What Is Biodiversity And Why Do We Need To Conserve It?


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Cyndal Guffy Profile
Cyndal Guffy answered
What is Biodiversity?
Biodiversity is a modern term
which simply means " the variety of life on earth". This variety can be measured
on several different levels.
Genetic - variation
between individuals of the same species.
Species - species
diversity is the variety of species in a given region or area.
Ecosystem - Communities of plants and animals, together with the physical
characteristics of their environment (e.g. Geology, soil and climate) interlink together
as an ecological system, or 'ecosystem'. Ecosystem diversity is more difficult to measure
because there are rarely clear boundaries between different ecosystems and they grade into
one another. However, if consistent criteria are chosen to define the limits of an
ecosystem, then their number and distribution can also be measured.

Why Conserve Biodiversity?

Ecological Reasons Individual species and ecosystems have
evolved over millions of years into a complex interdependence. This can be viewed as being
akin to a vast jigsaw puzzle of inter-locking pieces. If you remove enough of the key
pieces on which the framework is based then the whole picture may be in danger of
collapsing. We have no idea how many key 'pieces' we can afford to lose before this might
happen, nor even in many cases, which are the key pieces. The ecological arguments for
conserving biodiversity are therefore based on the premise that we need to preserve
biodiversity in order to maintain our own life support systems. 

Economic Reasons
Environmental disasters such as floods, forest fires
and hurricanes indirectly or directly caused by human activities, all have dire economic
consequences for the regions afflicted. Clean-up bills can run into the billions, not to
mention the toll of human misery involved. Susceptible regions are often also in the
less-developed and poorer nations to begin with. Erosion and desertification, often as a
result of deforestation, reduce the ability of people to grow crops and to feed
themselves. This leads to economic dependence on other nations.
Non-sustainable extraction of resources (e.g.
hardwood timber) will eventually lead to the collapse of the industry involved, with all
the attendant economic losses. It should be noted that even if 'sustainable' methods are
used, for example when harvested forest areas are replanted, these areas are in no way an
ecological substitute for the established habitats which they have replaced.
Large-scale habitat and
biodiversity losses mean that species with potentially great economic importance may
become extinct before they are even discovered. The vast, largely untapped resource of
medicines and useful chemicals contained in wild species may disappear forever. The wealth
of species contained in tropical rain forests may harbour untold numbers of chemically or
medically useful species. Many marine species defend themselves chemically and this also
represents a rich potential source of new economically important medicines. Additionally,
the wild relatives of our cultivated crop plants provide an invaluable reservoir of
genetic material to aid in the production of new varieties of crops. If all these are
lost, then our crop plants also become more vulnerable to extinction.
There is an ecological caveat here of course.
Whenever a wild species is proved to be economically or socially useful, this
automatically translates into further loss of natural habitat. This arises either through
large-scale cultivation of the species concerned or its industrial production/ harvesting.
Both require space, inevitably provided at the expense of natural habitats.
Perhaps the rain forests and the seas should be allowed to keep
their secrets.
Ethical Reasons
Do we have the right to decide which species
should survive and which should die out?
Do we have the right to cause a mass extinction?
Most people would instinctively answer 'No!'. However, we have to
realise that most biodiversity losses are now arising as a result of natural competition
between humans and all other species for limited space and resources.
If we want the luxury of ethics, we need to reduce our populations.
Aesthetic Reasons

Most people would agree that areas of vegetation,
with all their attendant life forms, are inherently more attractive than burnt, scarred
landscapes, or acres of concrete and buildings. Who wouldn't prefer to see butterflies
dancing above coloured flowers, rather than an industrial complex belching smoke?
Human well-being is inextricably linked to the natural
world. In the western world, huge numbers of people confined to large urban areas derive
great pleasure from visiting the countryside. The ability to do so is regarded not so much
as a need, but as a right. National governments must therefore juggle the conflicting
requirements for more housing, industry and higher standards of living with demands for
countryside for recreational purposes. 

I really hope this helps you. Good Luck.
Samuel Ampem Gyeke-Darko Profile
The causes of the loss biodiversity can be viewed under many aspects such as 1.artificial means                            2.natural means  under the artificial means,there are factos like; fishing,farming,hunting,mining,building of homes,manufacturing and/etc. That contribute extremely to the loss of biodiversity ...,all by humans.Also under the artificial means,not only do we observe humans but then some animal activities like over_grazing contribute to the loss of biodiversity.                        Over some years even before the first man (Adam) was created,there were natural effects on the environment, which have and is partaking in the loss of biodiversity in recent days.Some of these we can say, are; volcanicity or volcanic eruptions, fire out_breaks, floods and earthquake.

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