance-a policy positively influencing trade but negatively impacting biodiversity.
    The introduction of Tilapia for farming in Lake Nicaragua was intended to increase prosperity to both the poor areas around the lake and to the country as a whole. The foreign market for this mild white fish was booming and many thought “aquaculture” was the way of the future-in a way it was. It did yield profit and it did increase trade, but introducing an exotic species into a lake has some devastating side effects that went unnoticed in Nicaragua for too long. The aquaculture was poorly regulated and with the introduction of the fish came new diseases and parasites that wreaked havoc on the local ecosystem. Large scale farming could not or would not put much effort into preventing the escape of these larger, specially bred cage fish. Once allowed to prowl open waters, the Tilapia decimated the food supply that resident fish rely on and a number of native species were wiped out by the invader.
    Biological pollution is a key issue in this kind of aquaculture because the farmed fish lead to ecosystem alteration and loss of biodiversity. THIS RUINS THE LAKE!!!! The thing is DYING……How will that increase profit for anyone in the long run???!?!?! International standards for the introduction of non-native species for cultivation require strict safeguards against escape and establishment of the exotic species. The reality is, these safeguards may not even be in place nor even be recommended-a huge failure in both implementation and oversight.
    Ultimately, standards for evironmental policies that help maintain biodiversity should be lenient enough to encourage participation but I think there should be increased international sanctions for not following guidelines and making crappy choices in the name of profit.

  3. Biodiversity is an important issue globally and is becoming more important with the rise in global temperatures. As global temperatures rise, climates and weather patterns change which affects the location of species as well as the species in general. However, it is important to realize that extinction is a natural process. For millions of years, species have been changing and developing, as well as becoming extinct. But in today’s warming world, one can point to humans for extinction. In the case of frogs, they are very afffected by changing environments around them so it is important to protect their environments. I do not believe the problems can be solved by zoos and aquariums. If we put these animals in captivity, we should only have the goal of reintroducing them to the wild, and if we change their environments because of human actions, there is no hope for their future. Other species may develop, but first we must protect their environment.

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