4.2 Discuss the importance of the maintenance of biodiversity . These ecosystems are complex, which means they function best, and are more resilient to the effects of climate change, when all the pieces of the ecosystem are in place — meaning the biodiversity is intact. Biodiversity is a broad term for biological variety, and it can be measured at a number of organizational levels. Examples include the ornamental plants, birds and animals that people use to enrich their lives, the variety of foods they use to enrich their diet, the mix of biofuels or biofibres used to support productive activities. An example of a largely extinct ecosystem in North America is the prairie ecosystem (Figure 2). Until the emergence of humans, the earth supported more biodiversity than any other period in geological history. It provides us with nourishment, housing, fuel, clothing and several other resources. Research indicates that there is a close link between disease outbreaks and the degradation of nature. Genetic diversity is the raw material for evolutionary adaptation in a species and is represented by the variety of genes present within a population. Potatoes are only one example of agricultural diversity. Our biodiversity is very important to the well-being of our planet. Modified from the original by Matthew R. Fisher. Modern pharmaceutical science also recognizes the importance of these plant compounds. Between 1970 and 2011, almost 20 percent of the Amazon rainforest was lost. Loss of these species would make growing crops requiring pollination impossible, increasing dependence on other crops. Biodiversity & Ecology publishes articles in English and exceptionally in German. It is estimated that, at one time, 25 percent of modern drugs contained at least one plant extract. Pharmaceutical companies are actively looking for new natural compounds that can function as medicines. Contemporary societies that live close to the land often have a broad knowledge of the medicinal uses of plants growing in their area. One of the oldest observed patterns in ecology is that biodiversity typically increases as latitude declines. As a consequence, their soils are now being depleted unless they are maintained artificially at great expense. Protecting biodiversity plays a crucial part in achieving these emissions reductions. Finally, it has been argued that humans benefit psychologically from living in a biodiverse world. The other great apes, orangutans, chimpanzees, bonobos, and gorillas have all been observed self-medicating with plants. To qualify as a Road Verge of Ecological Importance (RVEI), the verge must support either a notable species and/or a species rich semi-natural habitat. There is considerable research into the psychologically regenerative benefits of natural landscapes that suggest the hypothesis may hold some truth. Endemic species are found in only one location. wing. Species are frequently integral to religious, cultural and national identities. The ultimate outcome could clearly be the loss of aquatic systems as food sources. is no likely ecological impact. Losing one might not be a disaster, but each loss adds to the likelihood of a serious problem. and other products made from natural materials for their own use and as sources of income. Biodiversity is important to the survival and welfare of human populations because it has impacts on our health and our ability to feed ourselves through agriculture and harvesting populations of wild animals. Historical biogeography, as the name implies, studies the past distribution of species. Lake Victoria is a tropical lake, while Lake Huron is a temperate lake. A common meaning of biodiversity is simply the number of species in a location or on Earth; for example, the American Ornithologists’ Union lists 2078 species of birds in North and Central America. is the study of the distribution of the world’s species both in the past and in the present. Seventy percent of emerging viral diseases have spread from animals to humans. Environmental Biology by Matthew R. Fisher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted. As the global wildlife trade continues and development This table shows the estimated number of species by taxonomic group—including both described (named and studied) and predicted (yet to be named) species. In 2008, the Svalbard Global seed Vault, located on Spitsbergen island, Norway, (Figure) began storing seeds from around the world as a backup system to the regional seed banks. Abstract. By Jim Shelton. It is not yet clear why biodiversity increases closer to the equator, but hypotheses include the greater age of the ecosystems in the tropics versus temperate regions, which were largely devoid of life or drastically impoverished during the last ice age. The diversity of species provides humans with a wide range of economic benefits: Wild plants and animals maintain a valuable pool of genetic variation.This is important because domestic species are genetically uniform. Biodiversity & Ecology publishes research papers as well as forum papers, reviews and reports on biodiversity, evolution, and ecology. Another experimental study found that introducing multiple enemies of pea aphids (an important alfalfa pest) increased the yield of alfalfa significantly. The world’s growing human population faces significant challenges in the increasing costs and other difficulties associated with producing food. For example, the blue jay is endemic to North America, while the Barton Springs salamander is endemic to the mouth of one spring in Austin, Texas. Conservation researchers Paul R. and Anne Ehrlich posited in the 1980s that species are to ecosystems what rivets are to a plane’s Table 1. For example, the extinction of one species may cause the extinction of another. Pesticides control these competitors, but these are costly and lose their effectiveness over time as pest populations adapt. The greater age provides more time for speciation, the evolutionary process of creating new species. Share this with Facebook Share this with Twitter Share this with LinkedIn Share this with Email Print this. carriers like mosquitoes to extend their geographic ranges and infect new populations of humans. The natural disaster prevention mechanisms in most ecosystems and other free services we all get from the surrounding environment are not easily replaceable or replicable, so maintaining biodiversity is important. Today our technology smooths out the harshness of existence and allows many of us to live longer, more comfortable lives, but ultimately the human species cannot exist without its surrounding ecosystems. Trees and plants also store carbon in their tissue, making it even more necessary to protect them. CEPF is a joint initiative of l’Agence Française de Développement, Conservation International, the European Union, the Global Environment Facility, the Government of Japan and the World Bank. Nevertheless, at the current rate of species description, which according to the State of Observed Species1 reports is 17,000–20,000 new species a year, it would take close to 500 years to describe all of the species currently in existence. And we’d lose all the valuable oxygen, homes for birds and animals, and wood for buildings and furniture. This cultural transition has made it difficult for humans to recognize their dependence on living things other than crops and domesticated animals on the planet. More sophisticated measures of diversity take into account the relative abundances of species. At least 40 percent of the world’s economy and 80 percent of the needs of the poor are derived from biological resources. At a time when more than 1 million animals are at risk of extinction — and the links between human health and the health of the planet are clear — the stakes have never been higher, experts say. The lake is under heavy pressure because of overfishing, cyclical drought, changing rainfall patterns and the diversion of water by upstream developments, Seed companies, which are the source of most crop varieties in developed countries, must continually breed new varieties to keep up with evolving pest organisms. Some of these compounds also work as human medicines. But scientists have not been able to explain how greater energy input could translate into more species. Since the beginning of human agriculture more than 10,000 years ago, human groups have been breeding and selecting crop varieties. Crops are not grown, for the most part, in built environments. Aside from representing billions of dollars in profits, these medications improve people’s lives. They are grown in soil. These ecological effects of biodiversity in turn are affected by both climate change through enhanced greenhouse gases, aerosols and loss of land cover, and biological diversity, causing a rapid loss of biodiversity and extinctions of species and local populations. The decline in soil productivity occurs because the interactions in the original ecosystem have been lost. The term biodiversity (from the phrase “biological diversity”) refers to the variety of life on Earth at all its levels, from genes to ecosystems, and can encompass the evolutionary, ecological, and cultural processes that sustain life. For example, many plants produce compounds meant to protect the plant from insects and other animals that eat them. Much of this loss is occurring in tropical rainforests like the one pictured in Figure 1, which are very high in biodiversity but are being cleared for timber and agriculture. Although some agricultural soils are rendered sterile using controversial pesticide treatments, most contain a huge diversity of organisms that maintain nutrient cycles—breaking down organic matter into nutrient compounds that crops need for growth. Conditions within the vault are maintained at ideal temperature and humidity for seed survival, but the deep underground location of the vault in the arctic means that failure of the vault’s systems will not compromise the climatic conditions inside the vault. These booms in biodiversity are all thanks to beavers. The people in this region traditionally lived in relatively isolated settlements separated by mountains. The geographic coverage ranges from the floodplains of the Brazilian Amazon to the agricultural landscapes of Southeast Asia, and the coral … The layout is very attractive with pages in A4-size (30 cm × 21 cm) and full-colour print. ‘Wiped out forever’ — the ecological impact of Australia’s wildfires. Forests and wetland ecosystems provide crucial buffers to extreme storms and flooding related and these changes are leading to a loss of biodiversity, declines in fisheries’ yields and a reduced ability to support humans. Biodiversity, also called biological diversity, the variety of life found in a place on Earth or, often, the total variety of life on Earth. But since 1990, production from global fisheries has declined. Over 150 crops in the United States require pollination to produce. A species’ potential to adapt to changing environments or new diseases depends on this genetic diversity. Julie Shaw is director of communications for the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund. Biodiversity is important to the survival and welfare of human populations because it has impacts on our health and our ability to feed ourselves through agriculture and harvesting populations of wild animals. “For a relatively small investment, high-biodiversity forests and other ecosystems can be conserved and restored as a powerful means to rein in climate change while also helping communities cope with associated storms, flooding and other impacts,” But how exactly is biodiversity so important to humanity? 2018 Jan;2(1):57-64. doi: 10.1038/s41559-017-0402-5. Lake Huron in its present form is only about 7,000 years old, while Lake Victoria in its present form is about 15,000 years old. Biodiversity is important, more than just the 'I want my children to enjoy it' reason. Regardless of the mechanisms, it is certainly true that biodiversity is greatest in the tropics. The ability to create new crop varieties relies on the diversity of varieties available and the availability of wild forms related to the crop plant. This is particularly true for struggling communities in developing countries, who often turn to high-biodiversity ecosystems as their source of food, fuel, medicines Many medications were once derived from plant extracts but are now synthesized. All major religions include elements of nature and 231 species are Importance of Biodiversity . Genetic diversity is one alternate concept of biodiversity. The destruction of forest ecosystems is responsible for 11 percent of Many medications are derived from natural chemicals made by a diverse group of organisms. Fishery extinctions rarely lead to complete extinction of the harvested species, but rather to a radical restructuring of the marine ecosystem in which a dominant species is so over-harvested that it becomes a minor player, ecologically. Deforestation is also accelerating climate breakdown, which in turn may boost the spread of disease by allowing disease Types of Biodiversity projects expand deeper into tropical forests, humans are increasing their exposure to wild animals — and the diseases they may carry. The loss of biodiversity will include many species we know today. Humanity must stop the pace of wildlife extinctions — or face extinction itself, according to a growing body of research. Ecosystems weakened by the loss of biodiversity are Trees and plants also store carbon in their tissue, making it even more necessary to protect them. Lake Victoria contained almost 500 species of cichlids (just one family of fishes that are present in the lake) before the introduction of an exotic species in the 1980s and 1990s caused a mass extinction. Importance of Biodiversity. The four major components of biodiversity are species diversity, ecological diversity, genetic diversity, and functional diversity. The current high rates will cause a precipitous decline in the biodiversity of the planet in the next century or two. Since the 1920s, government agriculture departments have maintained seed banks of crop varieties as a way to maintain crop diversity. Describing species is a complex process by which biologists determine an organism’s unique characteristics and whether or not that organism belongs to any other described species. Approximately 15 to 20 RVEIs are surveyed each year by the Hampshire Biodiversity Information Centre (HBIC) as part of an annual survey programme to assess their value for biodiversity. Biodiversity makes it possible for humans to have a sustainable level of soils and the means to have the genetic factors in order to have food. For about one billion people, aquatic resources provide the main source of animal protein. The look of our backyards, forests and province would change forever. It normally appears in one volume per year with typically 200–300 pages. It is also expressed as the exposure of the endangered or extinctive statistics of the variety of number of species existing in various eco-systems.In the atmosphere, gases such as water vapour, carbon dioxide, ozone, and methane act like the glass roof of a greenhouse by trapping heat and warming the planet. It is estimated that one third of pharmaceutical research and development is spent on natural compounds and that about 35 percent of new drugs brought to market between 1981 and 2002 were from natural compounds. Prairies once spanned central North America from the boreal forest in northern Canada down into Mexico. Also Read: Flagship Species. Millions of people also depend on nature and species for their day-to-day livelihoods. In recent years, animal venoms and poisons have excited intense research for their medicinal potential. Endemic species with highly restricted distributions, like the Barton Springs salamander, are particularly vulnerable to extinction. Traditionally, ecologists have measured biodiversity by taking into account both the number of species and the number of individuals of each species (known as relative abundance). Naming and counting species may seem an unimportant pursuit given the other needs of humanity, but it is not simply an accounting. Biodiversity is important to most aspects of our lives. all global greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans, so conserving forests would stop the release of these gases into the atmosphere. We value biodiversity for many reasons, some utilitarian, some intrinsic. These wild forms are often the source of new gene variants that can be bred with existing varieties to create varieties with new attributes. Biodiversity is categorized into species diversity, genetic diversity and ecosystem diversity. For centuries in Europe, older knowledge about the medical uses of plants was compiled in herbals—books that identified the plants and their uses. Langrand said. They occur within ecosystems, such as soil ecosystems, as a result of the diverse metabolic activities of the organisms living there, but they provide benefits to human food production, drinking water availability, and breathable air. This shows that we must take care of nature to take care of ourselves. And; 2. Utilitarian values include the many basic needs humans obtain from biodiversity such as food, fuel, shelter, and medicine. In addition to humans losing the food source, these alterations affect many other species in ways that are difficult or impossible to predict. However, many extinctions will affect species that biologist have not yet discovered. It includes organisms from Earth’s vastly different ecosystems, including deserts, rainforests, coral reefs, grasslands, tundra, and polar ice caps. Biodiversity and ecology. The collapse of fisheries has dramatic and long-lasting effects on local human populations that work in the fishery. These biodiversity variables simplify the selection of areas for biodiversity importance. Most of these “invisible” species that will become extinct currently live in tropical rainforests like those of the Amazon basin. This is one measure of the bird biodiversity on the continent. This study shows that a diversity of pests is more effective at control than one single pest. One example of this is Kenya’s Lake Turkana — the world’s largest desert lake, a habitat for a variety of wildlife Meanwhile The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) initiative estimates that global sustainable business opportunities from investing in natural resources could be Kangaroos graze in a field as smoke shrouds the Australian capital of Canberra, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. It is estimated that honeybee pollination within the United States brings in $1.6 billion per year; other pollinators contribute up to $6.7 billion. 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