Ecosystem Management and Protection Essay

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2009 HSC Essay: An ecosystem is any organic system formed by the interaction of all living organisms with each other and with the physical elements of the environment in which they live. German philosopher Immanuel Kant (a central figure of modern philosophy) wrote that “everything has either a price or a dignity”, and this idea is undeniably reflected in the importance of ecosystems. However, this concept is slightly simplistic in reference to the need for management and protection of such systems. There are, in fact, five main factors which reflect the vitality of global ecosystems: heritage values, utility value, maintenance of genetic diversity, intrinsic value and the need to allow natural change to proceed. Each of these factors is applicable to varying extents depending on the characteristics of the ecosystem at hand, but they are nonetheless the primary elements which represent the importance of the management and protection of ecosystems on the whole. The heritage value (natural and cultural) of some ecosystems, from an international to a local scale, is one of the major reasons for their management and protection. Reflected in “a sense of place or links with the past”, heritage is what gives a society its identity and helps to define its values. Preservation is thus important as otherwise future generations could face a loss of identity and culture stemming from a loss of natural heritage. In light of this, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) was adopted in 1972 as an international cooperation to protect against the destruction of properties with “outstanding universal value” in natural or cultural criteria. Australia has 19 UNESCO World Heritage Listed sites, one of which is Uluru-Kata Tjuta, a national park in central Australia that has been inhabited by its traditional owners (the Anangu people) for over 5000
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