2.1 The environment underpins everything we do. The geology and the soil determine the types of crop that can grow and where it is grown, providing mankind with the foodstuffs necessary for survival. The same foundation also provides the landscape we live in, and the habitats for our wildlife along with the unseen interaction of organisms that occurs between the air, soil and water, all important for human survival.
2.2 In short we need to look after our environment if we are to look after ourselves.
2.3 Nature Conservation is not a new concept – it has been around for many decades, but in 1992 at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro, nature conservation took on a much more strategic, global role.
2.4 The Convention on Biological Diversity signed up to by 159 countries is one of the most significant and far-reaching environmental treaties ever developed. (Heywood and Watson 1995)
2.5 The recognition that mankind is a part of the environment and not separate to it is important. Man is a species living alongside and sharing the planet with other species. These other species have needs and requirements just like us. The Convention on Biological Diversity recognises this and has put into place a framework by which nations around the globe need to address the conservation of habitats and species, including the conservation of natural resources and to take steps to limit the destruction caused by problems such as pollution, deforestation, global warming, etc.
2.6 The Convention on Biological Diversity has three objectives: 1. Conservation of biological diversity. 2. Sustainable use of its components. 3. Fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilisation of genetic resources.
2.7 Each of the 159 nations (including the UK) who signed up to the Convention on Biological Diversity has had to produce national Biodiversity Action Plans which have categorised priority habitats and species important to that nation and state how they will address the conservation of those particular habitats and species.
2.8 In order to effectively conserve these priority habits and species at national level, requires devolved responsibility at county level. Most, if not all counties throughout the UK have now produced Biodiversity Action Plans, and in some cases at a more, local district authority level.
2.9 This Nature Conservation Strate