The loss of biodiversity will include many species we know today. The potatoes grown in that region belong to seven species and the number of varieties likely is in the thousands. Without conservation methods in place, this could be the fate of many more ecosystems. Human-driven biodiversity loss and ecological effects ... With biodiversity loss, a huge impact on human health comes as well. Lake Huron contains about 79 species of fish, all of which are found in many other lakes in North America. And we’d lose all the valuable oxygen, homes for birds and animals, and wood for buildings and furniture. Genetic diversity is the raw material for evolutionary adaptation in a species and is represented by the variety of genes present within a population. to climate change. It normally appears in one volume per year with typically 200–300 pages. In other words, biodiversity increases closer to the equator (Figure 3). Most cultures, at least at some time, have recognized the importance of … Estimates of numbers of prokaryotic species are largely guesses, but biologists agree that science has only just begun to catalog their diversity. Biodiversity and Ecology Biodiversity is the divergency of species present in different eco-systems. There is considerable research into the psychologically regenerative benefits of natural landscapes that suggest the hypothesis may hold some truth. Therefore, it is very important to have a good knowledge of biodiversity for a sustainable livelihood. In addition, the loss of an inexpensive protein source to populations that cannot afford to replace it will increase the cost of living and limit societies in other ways. The task, however, is becoming increasingly impossible over time as extinction removes species from Earth faster than they can be described. The people in this region traditionally lived in relatively isolated settlements separated by mountains. Why is biodiversity necessary for the stability of the planet? Another possible explanation is the greater energy the tropics receive from the sun. Furthermore, biodiversity research has demonstrated that plant diversity enhances the productivity and functioning of ecosystems. Table 1. This is particularly true for struggling communities in developing countries, who often turn to high-biodiversity ecosystems as their source of food, fuel, medicines With COVID-19, we’ve seen the damage that diseases can do not only to human health, but also to the global economy. Modified from the original by Matthew R. Fisher. This study shows that a diversity of pests is more effective at control than one single pest. Humanity must stop the pace of wildlife extinctions — or face extinction itself, according to a growing body of research. Our ecosystems provide us with food, medicine, clean air and water, recreation, and spiritual and aesthetical inspiration. The biodiversity found on Earth today is the result of approximately 3.5 billion years of evolution. Contemporary societies that live close to the land often have a broad knowledge of the medicinal uses of plants growing in their area. For example, a forest with 10 equally common species of trees is more diverse than a forest that has 10 species of trees wherein just one of those species makes up 95 percent of the trees. Utilitarian values include the many basic needs humans obtain from biodiversity such as food, fuel, shelter, and medicine. It provides us with nourishment, housing, fuel, clothing and several other resources. Without a name and description, a species cannot be studied in depth and in a coordinated way by multiple scientists. Biodiversity, also called biological diversity, the variety of life found in a place on Earth or, often, the total variety of life on Earth. Biodiversity holds ecological and economic significance. The geographic coverage ranges from the floodplains of the Brazilian Amazon to the agricultural landscapes of Southeast Asia, and the coral … 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. Maintaining the genetic diversity of wild species related to domesticated species ensures our continued supply of food. Protecting biodiversity plays a crucial part in achieving these emissions reductions. 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. This crop diversity matched the cultural diversity of highly subdivided populations of humans. Loss of diversity in pest enemies will inevitably make it more difficult and costly to grow food. By … These wetlands are of huge importance for other species/groups such as otter and water vole, waterfowl, great crested newt and a large array of insects, fish and plants. Resistance to disease is a chief benefit to maintaining crop biodiversity and lack of diversity in contemporary crop species carries similar risks. wing. Finally, humans compete for their food with crop pests, most of which are insects. Importance of Biodiversity by OpenStax is licensed under CC BY 4.0. The diversity of species and genes in ecological communities affects the functioning of these communities. Prairies once spanned central North America from the boreal forest in northern Canada down into Mexico. A review found that in 74 percent of studies that looked for an effect of landscape complexity (forests and fallow fields near to crop fields) on natural enemies of pests, the greater the complexity, the greater the effect of pest-suppressing organisms. By 2007, the FDA had approved five drugs based on animal toxins to treat diseases such as hypertension, chronic pain, and diabetes. Ecologists believe that the bulk of the work in removing pests is actually done by predators and parasites of those pests, but the impact has not been well studied. 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. Given that Earth is losing species at an accelerating pace, science knows little about what is being lost. The Ecological Footprint can help track the underlying drivers of biodiversity loss, although it needs to be complemented with other indicators for a comprehensive monitoring of the pressures humans pose on the Biosphere’s ecosystems and biodiversity. Some of these compounds also work as human medicines. 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. These wild forms are often the source of new gene variants that can be bred with existing varieties to create varieties with new attributes. The diversity is driven by the diverse demands of the dramatic elevation changes, the limited movement of people, and the demands created by crop rotation for different varieties that will do well in different fields. In general, the fish taken from fisheries have shifted to smaller species and the larger species are overfished. Biodiversity & Ecology publishes research papers as well as forum papers, reviews and reports on biodiversity, evolution, and ecology. 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. That number has probably decreased to about 10 percent as natural plant ingredients are replaced by synthetic versions of the plant compounds. In a landmark study published in 2017, a group of researchers led by Bronson Griscom, who researches natural climate solutions at Conservation International, 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. We in turn depend on the environment for our own health and existence. 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. They are grown in soil. We value biodiversity for many reasons, some utilitarian, some intrinsic. Selection of RVEI sites is undertaken by the HBIC. Meanwhile The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) initiative estimates that global sustainable business opportunities from investing in natural resources could be Biodiversity is important to most aspects of our lives. Biodiversity is the amount of variety of life on Earth. Research indicates that there is a close link between disease outbreaks and the degradation of nature. Agriculture began after early hunter-gatherer societies first settled in one place and heavily modified their immediate environment. They also lead to collateral damage by killing non-pest species as well as beneficial insects like honeybees, and risking the health of agricultural workers and consumers. Examples of significant medicines derived from plant compounds include aspirin, codeine, digoxin, atropine, and vincristine (Figure 4). 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. These two factors, latitude and age, are two of several hypotheses biogeographers have suggested to explain biodiversity patterns on Earth. The decline in soil productivity occurs because the interactions in the original ecosystem have been lost. Many medications are derived from natural chemicals made by a diverse group of organisms. Biodiversity is important, more than just the 'I want my children to enjoy it' reason. There are three main fields of study under the heading of biogeography: ecological biogeography, historical biogeography (called paleobiogeography), and conservation biogeography. Moreover, these pesticides may migrate from the fields where they are applied and do damage to other ecosystems like streams, lakes, and even the ocean. 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. Whether in a village in the Amazon or a metropolis such as Beijing, humans depend on the services ecosystems provide, such as fresh water, pollination, soil fertility and stability, food and medicine. The four major components of biodiversity are species diversity, ecological diversity, genetic diversity, and functional diversity. is the study of the distribution of the world’s species both in the past and in the present. Since the 1920s, government agriculture departments have maintained seed banks of crop varieties as a way to maintain crop diversity. Biologists recognize that human populations are embedded in ecosystems and are dependent on them, just as is every other species on the planet. Biodiversity is very important to the well-being of our planet and here’s why. ECOLOGICAL AND ECONOMICAL IMPORTANCE OF BIODIVERSITY Biodiversity is considered a cornerstone to the health of the environment. The chief proponent of this idea is famed entomologist E. O. Wilson. 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. These organisms also maintain soil texture that affects water and oxygen dynamics in the soil that are necessary for plant growth. It includes organisms from Earth’s vastly different ecosystems, including deserts, rainforests, coral reefs, grasslands, tundra, and polar ice caps. 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. Recreation—many recreational pursuits rely on our unique biodiversity, such as birdwatching, hiking, camping and fishing. 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. Loss of these species would make growing crops requiring pollination impossible, increasing dependence on other crops. discovered that nature can deliver at least 30 percent of the emissions reductions needed by 2030 to prevent climate catastrophe. A recent estimate suggests that only 13% of eukaryotic species have been named (Table 1). Ecological biogeography studies the current factors affecting the distribution of plants and animals. Jan 30, 2012 . The ultimate outcome could clearly be the loss of aquatic systems as food sources. Many honeybee populations are managed by beekeepers who rent out their hives’ services to farmers. It has played a major role in shaping the diversity of nature at the genetic, species and ecological levels. Our biodiversity is very important to the well-being of our planet. Biodiversity is categorized into species diversity, genetic diversity and ecosystem diversity. There are a number of SuDS components that can make a significant contribution to the biodiversity (ecological) value of an area (eg green roofs, ponds, swales, wetlands, trees). There are various initiatives to catalog described species in accessible and more organized ways, and the internet is facilitating that effort. Although it is sometimes difficult to predict which species will become extinct, many are listed as endangered (at great risk of extinction). worth US$ 2 to 6 trillion by 2050. This shows that we must take care of nature to take care of ourselves. All of these species were found only in Lake Victoria, which is to say they were endemic. Seventy percent of emerging viral diseases have spread from animals to humans. It has contributed in several ways to the development of human culture and, in turn, human communities. Forests and wetland ecosystems provide crucial buffers to extreme storms and flooding related Each variety has been bred to thrive at particular elevations and soil and climate conditions. Share this with Facebook Share this with Twitter Share this with LinkedIn Share this with Email Print this. Biodiversity is a broad term for biological variety, and it can be measured at a number of organizational levels. A challenge in implementing biodiversity conservation is in reconciling criteria for identifying significant areas and representative networks for biodiversity protection. Despite considerable effort, knowledge of the species that inhabit the planet is limited. is no likely ecological impact. eagle and American bison are examples of conservation successes because of their role as national symbols. Other key ecosystem services related to food production are plant pollination and crop pest control. Around 75 percent of global food crops rely on animals and insects such as bees to pollinate them, but many of these pollinator populations are in decline — which could put more than US$ 235 billion of agricultural products at risk. However, biologists are using different measures of biodiversity, including genetic diversity, to help focus efforts to preserve the biologically and technologically important elements of biodiversity. Over 150 crops in the United States require pollination to produce. Economic Benefits of Biodiversity. and these changes are leading to a loss of biodiversity, declines in fisheries’ yields and a reduced ability to support humans. Ecosystems such as parks and other protected areas also provide recreation and a knowledge resource for visitors, and biodiversity is a frequent As the global wildlife trade continues and development 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. By Jim Shelton. The look of our backyards, forests and province would change forever. For example, potatoes were domesticated beginning around 7,000 years ago in the central Andes of Peru and Bolivia. The collapse of fisheries has dramatic and long-lasting effects on local human populations that work in the fishery. As a consequence, their soils are now being depleted unless they are maintained artificially at great expense. 4.2 Discuss the importance of the maintenance of biodiversity . 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. Ecological life support—biodiversity provides functioning ecosystems that supply oxygen, clean air and water, pollination of plants, pest control, wastewater treatment and many ecosystem services. Protecting the nature we all rely on for food, fresh water and livelihoods. For example, the extinction of one species may cause the extinction of another. There are numerous reasons deeming biodiversity significant. less likely to deliver those services, especially given the needs of an ever-growing human population. One of the oldest observed patterns in ecology is that biodiversity typically increases as latitude declines. Naming and counting species may seem an unimportant pursuit given the other needs of humanity, but it is not simply an accounting. Many medications were once derived from plant extracts but are now synthesized. 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. Until the emergence of humans, the earth supported more biodiversity than any other period in geological history. Biodiversity enhancement details . But how exactly is biodiversity so important to humanity? This is one measure of the bird biodiversity on the continent. Biodiversity is important in ecosystems because it prevents extinction of species, allows organisms to adapt to changes in the environment and provides a wide range of materials and foods for survival. Nature-related tourism is also a significant income generator for many people as well. Words by 3p Contributor. IMPORTANCE The increasing use of the term biodiversity is being driven by the fact that, in an ecological context, global biodiversity itself is being lost at an alarming rate . One example of this is Kenya’s Lake Turkana — the world’s largest desert lake, a habitat for a variety of wildlife Loss of biodiversity may have reverberating consequences on ecosystems because of the complex interrelations among species. At least 40 percent of the world’s economy and 80 percent of the needs of the poor are derived from biological resources. Humans are not the only animals to use plants for medicinal reasons. We're proud to be recognized as a financially accountable and transparent organization. Antibiotics, which are responsible for extraordinary improvements in health and lifespans in developed countries, are compounds largely derived from fungi and bacteria. The potato demonstrates a well-known example of the risks of low crop diversity: during the tragic Irish potato famine (1845–1852 AD), the single potato variety grown in Ireland became susceptible to a potato blight—wiping out the crop. Also Read: Flagship Species. Importance of Biodiversity . Lastly, the tropics have been perceived as being more stable than temperate regions, which have a pronounced climate and day-length seasonality. Environmental Biology by Matthew R. Fisher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted. 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. By protecting biodiversity in Earth’s ecosystems, countries could save lives and money, while helping to prevent future pandemics. Lake Victoria is a tropical lake, while Lake Huron is a temperate lake. For example, many plants produce compounds meant to protect the plant from insects and other animals that eat them. The greater age provides more time for speciation, the evolutionary process of creating new species. The stability of tropical ecosystems might promote speciation. Pharmaceutical companies are actively looking for new natural compounds that can function as medicines. projects expand deeper into tropical forests, humans are increasing their exposure to wild animals — and the diseases they may carry. The work of biogeographers is critical to understanding our physical environment, how the environment affects species, and how changes in environment impact the distribution of a species. 1.5 Environmental Justice & Indigenous Struggles, 2.4 Energy Enters Ecosystems Through Photosynthesis, Chapter 4: Community & Population Ecology, Chapter 6: Environmental Hazards & Human Health, 6.1 The Impacts of Environmental Conditions, 7.5 Case Study: The Aral Sea - Going, Going, Gone, 8.2 Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering, Chapter 9: Conventional & Sustainable Agriculture, Chp 10: Air Pollution, Climate Change, & Ozone Depletion, Chapter 11: Conventional & Sustainable Energy, 11.1 Challenges and Impacts of Energy Use. For example: imagine if maple trees disappeared. Despite considerable effort, few fisheries on Earth are managed sustainability. This is the reason why beavers are known as a “keystone species”, a term used to describe a species that greatly affects its surroundings, to the point where other species are highly dependent on … Millions of people also depend on nature and species for their day-to-day livelihoods. 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. Biodiversity loss refers to the reduction of biodiversity due to displacement or extinction of species. Biologists have also identified alternate measures of biodiversity, some of which are important in planning how to preserve biodiversity. The current rate of extinction is … 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. This is likely to have dramatic effects on human welfare through the collapse of ecosystems. In addition to humans losing the food source, these alterations affect many other species in ways that are difficult or impossible to predict. For about one billion people, aquatic resources provide the main source of animal protein. Abstract. Since the beginning of human agriculture more than 10,000 years ago, human groups have been breeding and selecting crop varieties. Some ecosystems, such as mangroves, are particularly good at storing carbon and keeping it out of the atmosphere — where it contributes to climate change. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. For centuries in Europe, older knowledge about the medical uses of plants was compiled in herbals—books that identified the plants and their uses. It may not be self-evident, so here are five reasons. Other pollinators include a diverse array of other bee species and various insects and birds. The ecological importance of intraspecific variation Nat Ecol Evol. Pesticides control these competitors, but these are costly and lose their effectiveness over time as pest populations adapt. Plants acting as ecosystem engineers create habitats and facilitate biodiversity maintenance within plant communities. 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. Many of the species survive, but the hugely productive ecosystem that was responsible for creating our most productive agricultural soils is now gone. 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