Land Preservation

Protectors of Biodiversity

In order to truly address the individual needs of a hotspot, there must be someone in charge of and familiar with each hotspot who can make the right decisions for the land. These people will play a role similar to the roles that park rangers, forest wardens, and Department of Fish and Game officials play today. Each hotspot will be assigned a group of these people. The members of this group will be called Protectors of Biodiversity (POBs). These POBs will create a management plan for their hotspot, which will include suggestions as to what activities should be allowed within the hotspot. A similar system is currently in place in Australia. There, the Director of National Parks creates a management plan for each Commonwealth reserve. This plan is then approved by Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, and is valid for up to 10 years (Marine Protected Areas, 2011). Charging each hotspot to a different group of POBs allows this plan to be used on a worldwide scale.

Basic duties of Protectors of Biodiversity

Qualifications of Protectors of Biodiversity

Since each hotspot will have a group of Protectors of Biodiversity, at least a portion of them should have formal scientific training, while native POBs can be taught methods in the field. This will create a balance among the three qualifications desired for Protectors of Biodiversity.

Many countries – such as America, Australia, and India - already have people who fulfill some or all of the jobs assigned to Protectors of Biodiversity. These countries will be able to make the transition to a new method of hotspot protection relatively easily, as they have already allocated resources to their version of POBs. In countries that do not have the funds or infrastructure to pay for Protectors of Biodiversity, funding will be provided by the International Committee on Biodiversity. We suggest that POBs be paid through a combination of governmental and international organizations rather than by people who use or visit the land. This should help prevent corruption (e.g., bribes by people who desire special access to resources, reduction of land regulations, etc.)

For many undeveloped nations, protecting biodiversity is not a high priority. However, these nations often contain much of the world's undisturbed biodiversity. More developed nations are able to place a higher value on nature and biodiversity. In order to compensate for this discrepancy, several countries have created treaties in which one country pays a poorer one to preserve its biodiversity. In 2009, Norway and Guyana signed an agreement through which Norway will pay up to 250 million USD to Guyana. This money will go to the people living in Guyana's forests and is intended to reduce harmful emissions and help preserve the forests (Conservation International, 2011). Agreements such as these give economically stable countries that may not contain many hotspots of their own a way to contribute to the preservation of global biodiversity.

Protectors of Biodiversity may be given power in two different ways. In more developed countries, they will be employed and given authority their by government. As government backed officials, Protectors of Biodiversity will wield more power than the average citizen. POBs will be able to issue fines for violation of policies, and report noncompliance to the law enforcement officials.

In less developed countries, there may be no infrastructure in place for a system of governmental employment and fines to work. Instead, we propose a system by which people are encouraged to follow the advice of POBs through a system of incentives. People living on hotspots who follow the regulations will receive extra aid from charities concerned with biodiversity. This aid may take the form of food, education, medicines, or other basic necessities. This system performs the dual purpose of giving native people incentives to follow direction by POBs (since violating regulations would result in a loss of aid) and showing them how to function without using the non-sustainable practices on which they had previously depended. In addition, people will be educated on the way that biodiversity benefits their lives and on more sustainable methods of survival that are economically beneficial. This will give them additional incentives to follow regulations.

Incentives are much harder to implement in more developed countries. Since people are less concerned with survival, finding an incentive that convinces every individual that respecting biodiversity is a worthwhile goal but is not possible. However, more people in developed countries are in a position which allows them to devote efforts to issues - like biodiversity preservation - that are not relevant to their survival. As such, many people in more developed countries care enough about nature and biodiversity to want to preserve hotspots for the sake of the benefit of the world. Still, this will not be the case for every person. To address this, we propose a system of fines rather than monetary incentives. Fines serve the same purpose as incentives and are less logistically complicated, given that an infrastructure for collecting fines is already in place.

In order to further limit corruption, each hotspot will be subject to monitoring by the International Committee on Biodiversity. This assessment will ensure that Protectors are doing their jobs properly by assessing the effectiveness of protections and using various metrics to evaluate the biodiversity within the hotspot.

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