Conservation: Intrinsic value vs extrinsic value

Nowadays it seems like nobody can agree on anything, however it is essentially undisputed in all cultures that animals are pretty darn cute. So, should we just base what animals are conserved on pure cuteness? Lots of species are currently being saved based on cuteness. There are lots of funds to save lions, tigers, and elephants yet, what about the vital giant Chinese salamander. The approach to how we view biodiversity conservation needs to be altered.

Biodiversity conservation is intrinsically and extrinsically valuable. This is apparent in how big of a role ecosystems’ play in our day to day life. I believe that all forms of life serve a purpose and have a right to inhibit this earth. I have found this to be true this to be true because all forms of life have the same factors, all are made of cells, reproduce, evolve, and respond to stimuli.

Intrinsic Value

No matter how small or large a form of life is it should not be exploited. Ecology explains that all forms of life in some way rely on each other as well because of need for energy input through food, chemosynthesis, or sunlight for plants containing chlorophyll. Knowing the sensitivity of today’s ecosystems, we can derive that if one species is exploited then there could be major short term and long-term repercussions.

Image result for bee


An example of this over exploitation would be if bees were to go extinct due to insecticides or prairie loss. This would lead to a short-term repercussion of certain birds overeating other insects and flowers because one of their main food sources has been eradicated. Eventually leading to the insects that birds move their primary focus too as the before the bees were extinct they weren’t being ate at such a rapid rate, causing them to go extinct as well because they weren’t prepared for the rapid turnaround of being consumed. Long term outcomes associated with extinction of bees could include lack of pollination of flowers, leaving very few methods of pollination to occur especially in places where bees are prevalent.

These ecosystems are delicate and with biodiversity each species serves an important role in its given system which, as in the example previously provided, suffer without a given species. This, in my opinion is much more important than the effects on just humans. However, there is extrinsic value to ecosystems as well.

Extrinsic Value

In the current society there is a need for monetary backing to any decision made globally, federally, or locally. Sadly, this carries over into the environmental world. A large movement is being pursued to be able to put an actual value on environmental goods. These movements allow for nature’s value to be quantified and therefore, given to governmental regulators as an explanation of why our earth is worth protecting. Quantified facts will hopefully progress the movement for global conservation further, as the numerous articles written on its purpose have shown very little progression in our federal government.

An example of extrinsic values would be in Borneo. An amazing island near Sumatra that has major deforestation and poaching issues. The removal of natural habitats is leading to many of the islands famous species becoming endangered. Borneo is the largest exporter for the palm oil industry. The country continues to destroy habitats to further the palm oil industry. But is it worth it? The palm oil industry in Borneo is worth around billion dollars a year. 56% of the tropical forests have been destroyed and this number continues to increase. If these forests are converted to the palm oil farms then, soil, due to lack of biodiversity, will be depleted of its nutrients and nothing else will be able to grow. This will lead to not only eradication of precious species, but no other flora life will be able to thrive. These are the factors that go into the process of weighing extrinsic values.


Think green friends!


Dylan Dixon


2 thoughts on “Conservation: Intrinsic value vs extrinsic value

  1. I agree with you completely Dylan – especially about the focus on major vs supposedly minor species. Hopefully we are not alone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Luckily conservation is a rising movement and I believe we are not alone! I am hoping we all get to see changes arise in our time, Thanks for reading Tina.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close