By Dr. Satyendra Nath Maitra (Ex-Associated Professor in Zoology, A. P. C College New Barrackpore, Guest Faculty at State University, A. P. C College in Rahorah, V.C. College for PG in Botany)
This very term of Conservation biology is not much archaic one rather this concept was originated from the convening of “ The First International conference on Research in Conservation Biology “ that was held at the University of California, San Diego in La Jolla, California in 1978 by American Biologist Bruce A Wilcox and Michael E Soule in association with a group of leading University and Zoo researchers and conservationists including Kurt Benirschke, Sir Otto Frankel, Thomas E Lovejoy and Jared M Diamond .
The meeting expressed deep concern about the rapid tropical deforestation leading to disappearing of species in addition to eroding genetic diversity within species. Afterwards the proceedings of the conference expressed to sought World’s united initiation to bridge a gap between theory in Ecology and Evolutionary genetics in one hand and the Conservation policy and practice on the other hand. After this very conference the conservation Biology and the Biological diversity ( generally known as” Biodiversity”) emerged together to help for the crystallization of the modern era of Conservation Science and Policy. The inherent complexities of the entire process of both Conservation Biology and the Biological Diversity correctly manifested by multidisciplinary paradox as a consequence this has led to some new sub- disciplinarians that include Conservation social Science, Conservation behavior and conservation Physiology. Most lately that was stimulated to evolve as the Conservation Genetics which was initiated and consolidated by Otto Frankel first but now a days this is also considered as a sub – discipline of the Conservation Biology and the Biodiversity.
This above prognosis can be an enough reason for hovering of all thoughts, particularly of those people around the World who are having a bit of idea about the progression of the evolutionary biology for the last 2.5 to 3.5 billion of years on this earth of all organisms, for facing uncountable sleepless nights. Really this very topic is so vast, complex and intertwined disciplined and at the same time the emerging consequences has been destined to be highly detrimental and destructive for all the organic life on Earth in general and the man in particular within near future.
It is really very difficult to address this topic for an individual people even of a group of people and even still for an individual country rather it needs a completely united face of the entire Global effort with greatest honesty but human’s inherent hypocrisy is the most hiderent to it. Now let us have some light shading on the topic to express my own idea gathered for the last about 40 years in course of my teaching and learning the Biological sciences and its interaction with the Nature and the Natural selection.
As a student of Genetics and the Evolutionary Biology I intensely observe that the entire gamut of the organic evolutionary process is a very complex, intertwined interactive that started from coacervet formation and got culminated, of course visually, to the homo sapiens that is we the today’s self thought all pervading, the’ man and that required about 2.5 to 3.5billions of years, of course we the man has been able to device out to calculate the entire course of evolutionary happenings occurred for the last 5 billion of years or so though man has kept his foot on this earth just 2 lacks of year ago from now. That means Nature taught the man all the technicalities to device this unbelievable task within this period. Before going to the subject proper first of all let us divide this earth as pre-human and post human condition. Various evidences now suggest that the eukaryotic evolution ( nucleated cells above the bacterial population) started somewhere from about 1.5 billion years ago from now with the emergence of single celled plants with chlorophyll and that was the beginning of the environment formation where from free oxygen was available prior to which that was a reducing one without any free oxygen. After that within a few million of years single celled protozoa was evolved where from the today’s Nature started taking shape gathering all pervading power as Natural Selection where any evolved genetic combination can stay or not to stay, the main principle was adopted, for the progression of further Biological complexities on this Earth.. Afterwards the more complex forms of plants and animals started evolving under the direct control of the Natural Selection and for the last 550 millions of years or so was the crucial to produce intensely interactive complexities with an emergence of sustainable balance between O2 and Co2 balance by means of O2 production by green plants for the use of animals and vice versa for CO2 between plants and animals respectively Ultimately within this evolutionary progression about 6 to 7 million years ago mammals were very much abundant in African peninsular region most probably a congenial environment used to be prevailed for the then existing mammalian fauna in this area at that time as a consequence a huge genomic flows were there resulting in to a large number of apes that were evolved within a span of about 10 million of years. All tail less mammals are the apes. They all were quadruped and only about 3.5 million years ago the bipedality was achieved and that was evident by the discovery of some fossil bones of a female bipedal ape at Afar region of Ethiopia in Africa by Anthropologists was named as Australopithecus afarensis but nick name was given as Lucy dating back to 3.3 million years from now which has since been preserved in the British Museum in London. Of course evidence of the first bipedal apes were obtained by an American Anthropologist Mary Leakey in 1978 in Laetoli ,Tanzania by discovering a trail of 70 meter volcanic ash made fossil of foot print having perfect arching of each foot prints of two people dating back to 3.5 million years ago Subsequent Anthropological explorations throughout African peninsula by several Anthropologists unraveled the fact that it is the Africa and only Africa was the stage for Nature’s performing the Human evolutionary theater. Because all the stages sub stages or all sorts of various divergent groups of human evolution were obtained from Africa primarily by their dating of appearances and some of the later forms were obtained from outside Africa. Now it is clear that an ape population Ardipithecus ramidus a perfectly quadruped ape donated the genome for human lineage to give rise to Australopithecus anamnesis. This anamenesis species subsequently gave rise to Australopithecus afarerensis the first bipedal human lineage This very genome had to be modified through about 3.5 to 4 million of years by means of genomic addition, alteration, mutation, deletion and duplication with the help of random gene flow while transmitting through about 8 to 10 species populations in course of the evolution of man. Just before man the Homo ergester which was split to form Homo erectus and then to Homo heidelbergensis. This Homo erectus used to prevail and roam in Africa, Asia and European forests and were cave dweller and survived for about one million years almost overlapping Homo sapiens, All evidences suggest today that this Homo erectus started using of fire lit by stone rubbing as complete and incomplete burnt seeds were obtained from their inhabited caves and at the same time they had started to produce earliest stone weapons. At that time , it is easily be imagined that the environment was not impregnated by anything other than few scanty smokes from food burning at some limited areas of the Globe. The Globe used to be adorned with huge variety of singing Birds, colorful flowers, murmuring springs and rivers creating an all-round united effect where man was only absent.
So after that the man (Homo sapiens) appeared on the Earth just about two lacks of years ago from now. Yes from the beginning, the man was fire user and stone weapons makers. They were gatherer at the beginning followed by hunting that was finally culminated to agriculture r and now they are the combination of all along with super electronic, Super Computer and what not?
No one has to imagine first that how could have been the Global environment prior to the arrival of man and after the arrival of man and especially what could have been the prevailing environment just prior to industrialization at the beginning of eighteen century.
Yes the post industrial era made the man a rapid economic gainer, in terms of earning money and procuring food and other required day to day articles applying comparatively less effort but more comfort and that was the seed of the then human population sowed for all round human development in terms of economic gain with less physical effort and more comfort and safe future gathering. Without any prejudice it can be said that the very period of industrialization marked the beginning of the end of the human existence on this earth. Now it is a fore gone conclusion that the man has to say adieu to this Global environment within the next, may be, a thousand or two thousand years or so. This is not any imagination of mind but with the help of large number of surrounding Bioenvironmental evidences, the above conclusion could be drawn. Most probably political leaders and Religious leaders of the Globe will not be at par with this idea and the gathered knowledge of human fate on this Earth may not be assumed within near future otherwise all of them could have come forward to forge a united face forgetting all the differences, what so ever, exists among them to save human lineage from the total destruction of this earth forever which is the only demand of the hour. Only scientists have been eagerly, of course trying to search out any other alternative human inhabitable place or how to make any place a human habitable where at least some people should sustainably be adaptable to save the human race from total destruction from this universe though it is also too late. Unfortunate enough that scientists required about the last two hundreds of years to understand that Nature cannot be controlled by applying all gathered knowledge by man as the Sun and the core of the Earth are the two factors among many other factors to contribute to form the Nature. Had the scientists been earlier understood the progression of so called civilization would have been probably a bit different allowing at least another one million years or so by that time any alternative arrangement for human rehabilitation could have been possible. Anyhow in this situation conservation has become more important but question remains whether any honest and united face would be possible for the Global conservation or for that matter only country wise conservation board with huge sanctioned money would be dangling as all other Governmental projects.
Actually and really the man is now on a very tricky edge where from he neither can go back nor can go further smoothly for his existence in future.
Conservation means the judicious use of everything that Nature produces otherwise that will exhaust and man has to face the music. Today it is clear that man has over exploited every article of Nature creating imbalances causing various detrimental effects on man in particular and all other live forms in general .Now it appears that man has been necessitated to conserve large number of Natural active and interactive sources for his further sustaining grace time so that man can be rehabilitated in other habitable places for which various scientific explorations have been organizing especially by the NASA scientists for the last fifty years or so.
But on this earth all the ecosystems are under human threat meaning each and every ecosystem can be totally destroyed unless we conserve properly, from today itself, as already it is too late to start conservation, by overpowering the humans’ boundless greed.
All types of Ecosystem conservation: meaning thereby;1. Aquatic ecosystem (both marine and fresh water ecosystem) 2. Terrestrial ecosystem (that includes grass land ecosystem, marshland ecosystem, Forest ecosystem, Desert ecosystem and Terrain ecosystem). 3. Water conservation, 4.Fuel conservation 5. Species conservation (Ex.situ and in situ) 6. Genomic conservation.
For all those conservation every country of this Globe has been organizing National Conservation Board for the several years as it is also present in our country even in each and every state this board gets State’s direct help but, it is really amazing and one can be completely abacked that how many types of ecosystems have been totally destroyed within the last fifty years or so only in India or even one can look at the West Bengal land using scenario even then. Even today large number of ecosystems are being assaulted almost every day and destroyed under the pretext of beatification. It is most unfortunate for us most of us having no idea whatsoever, that even a grass is important for any sustainable ecosystem maintenance. As a result animal-man conflict is on the rise throughout the Globe in general and in India so to say in West Bengal in particular. More over manmade catapulting effect of environment gradually will direct the vicious enmity to be fallen within human population particularly for food, drinking water, agriculture required fresh water, various fuels, day to day useable, and finally a suitable habitable domain resulting in to intense infighting making man more and more selfish and isolated.
For summing up of the entire writing above I would say with all humility that all the World political leaders irrespective of isms and thoughts, all the religious leaders again irrespective of any prejudice or differential philosophic thoughts and all the Corporate groups should come together, without any further delay, to make a policy to render for all round conservations along with the concrete views of different scientists ‘in the fields that is an International Policy of Conservation to save the flora and fauna divergence ( IPCFFD) on earth in general and the man in particular. For which each country would be a member country having an effective branch office in every State capital. Head office may be in full cooperation with UNO. The office bearers should be sent percent honest to their main purpose shunning all sorts of human hypocrisy and implementation of the policies framed by the Experts of conservation must be made without any prejudice. Unless nothing concrete will happen in this regard to conserve this beautiful creation on Earth except National and International lecturers, Seminars, fund utilization but no conservation at any level will progress. That would be realized by the human race after eight to ten generations with saying ‘Our predecessors have ruined this earth without thinking our fates and beyond rather they have only done everything like any other animals on this earth who are completely instinctive only.