What Is Biodiversity?
Biodiversity is a term that “refers to the variety and variability among living organisms from all sources including terrestrial, marine, and other aquatic ecosystems”. In simpler terms, it is the variation of life on Earth. The conservation of biodiversity has been a major topic since at least 1982 when it was included in Agenda 21, a non-binding international agreement regarding sustainable development at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. More recently, a major effort to measure sustainability is basically “a way of measuring the health of the planet”.
In July 2002, 19,392 species were identified as being threatened with extinction. In 2011, according to the IUCN Red List, that number had risen to 76,838 species worldwide.
How Is Biodiversity Measured?
Biodiversity may be measured as the number of different species or genetic varieties in a given area or environment. Ecosystems are composed of dynamically interacting physical, chemical, geological, hydrological, and biological processes forming an integrated whole that can not be understood apart from its parts.
Biodiversity is usually considered at the level of populations through to ecosystems. It also refers to the variety of habitats that help form communities within an ecosystem that leads to increased rates of survival for many plants and animals across large geographical areas.
Why is biodiversity important to humans?
Biodiversity is important in a number of ways to humans. First, biodiversity has a direct impact on people by providing food, fuel, and medicine. Second, biodiversity can have indirect impacts via an ecosystem’s sustainable function or provision of services such as flood regulation, soil formation, and nutrient recycling that are critical for human life support.
Many people do not realize that biodiversity is important for providing us with various goods and services. Some of these services include windbreaks, erosion control, soil fertility, nutrient cycling, climate controls, pollination, water purification, disease regulation, wildlife habitat enhancement/creation, etc.
These services work together like a well-oiled machine to make our lives livable and sustainable.
Biodiversity is important because it allows life on Earth to exist in all its forms–from animals and plants to bacteria and other microorganisms–there needs to be a variety for it all to survive. What does this mean? This means that without biodiversity, people would not have food or medicine since many medicines come from natural resources such as trees and animals. What might also happen is unexpected consequences if biodiversity decreases, which could lead to the extinction of many species on Earth.
What are some examples?
One example would be if a disease is cured, but there was no biodiversity left to fight off that disease; another is if all the bees die out, it will be harder for plants to reproduce since they rely on pollination.
What Is Happening Now?
Human activities like deforestation and overfishing are destroying biodiversity at an alarming rate. This often happens because people do not think about what their actions can lead to or how these decisions might affect future generations.
What Are The Threats?
Loss Of Forest Habitat
The main threat to biodiversity is the loss of forest habitat due to over-exploitation for agriculture and logging; urban sprawl; road construction; mining activities; or oil exploration/extraction.
In addition, the top threats to biodiversity are unsustainable forestry practices and deforestation. Deforestation is also a major threat to the regulating and cultural functions of forests. These practices not only impact biodiversity but indigenous people as well. In fact, their livelihood often depends on the land that is being degraded by unsustainable forestry.
If there are simply too many organisms in one area, this can lead to a “tragedy of the commons” scenario where if everyone takes what they want no matter the consequences, the entire system will see a decline or even collapse.
Invasive species can also cause harm to biodiversity by out-competing native species for resources and occupying an empty niche.
The commercial trade of threatened organisms for pets, traditional medicine, food, and other purposes is threatening the survival of many species across the globe as well.
It’s important to understand bad biodiversity because it has become an increasingly serious issue in recent years. We are subjecting species to extinction rates 1,000 times higher than what would normally be expected if humans weren’t around.
By understanding this, we can find ways to fix our errors that harm biodiversity while still providing for ourselves without harming the environment too much further.
Mining is a specific type of resource extraction, often involving the removal of minerals from the ground. What many people don’t know is that mining can have devastating effects on our environment, including biodiversity. Mining operations are often located in remote places, so it can be difficult for conservationists to monitor these areas and prevent the degradation of habitats before it’s too late.
Unsustainable mining practices are now recognized as one of the major drivers of biodiversity loss. Mining can also be dangerous for people who live near mines. Toxic chemicals inevitably escape during the extraction process, and many communities have experienced elevated rates of cancer and other health issues due to contaminated water supplies.
Although some may argue that forms of mining pose little risk to the environment, others disagree. What’s important to remember is that there are always trade-offs when dealing with natural resources.
So What Can You Do To Protect Biodiversity?
You can start by taking some time out of your day to appreciate the natural world. Get outdoors and take a walk, go camping with friends, get creative in your garden – whatever it takes for you to reconnect with nature on an individual level.
If that’s not enough, support the use of green products in your home or office, reducing food waste, donating to conservation charities like WWF and the Nature Conservancy, volunteer for local wildlife organizations that work with endangered species (such as saving monarch butterflies), recycling electronic devices responsibly instead of throwing them away when they become obsolete or broken, using less plastic packaging on groceries at stores – these can all make an impact!
And if all else fails, remember this- even one person who cares about preserving our environment is better than none at all. That’s why we have so much hope for the future of humanity yet!
The future of the planet is in our hands. Every person can make a difference by becoming more mindful of their surroundings and making conscious decisions to protect this earth for generations to come. What are your thoughts on biodiversity? Do you have any conservation tips or ideas that might help us ensure we’re living sustainably? We’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below, or send an email.