Biodiversity is a term used to describe the enormous variety of life on Earth. It can be used more specifically to refer to all of the species in one region or ecosystem. It refers to every living thing, including plants, bacteria, animals, and humans. Scientists have estimated that there are around 8.7 million species of plants and animals in existence.
Importance of Biodiversity
It plays a vital role in maintaining the ecological balance of the ecosystem.
- Ecological Role: Apart from providing ecological balance to the environment, each species of biodiversity has a major function to play in the ecosystem. They play a major role in the production and decomposition of organic wastes, fixing atmospheric gases, and regulating water and nutrients throughout the ecosystem. The stability of the ecosystem increases with the diversity of the species.
- Economical Role: It acts as a source of energy and has a major role in providing raw materials for industrial products such as oils, lubricants, perfumes, paper, waxes, rubber, etc. The importance of plant species for various medicinal use has been known for ages.
- Scientific Role: Each species of the ecosystem contributes to providing enough evidence as to how life evolved on this planet and the role of each species in maintaining the sustainability of the ecosystem.
Types of Biodiversity
Biodiversity can be categorized into 3 types, They are:
- Genetic Diversity: Every individual of a particular species differs from each other in its genetic makeup. This genetic variability among the members of any plant or animal species is known as genetic diversity. When two individuals are closely related, they share more genetic information and hence, are more similar.
- Species Diversity: It can be defined as the variety of species within a particular region or habitat. This type of diversity can be found in both the natural ecosystem and the agricultural ecosystem.
- Ecosystem Diversity: There is a large diversity of different ecosystems that have distinctive species. This ecosystem varies with each other as per their habitats and the difference in their species. This ecosystem diversity can be found within a specific geographical region or a country or a state. This type of diversity also includes forests, grasslands, deserts, and mountains.
Loss of Biodiversity
Loss of biodiversity also leads to the extinction of the plant and animal species and this loss can be either reversible or permanent. Human activities have been the major cause of the loss of biodiversity which has led to sudden changes in climate causing a big threat to biodiversity.
Causes of Loss of Biodiversity
Some of the major causes that have resulted in the loss of biodiversity are mentioned below:
- The exploitation of medicinal plants for several laboratory purposes has resulted in the extinction of these species. Also, several animals are sacrificed for various research in science and medicine.
- Natural calamities like floods, earthquakes, forest fires also lead to the loss of biodiversity.
- Air pollution has a major role in the loss of biodiversity. Rapid cutting down of the trees has resulted in the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere leading to climate change. As a result, there has been an increase in the land and ocean temperature leaving an inimical impact on species.
- Loss of natural resources and natural ecosystems.
- This leads to the loss of animals and the loss of spices.