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Human beings have more influence than any other species on earth.Our impact has accelerated rapidly in the last 200 years, as a result of population explosion, industrialization, and resource exploitation.This has resulted in the destruction or serious damage of large parts of the global ecosystem.

Today we continue to destroy jungle, forest and wetland ecosystems and pollute the water and air of our planet.Nevertheless, society is gradually becoming aware that our survival is inherently associated with the conservation of other species.Development must be sustainable at both the local and global scale, and respect the environment and its biodiversity.Many international conferences, laws and agreements have tried to direct human activities toward the objective of sustainable development, without loss of our natural heritage and compromising resources available to future generations.

Administrative resources are, to some degree, directed towards the objective of sustainable development.However, be truly effective environmental conservation requires participation from all levels of society, both public and private. The increasing number of committed individuals working as volunteers in a wide range of NGOs, fighting to conserve and protect nature and the environment, is indicative of a change in public awareness. Private initiatives in achieving the aims of protection and conservation are frequently ahead of those from organisations responsible for resource administration.A variety of non-profit organisations play an increasing role through directing funds as a means of environmental protection. For example, the British Royal Society for Protection of Birds (RSPB) has a budget of over 60 million pounds a year and manages more than 9000 hectares of land, the Global Nature Foundation protects 28 lakes and wetlands around the globeand the Catalan Foundation Territori i Paisatge manages 27000 hectares of land for its conservation and has annual resources of €4 million, 86% of which are contributed by the Caixa Catalunya bank.
The Urdaibai Foundation seeks to support local administration in its function of conservation of the natural environment, through fostering the involvement of the private sector, and acting as a link to the rest of society. There are various avenues for this support: primarily through funding specific projects financed by the private sector; also through managing lands donated by private individuals to the Foundation, and; through the active participation and organisation of volunteers in specific projects.
As with many parts of our planet, environmental problems in the Bizkaia region and surrounding areas are related to degradation of ecosystems and loss of biodiversity.For this reason, the Urdaibai Foundation has to date developed three initiatives. Two programmes are directed at the most threatened ecosystems: the Quercus Program is aimed at forests and the Aqua Program at wetlands.A third program, the Biodiversity Program, is focused on loss of animal and plant species.
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