What Is Sustainable Conservation?

Marlene de Wilde
Marlene de Wilde
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Sustainable conservation is the approach to conservation that combines protecting the environment while benefiting businesses economically. It includes habitat conservation, wildlife conservation and resource conservation which all tend to suffer under traditional industry and agriculture practices. The goal of sustainable conservation is to reduce pollution, erosion, use of agrochemicals and greenhouse gas emissions without impacting profitability over the long term.

There may be a short-term economical impact on industries, farms and other businesses which choose to follow the sustainable conservation model as investment in innovative research and ideas takes time and money. However, a growing number of industries recognize that any further exploitation of resources without replacing them will ultimately result in loss of profits. For example, sustainable agriculture addresses concerns such as topsoil depletion, groundwater contamination, increasing costs of production and the negative impact of pesticides and other chemicals on health. Should these problems be allowed to continue unchecked, the access to resources by future generations will be severely limited.

In order to be effective, sustainability must be applied to the three areas of the environment, society and economy. A more environmentally sustainable future can only be achieved by making pro-active, strategic decisions affecting these areas. More efficient management of natural resources as well as human resources are of prime importance to those involved in sustainable conservation. The success of one to the detriment of another would be damaging in the long run.

Where traditional practices are found to be harmful to the environment, these are replaced by technological innovations in the effort not only to protect the environment but also to encourage industry growth and address workforce needs. This applies not only to rural farming regions but also to urban areas. The rapid growth of cities and the increasing impact on health and the environment has resulted in innovations such as urban agriculture and 'greening' rooftops. In rural areas, modern agriculture is dependent on non-renewable energy sources which cannot be indefinitely sustained. A gradual reduction in the reliance on these sources and the replacement of them with renewable sources is an economically feasible and logical move.

Alternative and green technologies are being used in industries such as engineering, nanotechnology, chemistry, waste disposal and water management. Sustainable conservation is also of increasing importance in industries such as tourism where ecotourism is becoming a popular choice for many travelers. Cooperation across sectors could be the only way for many of the earth's resources to be available for future generations.

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