Effect on biodiversity

The concentration of the world's biodiversity is more in developing nations. The nine major natural diversity centres are Ethiopia, the Mediterranean, Asia Minor, Central Asia, India-Burma, China, Siam-Malaysia-Java, Mexico-Guatemala and Peru-Ecuador-Bolivia (Starr and Hardy, 1993). Private investments in biodiversity-rich nations have led to bioprospecting, which involves screening the biological diversity for commercially valuable genetic and biochemical resources. Bioprospecting arguably results in commercializing access for biodiversity, and thus creates an incentive for developing countries to preserve their flora and fauna. Supporters of bioprospecting argue that it enhances biotechnology and agricultural productivity. On the other hand, developing nations argue that biotechnology can lead to monocultures divorced from 'nature', which historically has destroyed biodiversity by resulting in unintended consequences such as soil erosion (Horsch and Fraley, 1998). Developing nations, while aware that aggressive private sector bioprospecting can deplete biodiversity resources, are keen on capitalizing from the growth of the biotechnology industry that relies increasingly on biodiversity. Hence, these nations prefer flexibility to introduce a nation-specific PBRs regime that advances their national agendas with reference to the use of biodiversity materials.

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