Scientists have identified more than 1.5 million species of organisms in the world. There are many more species-awaiting discoveries. These organisms actually dominate our planet and our lives. The diversity of nature represents a continuous flow of knowledge, resources, beauty, heritage and pleasure. Living organisms exist in natural habitats and ecosystems all over the planet earth. It is known that man is responsible for the decline and the extinction of many plbut and animal species by his continuing damaging effects on nature.
Throughout time, humans affected vegetation cover and species diversity due to interference. Overgrazing, deforestation, and hunting are examples of reasons for the spread of the desert and the extinction of some native animals. Globally, the risk of extinction for all animal and plant species is evaluated against a comprehensive global standard developed by the IUCN Species Survival Commotion. This standard sets thresholds by which species are identified as globally threatened, based on population and/or range size, and rates of decrease in these. This objective enables funds to be targeted at the most important species, sites and habitats for action.
Traditionally, Arabs used to protect natural habitats and prohibit hunting during specific months of the year, which are called " Al Ashhur Al Hurum ". They also developed types of protected areas, which were known as "Hema", even before Islam. During the life of the Prophet Mohammed, the protected areas were well established and managed to reduce overgrazing. The Prophet changed the ancient private hema system, which belonged to selected powerful individuals, into a legal system that protected the natural areas for more communal benefits, and subsequent caliphs followed the same system. Islam prohibited Muslims from killing any animal for the sake of killing and encouraged conservation of nature and the wise utilization of natural reserves.
Biological diversity means the variability among living organisms from all sources including terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part. Biological diversity includes different levels: diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems. The different three levels of biological diversity can be explained as follows:
Genetic diversity: The frequency and diversity of different genes and /or genomes. This includes variation within a population and also between populations.
Species diversity: The frequency and diversity of different species.
Ecosystem diversity: The frequency and variety of different ecosystems.
The history of the Biodiversity Convention goes back to the General Assemblies of the IUCN in 1984 and 1987, when the union recommended exploring the possibilities for a treaty on biological diversity. On the other hand, in 1987, the UNEP Governing Council recognized the need for international efforts to protect biological diversity. More efforts by the international organizations led to the adoption of the global Convention on Biological Diversity on 22 May 1992 in Nairobi. Later, in the same year, more than 150 states including the GCC states signed the convention at the UN Conference on Environment and Development in Brazil.
Maintaining biological diversity at different levels can only be reached by the conservation of the identifiable populations. This can be carried out either on site (in- situ) or off site (ex-situ). The Biodiversity Convention recognizes in-situ conservation as the primary approach for biodiversity conservation. The establishment of protected areas system can achieve this. Ex-situ conservation includes cultivation or maintaining organisms in captivity, tissue culture, gene banks such as seed banks, sperm and ova banks.