BIODIVERSITY AND THE CHALLENGES

The term “biodiversity” was coined in the mid-1980s, despite the fact that the earth and evolution processes are centuries old. The most widely accepted definition of bio-diversity is the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which was signed by more than 150 countries in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 is “the variability among living organisms from all sources, including terrestrial, marine, and other aquatic environments, as well as the ecological complexes of which they are a part; this encompasses diversity within species, across species, and between ecosystems.

Biodiversity is the sum of species richness, or the number of plant, animal, and microbe species found in a given area. From the chemical unit to the individual organism, and then to the population, community, ecosystem, landscape, and biosphere levels, it encompasses a wide range of forms.

TYPES OF BIODIVERSITY:
a) Genetic Diversity (Diversity within Species)– genetic diversity refers to the heterogeneity of genes within a species. Each variant of a species has its own set of genes and genetic makeup. This refers to different populations of the same species, as well as genetic variation within populations or varieties of the same species. A species’ ability to adapt to disease, pollution, and other environmental changes is enhanced by the diversity of its genes.

b) Species Diversity (Diversity between Species)– This refers to the variety of species found within a certain location. The number of species in a region could be used to measure diversity.

c) Ecosystem Diversity– Diverse landforms may occur in an ecosystem, each supporting different and particular plants. In contrast to genetic and particular diversity, ecosystem diversity is difficult to quantify because the boundaries of the communities that make up the numerous sub ecosystems are elusive.

LOSS OF DIVERSITY: The fates of important endangered species are frequently discussed in discussions of the current extinction problem, and in many cases, purposeful overexploitation by humans is blamed for the endangerment. However, the moment has come to draw public attention to a number of more obscure and (for the most part) unpleasant facts, such as the following: –
(i) The fundamental cause of the loss of organic diversity is habitat destruction, which is inextricably linked to the growth of human populations and activities.
(ii) Many of the less cuddly and spectacular organisms that Homo sapiens are destroying are more important to humanity’s survival than most of the well-known endangered species. Plants and insects are more important to us than leopards and whales.
(iii) In the shape of crops, domestic animals, a large range of industrial items, and many vital medicines, other species have provided humanity with the basic foundation of civilization. Nonetheless, the function of microorganisms, plants, and animals in delivering free ecosystem services is the most essential anthropocentric rationale for preserving diversity, without which society in its current form would perish.
(iv) At the moment, the loss of genetically different populations within species is at least as serious as the extinction of entire species. When a species is reduced to a sliver, its ability to help humanity suffers dramatically, and eventual extinction in the not-too-distant future becomes far more possible. It is frequently too late to save an organism once it has been identified as endangered.
(v) Extrapolating existing tendencies of diversity loss, a denouement for civilization is expected within the next 100 years, equating to a nuclear winter.

CHALLENGES TO BIODIVERSITY: Unfortunately, the extinction of animal and plant species is not limited to temperate zone cities or the developed globe. In the third world, the effects of urbanization on biological diversity are the most severe. Although conveying the whole scope of urban environmental degradation is nearly difficult, identifying the fundamental reasons is quite straightforward. With few exceptions, human activities result in losses of naturally occurring biological diversity. As a result, cities are practically synonymous with ecosystem disruption and biological diversity loss.

Natural habitats are immediately replaced by houses, condominiums, hotels, and malls, as well as the roadways, highways, and utilities that support them. In urban areas, local overkill of animals for food, fur, and feathers, as well as misguided predator control measures, have long been an issue. They were also among the first to be introduced to logging and weed-control efforts. The introduction of animal species that feed on native animal populations, compete for limited resources, and act as vectors for novel illnesses and parasites to which native organisms can be particularly sensitive has had a particularly negative impact on the biological variety of metropolitan environments.

Less direct sources, such as many of the air and waterborne toxins that endanger human health, can also have a significant impact on biological diversity in metropolitan areas. Natural ecosystems have been discovered to be disrupted by toxic byproducts of industrial activities. Airborne pollutants are particularly sneaky because they spread urban blight well beyond city bounds. Overdrawing local aquifers, lowering water levels, and ground subsidence have a more subtle impact on ecological diversity.

The disturbance of ecosystem function, the decoupling of species relationships, and the removal of populations of organisms from metropolitan areas are all caused by a variety of visible and subtle processes. Why should we be concerned about this? Because the loss of only a few people can lead to a significant destabilization of natural biological communities and, as a result, a reduction in those groups’ ability to deliver a wide range of services.

The arguments for preserving biological diversity in cities appear clear, yet putting conservation initiatives in place in cities is one of the most difficult challenges facing environmentalists. Some sites have become so degraded that natural ecosystems can no longer be identified, but other urban environments have remained relatively unspoiled. Only species that are extremely well adapted to human impact often thrive in open places in inner cities. The upkeep and enhancement of such sites, which are almost typically small and secluded, necessitates considerable and ongoing hands-on supervision. Rather than maintaining all surviving resident species, conservation aims in these places should normally attempt to maximize biological variety to the greatest extent possible.

CONCLUSION: As the world enters the twenty-first century, it is evident that biodiversity is being threatened by a multitude of factors. The most problematic of all is a sheer lack of knowledge about what it implies. Briefly said, biodiversity represents the number of kinds of wild plants and animals found in a certain country. The conversion of forestland to produce agricultural crops is one of the most serious threats to biodiversity. While it is true that enhancing the productivity of existing farmland will provide the majority of the food grown by 2050, the Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that an additional 120 million hectares would need to be plowed in developing nations over the next 30 years.

ENDNOTES: https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/Biodiversity-challenges-ahead/article16303691.ece

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

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