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Ecosystem Protection and Species Protection

            Resources for biodiversity conservation are always in high demand, and thus are always limited. There has always been the debate on whether we should protect a single species or focus on the ecosystem as a whole at the cost of some species. In certain instances, it does make sense to choose one over the other. However, these two concepts do not have to be mutually exclusive. In fact, working towards the protection of one can serve to protect the other in many cases.
             One of the better known endangered species that protection resources are campaigned for are tigers. In 2010, at the International Tiger Forum in St. Petersburg, over $330 million was raised to protect tigers and help aid in their recovery. However, some have argued that while this is a triumph for conservation efforts, we shouldn't be "cherry-picking" charismatic species. The Head of the World Wildlife Federation's Tigers Alive initiative argues that by protecting tigers we are also helping to protect all of the other species that share their habitat. Because tigers require highly productive ecosystems, as well as a vast area, to survive, protecting one helps to conserve the other [Kar11]. However, the plight of the tiger is not entirely due to habitat loss, as it is with many other endangered species.
             Human activities are currently the major driving force for habitat loss of many species, especially in marine environments. Many marine species and habitats are very sensitive to changes in their environment and require a very strict range of conditions in order to survive. The most notable of these habitats involve coral reef areas. Coral reefs serve as host to a variety of species and play a pivotal role in their ecosystem. Most corals grow very slowly and once damaged take centuries to recover, if they recover at all. There are many different factors that contribute to coral damage; fishing trawls, oil drilling, sediment dispersal.

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