Conservation is defined as the planned, control exploitation or judicious use of natural resources to ensure their continuous availability and to preserve the quality or original nature of the environment. In other words, conservation is the preservation of natural resources from loss, waste or exploitation through rational use and to ensure their continued use or availability and preserve the quality or original nature of the natural resources.
NEED OR REASONS FOR CONSERVATION
- To prevent destruction of natural environment or to allow for continued use of natural resources for man’s benefits.
- To preserve rare and valuable species of plants and animals for the future generation or to save them from extinction or permanent destruction.
- To preserve naturally beautiful sceneries for their aesthetic values.
- To promote the recycling of some scarce mineral resources, e.g. water.
- To prevent the destruction of natural ecosystem; this will allow the organisms in the ecosystem to survive.
- Forest which provides medicinal materials must be conserved to ensure easy availability and continued existence.
- Natural resources, e.g. wild life, forest and minerals provide basis for research purposes.
NATURAL RESOURCES THAT NEED TO BE CONSERVED
Natural resources that need to be conserved include wildlife, water, forest, soil, air and mineral resources.
METHODS OF CONSERVING WILDLIFE
- Establishment of game or forest reserves.
- Establishment of zoological gardens. Control of hunting to prevent extinction of some animal species
- Prohibition of killing or poaching of animals in game reserves.
- Prohibition of bush burning as this may lead to migration or displacement of wildlife.
- Prohibition of deforestation and encouragement of afforestation or reafforestation.
- Creation of awareness on the values of wildlife.
- Prevention of pollution to prevent the destruction of aquatic life.
METHODS OF CONSERVING WATER
- Trapping or storage of water in tanks or wells.
- Damming of rivers to allow for more effective management of water.
- Treatment and recycling of used water.
- Saving of water by prompt repair of burst pipes or turning off taps immediately after use.
- Tree planting which provides vegetation cover and reduces evaporation and promotes water retention.
- The existence of vegetation also brings about the formation of rainfall.
- Prevention of water pollution by sewage and chemical from industries and homes.
METHODS OF CONSERVING FOREST
- Cutting of trees without destroying the undergrowth.
- Reafforestation or encouraging the planting of trees.
- Prevention of bush burning or careless forest fires.
- Prevention of plant pests and diseases.
- Establishment of forest reserves.
- Educating the public on the value of forests and the importance of conservation.
METHODS OF CONSERVING SOIL
- Prevention of over-grazing which may cause soil erosion.
- Prevention of indiscriminate felling of trees or deforestation which exposes the soil to erosion.
- Adoption of better farming practices, e.g. crop rotation so as to prevent erosion, leaching, water logging or acidity.
- Prevention of pollution of land so as not to destroy useful soil organisms.
- Avoidance of clean clearing which may expose the soil to erosion.
- Prevention of bush burning which may expose the soil to erosion.
METHODS OF CONSERVING AIR
- Prevention of effluents from factories or factory chimneys which may pollute the air or cause acid rain.
- Prevention of fumes from automobile or thermal plants which may affect aerial life or render air unfit for organisms.
- Proper treatment and disposal of sewage.
- Proper burning of wastes so as to prevent smoke or soot from polluting the air.
- Proper disposal of dust from construction sites which may cause air pollution.
METHODS OF CONSERVING MINERAL RESOURCES
Mineral resources, unlike other resources, are non-renewable resources because once they are exhausted, they cannot be replaced hence they need to be conserved. The methods of conserving mineral resources are:
- There should be legislation against indiscriminate mining of mineral resources.
- Effective and efficient extraction methods of mining should be adopted to prevent wastages.
- There should be effective and efficient utilisation of available mineral resources for man’s use.
- Over-dependence on a particular mineral resource should be discouraged as this can lead to the depletion of such mineral resource.
- There should be proper pricing of mineral resources and their by-products to ensure maximum value for the mineral products.