Introduction

An increase in awareness of the importance of the environment and the threats it is facing, as well as an appreciation for the value of ecological, economic, and social services it provides, has led to rising concerns about biodiversity conservation. Biodiversity is an environmental good, as well as an indicator of the presence of other environmental goods, and thus its conservation has assumed great importance in the effort to improve environmental management and ecosystem health. Since much of the most valuable and threatened biodiversity resources are located in developing countries, policies to promote conservation and sustainable use frequently have to be studied within the context of economic development. This chapter discusses some of the major issues related to biodiversity conservation and sustainable use. We will especially focus on agricultural biodiversity, and specifically crop genetic diversity, picking up and amplifying themes raised in other chapters in this volume. In section 2 we discuss various categories of biodiversity conservation and their implications for conservation priorities. Section 3 looks at the different objectives that conservation programs may have and the types and recipients of conservation values. In section 4 we describe various types of program and policy mechanisms through which conservation may be obtained, with section 5 providing a discussion of the most likely and effective payment mechanisms associated the varying means of conservation. In section 6 we focus on issues of efficient targeting and management of conservation funds. We conclude the analysis in section seven.

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