Biodiversity, we’ve heard this term a lot many numbers of times right? This keeps coming across the magazines and newspapers we read, podcasts and speeches we listen to and news channels we watch. Yes, it is because now it has become a severe thing to human beings. Recently there was news that human-made objects to outweigh living things on Earth for the first time by the end of 2020, which I don’t think is excellent news. It is pretty sad to hear the kind of materialistic growth humans as a specie has done. This certainly will create an imbalance on the planet. So this blogpost shall talk about biodiversity and ecosystem losses.
Definition- Biodiversity is the variety of flora and fauna in this world, or it can also be in a particular habitat. It is considered to be very important and is a desired necessity.
Importance- It plays a very vital role in the stabilisation of the five significant ecosystems on which the life revolves around; the agricultural system, coastal, freshwater, forest and the grassland ecosystems. Diversity hence increases the resilience of an ecosystem. Having more number of species provides a greater question against damage of the environment like that from drought, global warming, natural calamities and other stresses. The genetic diversity of living species and microorganisms determine the long-term productivity of agricultural ecosystems and their capability to bounce back aftershocks. It also ensures that there is sufficient food for the future.
Definition- An ecosystem can be interpreted as a community of living organisms in concurrence with nonliving components of the environment which interact as a system. Shortly said, it is a chain of interaction between the organisms and their environment.
Importance- An ecosystem regulates the necessity of ecological processes on this planet. It furnishes stability and supports life systems. It is also accountable for the cycling of the essential nutrients between abiotic and biotic components present in the environment. The minerals are cycled through the biosphere. It also maintains a stabilised balance between the various trophic levels of the ecosystem. The abiotic components of the ecosystem help in the synthesis of organic elements that require the exchange of energies.
We all human beings must also realise that we all are deeply connected with mother nature and it’s enthralling ecosystems. A variety of plants also play an important role at the heart of these ecosystems. They have a vast role to play from purifying water to recycling of nitrogen and carbon.
The natural assets of the planet earth are made up of animals, land, water, plants, that fairest and us; humans! Hence, we all together form the planet‘s ecosystem, which indicates that if there is a loss of biodiversity or if biodiversity crisis occurs, our health and livelihoods would be at risk.
And remember there is no planet B! So it must be our priority and our utmost duty to live in such a way that we coexist with the planet‘s biodiversity more harmoniously.
It is correctly said that biodiversity underpins the health of the planet and has a direct impact on all our lives. Biodiversity is hence fundamental for human health. From bacteria, fighters to high cholesterol, among the world’s top-selling 25 drugs, 10 of them are obtained from natural resources of our biodiversity. It gives us a lot of herbs and medications for our good health.
Numbers and statistics
No one knows the exact number of the species living in this world, but the approximate range ranges between 10 million to 15 million. But, what is sure is that the rate on which extension on this planet earth is happening has been on the increase. The main start a while so many species are facing the risk of extinction or dying off is the loss of their natural habitat because of deforestation, forest fragmentation by roads, agriculture and growth of human population in general. Other threats to extinction are pollution, hunting, fishing, global warming, the introduction of foreign species to an unknown area to it.
Well, the evidence and proofs of this extinction are present everywhere :
- The world’s tropical forest covers have been shrinking.
- And well, talking about statistics.
- We, humans, are presently using 25% more natural resources than our planet can sustain. This puts pressure on the local communities and habitats and threatens them.
- Around 60% of coral reefs in this world are threatened. It is a severe concern for the global community as they provide livelihoods to millions of people and is the habitat for a lot of species and particularly around one4 of all the marine fishes.
- Some 75% of the marine fishes have been depleted or are dwindling on a very high rate due to overfishing.
- Around 50% of the coastal mangroves present on this planet are now gone. They would have provided grounds for several nurseries and countless species.
- A very shocking fact is that approximately one in five mammal species or threatened to extinction.
- One in eight both species is at risk. The rate of threatening of species has now doubled among penguins, and it has quadrupled for varieties of albatross.
Habitat loss, hunting and illegal Bushmeat trade have increased the number of threatened primate species from 100 to 120 in a period of just a few years.
What do conservationists have to say?
Some conservationists are afraid that in a time of 10 or 20 years from now, the Congo basin rainforest that is the world‘s second-largest tropical forest could become vacant of the large mammals that live there. There is also a possibility of the great apes of Africa becoming extinct.
It has been rightly said “Death is one thing, but the end to birth is another.“ it is feared that by the time humankind reaches into the next century, more than half of all the species of mammals, butterflies, birds and plants will be disappeared or will be on the verge of it.
An elucidation to it- A very apt example of biodiversity on and extinct is that Sri Lanka had only five varieties of rice in the 1980s. In contrast, it had around 2000 varieties of rice in 1959.
Protection of Biodiversity and Ecosystem
The protection of biodiversity and ecosystem is just one of the primary, significant, urgent and thought-provoking global issue of the years to come. The solutions to it may be complex to be laid out here. Still, an international draft would include many elements such as trade banks, integrated ecosystem management, actively managed preserves, protected areas, certification of sustainability, biodiversity hotspots, seed bank, monitoring of things by satellites and many others. Some of them might have been tried out by some countries, but this matter is of global concern and needs to be resolved by every nation.
The governments took steps and actions to conserve biodiversity.
- Conservation of Species
Evidence shows that some species in this world have been this proportionately affected and their population has reached in critically low numbers, so there is an urgent need of action to be taken. In cases like these, governments of various nations can take specific measures for those particular species to conserve their remaining population.
- For example – in the country of Indonesia, species of orangutans are at the brink of risk because of the palm oil plantations held there from the conversion of their natural habitat. It is a product found in more than half of globally packaged products. As a step towards conserving the species of orangutans, the government and stakeholders are now setting up certification schemes that provide certificates and rights to only those who prove that the extracted palm oil was sourced from areas that are not considered of values of high conservation.
- Re-introduction of Projects- I suppose a species is not found in the wild any more; then actions can be taken to reintroduce it.
- An example of it is that of North America. Over the last three decades, efforts by many federal agencies of North America, their zoos and the local tribes of the continent and even the private landowners have helped restore the black-footed ferret population to nearly 300 animals which were once thought to have been extinct globally.
- Restoration of habitat and setting up protected areas– Governments of the world are now committing to protect some affluent areas of biodiversity. In the European Union ( EU ) this is delivered through the Natura 2000 network. It is a network of core breeding and resting sites for the threatened and rare species of the continent.
- Dealing with wildlife crime– One Of the significant factors that several species are on the brink of extinction is the illegal hunting, poaching and trading of protected animals. It is still in continuation in a lot of areas of this world. This is a cross-border issue which needs the urgent attention of governments around the globe.
- For example – statistics say that there are only 4000 snow leopards now left in the wild, but still, around 220 to 450 snow leopards are killed by the farmers or poachers every year. This is a crime that goes unreported in Central Asia’s remote mountains. Governments are working on it on cross border levels, but still, a lot more needs to be done.
“Biodiversity is the greatest treasure we have. Its diminishment is to be prevented at all cost.“THOMAS EISNER
At last, I would like to say that the preservation of biodiversity is not just a task or a job for the governments only. The international and non-governmental organisations, the private sectors, and everyone as an individual have a role to play in it. So we must work and thrive towards saving this biodiversity and ecosystem. So, we can give our future generations a better place to live in.
Now, I hope that this blog post on biodiversity and ecosystem losses has opened your eyes to the harsh reality and now onwards you will become a responsible citizen of the country.
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