As we realize the effects of our carbon footprints on our environment, focus has turned to our biodiversity. Its importance and how our actions are affecting it.
WHAT IS BIODIVERSITY
This is the sum of all the different species of animals, plants, fungi and micro-organisms living on earth and the different habitats. Biodiversity is an intrinsic part of everything from food production to medicine and research (we use at least 40,000 species of plant and animals daily). All around the world, a large number of people are still dependent on wild species for some or all their food, shelter and clothing. We are all dependent on nature and her many gifts.
WHY BIODIVERSITY IS IMPORTANT AND WHY WE SHOULD CARE
Our biodiversity is important because “At least 40 per cent of the world’s economy and 80 per cent of the needs of the poor are derived from biological resources. In addition, the richer the diversity of life, the greater the opportunity for medical discoveries, economic development, and adaptive responses to such new challenges as climate change. The Convention about Life on Earth, Convention on Biodiversity web site.”
A healthy biodiversity provides a number of natural services to everyone:
- Ecosystem Services:
- Protection of water resources.
- Soil formation and protection.
- Nutrient storage and recycling.
- Contribution to climate stability.
- Pollution breakdown and absorption.
- Recovery from unpredictable events (regrowth after wildfires).
- Biological Resource:
- Food, medicinal & pharmaceutical resources and drug
- Wood products (Trees used for carpentry, paper).
- Breeding stocks and population reservoirs.
- Future resources (young trees, animals).
- Diversity in genes and ecosystem.
- Social Benefits :
- Cultural Values.
- Recreation and tourism
- Education, research and monitoring.
DIAGRAM SHOWING INTERDEPENDENCE OF BIODIVERSITY
All these are free gifts, available for our use. These are mostly renewable, imagine if we had to pay to replace everything; the price would be enormously expensive.
THINGS AFFECTING OUR BIODIVERSITY
As humans spread across the earth, some of our actions have led to devastating impacts. These impacts include:
- Deforestation: Leading to loss of plants, animals due to habitats being destroyed.
- Extinction of Animals: Due to hunting for sports and food.
- Climate Change: Increased impact and occurrence of hurricanes and earth quakes, Ozone depletion and greenhouse gas emission.
- Pollution: Due to large emissions of gas flaring, waste, plastics have resulted in air, water and underground pollution.
HOW TO CONSERVE OUR BIODIVERSITY
- Government Legislations: Intentional planting of trees to replace those cut down.
- Nature Preserves: Protected habitats.
- Captive breeding and seed banks.
- Sustainable living.
- Habitat restoration.
- Education and research.
It is extremely important for us to protect our biodiversity, so that we can preserve and secure our future.
Written by Chioma Ahumareze Ukwandu.