What is Biodiversity ?
Biodiversity mainly explains the variety of life from genes to ecosystems, including their existences, genetic variations, their habitat, inhabitants and the ecosystem in which they are present and other evolutionary processes that maintain the system functioning, changing and adapting.
It is believed that areas with higher species richness contribute to a more stable ecosystem compared to the ones where less number of species dwell.This can be attributed to the fact that more species help in maintaining a more stable biomass generation. When we talk about a stable ecosystem, we basically mean an ecosystem which shows less variation. The exact reason behind the species diversity contributing to a stable ecosystem is not known yet but it has been observed with enough evidence.
Loss of biodiversity
In the past few years, a great loss in the species diversity in terms of extinction has been observed. This is mainly due to the drastically changing environment that we live in. The environment now is changing faster than the organism’s’ ability to adapt. As a result of which entire species are getting wiped of the planet. We have still not identified all the species on the earth but from the species already identified, a large number are extinct or are at the verge of extinction(endangered). Surprisingly, the extinctions have not been random. Some organisms are more vulnerable to extinction compared to others. Thus, the area occupied by such species are facing greater loss than the rest. All these species lost directly affect the stability of the environment.
There have been mass extinctions on the planet before humans came into being. But, the matter of concern is the rate at which we are losing species right now. The rate of extinction now is about 100 to 1000 times faster than the previous mass extinction phases.
The direct impact of biodiversity loss may lead to
Instability in the ecosystems
Decreased production of crops
More environmental disturbances like floods and drought
Let us discuss the threats to biodiversity which ultimately leads to loss in diversity.
Loss of habitat – The loss of forests and other habitats is growing at a very fast rate leading to the extinction of various organisms residing in that area.
Over – exploitation – Humans depend on the forests for every need. As a result, we cut down forests faster than they grow to fulfill our basic needs. Thus, we end up over exploiting natural resources. This leaves other organisms with less resources for survival.
Alien – species invasion – In an area, when an alien species is introduced, it might use up most of the resources to grow devoiding the rest of the organisms of their minimum requirement.
Co-extinctions – It is seen that when an organism becomes extinct, it leads to the extinction of the other organisms which are dependent directly or indirectly on them for their survival.
All these threats to biodiversity and their consequences make biodiversity conservation one of our high priority targets.
We have thus discussed the importance of biodiversity and also that of biodiversity conservation. For a more information, visit BYJU’s.