Dilemmas

Wetland protection          


Wetland protection

There is a beautiful area of forest and wetland near your town, which is a popular destination for excursions. You have just learned that the local authorities are planning to drain the wetland to create a new residential development. You decide to start a petition to prevent this from happening. Which of the following arguments would you use to explain why the development should be stopped?

Local people will lose one of the few remaining places where they can swim, picnic and pick mushrooms and berries. Besides, the wetland is home to a rare species of amphibian, which is listed in the Red Book of Belarus among the country's endangered species. With the destruction of its habitat, this amphibian would disappear from the region.

Positive

Pros

These are very valid arguments. While it’s true that people will lose access to a natural area for leisure, they should also consider the potential loss of fauna and flora. National legislation and the Red Book include a number of measures to protect biodiversity.

Negative

Cons

It is unlikely that people looking forward to purchasing and moving into a home in this new development will be greatly concerned about the fate of frogs and newts.

Many birds of prey, including birds listed in the Red Book, feed in these woodlands on the birds that nest there. Cutting down the trees would force these birds to move elsewhere and put them under further pressure.

Positive

Pros

Birds of prey are “top predators” and need large territories for hunting. This may be a more compelling argument, as people tend to feel greater concern for larger animals, such as eagles and other large birds of prey.

Negative

Cons

Locals may have a negative view of predatory animals, including birds of prey.

The wetland supports a colony of migrating birds during part of each year, providing one of only a few suitable habitats in Europe. Also, the forest protects the neighbouring lake from shore erosion.

Positive

Pros

Because of the limited number of suitable resting places, migratory waterfowl are very vulnerable when crossing densely populated areas. It may be possible to gain international support for your campaign, as the birds migrate through other countries that do protect their habitats.

Negative

Cons

The local authorities are likely to be far more concerned about housing problems and revenues from the development.