Biodiversity: Definition, Importance, Conservation and Challenges

Published on 16-Sep-2022

Biodiversity Definition

The term biodiversity refers to the variety of living beings living on planet earth. Biodiversity includes every kind of organism and not only the kind of species we find rare. It includes organisms such as fungi, microbes, and invertebrates, the type of organisms we consider rare.

Organisms work together to form an ecosystem to maintain balance and support their lives. Biodiversity bears everything in nature that we need to survive, such as food, water, shelter, habitat, and medicine. 

One important thing about biodiversity is that it tries to adapt no matter how bad the situation is. It has pretty high resilience. If the pressure is reduced and resources are managed well, the ecosystem will begin adapting to the situation.

All the organisms on earth rely on each other for survival. That's why various life is required in all the places or areas where living organisms stay. There are three primary biodiversity levels: species diversity, genetic diversity, and ecosystem diversity. They all have different roles, and different organisms contribute to the other organisms.

'Biological diversity' can also be used to address biodiversity because the word 'biological' is the full form of bio. The term 'biological' means life, including all living organisms, and 'diversity' means the variety of organisms in a specific area.  

Why is biodiversity important?

There are a lot of benefits, including ecological life support that biodiversity provides all organisms for survival. Biodiversity provides organisms with ecosystems that supply oxygen gas, clean air, pure water, control of pests, treatment of dirty water, and many ecosystem functions. All these ecosystem services are essential for organisms to live healthy lives with all their needs.  

If people are made aware of the importance of biodiversity, we can easily protect this precious resource of our Earth.

1. Biodiversity and agriculture: 

Biodiversity is essential for agricultural development. Using genes from closely related wild plants has made it possible to increase the yield of our agricultural species. It creates many disease-resistant crop plants, produces alkali tolerant, brackish water tolerant varieties, and continues to do so in the future. Biodiversity is therefore very essential for human

society's food supply.

2. Biodiversity and fish demand: 

There are wide varieties of fish, and their nutritional value is also different.

Again, the needs of people's choices are multi-faceted. One fish is another fish's food. If the biosphere is more diverse, we can meet our needs.

3. Biodiversity and Medicine: 

Human primary health care is almost entirely dependent on biodiversity. Research on new plants is discovering new drugs. Human genetic variation is broad, and so are the types of current diseases. Therefore, it is essential to have a wide variety of living species to meet diverse needs. The National Cancer Institute of America tested 100,000 extracts of 35,000 different plant species. It established a cancer chemotherapy drug called Taxol (from the Pacific Yew Tree) from just one. If this one species among the 35,000 thousand species had become extinct, this chemotherapy drug would not have been discovered.

4. Biodiversity and Trade: 

Biodiversity is linked to trade. Construction materials, textile materials, medicines, paints, waxes, paper, cork, rubber, etc., come from the living world. Diverse biodiversity provides diverse materials. As biodiversity shrinks, our businesses and industries shrink. 

5. Biodiversity and Ecotourism: 

Areas rich in biodiversity are chosen for ecotourism. Many people from home and abroad visit there to see the variety of life; through this, the country earns a huge amount of money (including foreign exchange).

6. Biodiversity and Ethnobiology: 

Tribal communities have integrated a variety of organisms into their lifestyles. Their livelihood depends on rich biodiversity. Millions of tribal groups around the world need rich biodiversity to live well.

7. Aesthetic Importance of Biodiversity: 

The aesthetic importance of biodiversity is immense. A neat biodiversity-rich environment gives people immense joy, mental peace, and physical tranquility. Mental stability makes people worry-free, disease-free, and long-lived. It is more suitable for older people.

8. Biodiversity and Recreation and Cultural Importance: 

Biodiversity inspires poets, writers, and artists in their respective fields, bringing innovation and speed to work. Many people spend their free time gardening, keeping birds, and breeding beautiful fish in aquariums.

9. Ecological Importance of Biodiversity

 Biodiversity and different ecosystems are interrelated. The extinction of 1/2 of the keystone species in any ecosystem throws the entire ecosystem out of balance. Both food chains and food webs depend entirely on biodiversity. So the ecological importance of biodiversity is immense in all organisms' lives.

10. Refugee reduction: 

Due to environmental disasters in many parts of the world, the number of refugees is increasing daily. 1 in 45 people worldwide are victims of climate disasters. Conserving biodiversity will alleviate climatic difficulties and, if properly planned, reduce the number of refugees.

Challenges for Biodiversity

Maintaining biodiversity is challenging because different problems and issues are getting heavier on the earth daily. Various matters may hamper biodiversity and affect all the lives connected to it.

Humans put increasing pressure on the planet, using resources and consuming them ever than before. The situation is feared by scientists that the balance might get altered. Many species and organisms are now threatened with extinction in humankind’s history.

Three-quarters of the land-based environment has been altered, and roughly 60% of the ocean environment has been largely changed.

Climate change due to global warming even worsens the situation. Icebergs are melting, and ocean levels are rising.

Causes of extinction of the organism 

As the world develops with time, it also leads to many problems and disasters that hamper biodiversity. Factories are developing, and the gases produced harm the atmosphere. These toxic gases eventually get inside us while we breathe in and affect the inside of our body.

The ten common reasons for the extinction of organisms are: 

  1. Destroying the wild habitats of animals or other species for human needs.
  2. When invasive species are introduced to the surroundings, they are targeted by other organisms.  
  3. Any change in the climate hampers the organisms, microorganisms, plants, and other different species.  
  4. Hunting for animals or illegal trafficking causes animals to become extinct for human needs. 
  5. Diseases and natural disasters occur, which cause extinction.  
  6. Predators or hunters are a threat to biodiversity.  
  7. Competition for food, space, or shelter to survive causes other animals to get extinct. 
  8. Lack of food, medication, shelter, or space can cause extinction. 
  9. Pollution is due to factories and other harmful tasks done by humans. 
  10. Global warming is occurring due to humans not taking care of the climate.

Animals that are extinct are: Sarcogyps calvus, Gavialis gangeticus, Crocodylus palustris, Boselaphus tragocamelus, orcaella brevirostris, Panthera tigris, Nycticebus coucang and manis crausicauelafa.  

Importance of conserving endangered species 

The Endangered Species Act is a necessary action to protect organisms from getting extinct or dying due to various problems. The problems are created mainly by humans who harm nature for their needs, except for natural extinction. We all know that it is essential for all organisms to survive together for the well-being of biodiversity.

There are a lot of important species in the biodiversity, like our native fishes, plants, and other wild animals, and taking action for endangered species can save them. It can be done by leaving all our bad habits and preserving nature. One thing to remember is that we cannot get them back once they are gone. Hence, it is imperative to take action before it gets too late. 

Biodiversity conservation 

Simple steps for conserving biodiversity: 

  1. Stop harming nature and wildlife for self-needs. 
  2. Reduce wastage of food and water for the well-being of biodiversity. 
  3. Stop producing smoke and keep nature clean. 
  4. Support and help local farms because they are beneficial and harmless.  
  5. Don't destroy trees to make furniture and other things from wood.  
  6. Volunteer and participate in organizations that work to save nature.  
  7. Shop wisely and avoid buying unnecessary stuff.  

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