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Nature conservation is a fairly broad term, but it refers to the wise use and protection of natural resources and wildlife. It can take many different forms; everything from creating a law to protect a certain species of animal, to an individual practicing water conservation habits in his or her own home. The beauty of this is that everyone can take steps to help protect the environment, and everyone can make a difference, even if it is small. Some of the most common aspects of conservation are related to land use and protecting biodiversity.
It is important to first recognize the difference between nature conservation and preservation, as the two terms are not interchangeable. Preservation refers to the complete protection of a piece of land or natural resource; for instance, on a preserved forest, no type of land management activities can take place. Conservation, on the other hand, refers to wise and sustainable use of natural resources, focused on preserving the ecosystem and the biodiversity of the area. Using the same example, a conserved forest might be managed for timber, but with a focus on maintaining the integrity of the forest and the habitats it provides.
Many people active in environmental work recognize that nature conservation is the way to go, as in many cases it is the most pragmatic solution, offering benefits to people as well as the environment. One of the most common examples of nature conservation is developing sustainable land-use plans for public lands, or private landowners. This could involve placing conservation easements that restrict development rights on a piece of land, but which allow for certain types of management. This might also include natural resource extraction, timber harvesting, and similar activities. Individuals who do not own land might take steps to conserve in other ways; this may include limiting water use, turning down the thermostat, or carpooling to work, just to name a few.
Other nature conservation acts might take place on a governmental level, everywhere from local municipal governments to national or international governments. This can involve creating laws that make it illegal to hunt certain types of wildlife, to construct homes within certain yardage of a wetland, or to dispose of garbage or hazardous materials improperly. These are just a few of the most common examples of nature conservation activities taking place around the world, but there are plenty more, as well as many non-profit organizations constantly working to conserve land and resources.