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Conserving biodiversity is a long-term enterprise. One means of conserving biodiversity is through the creation of biological reserves, whether they be national or private. These reserves must remain intact for thousands of years to be meaningful in protecting species from extinction. If possible, they must also include surrounding buffer zones and be connected, through a network of biological corridors, to other reserves and/or conservation areas in the region. In the past decades, many tropical rain forest reserves have been created worldwide, through great effort and involving many individuals and organizations. However, the most difficult part of the work lies ahead.

Creating biodiversity reserves is only the first step. The necessary conditions must be created that will ensure their long-term survival. Although we cannot hope to manipulate events thousands of years in the future, we must recognize the challenge now and move in what appear to be the most promising directions.

It is critical that the surrounding human populations want the reserves to exist or the land will eventually be converted to other uses. A powerful means of creating an interest group is through economic incentives. Ways must be found to create a ``conservation economy'' through the use of intact rain forest.

Thomas S.Ray
Tue Aug 1 16:54:18 JST 1995