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Biodiversity

Introduction


Biodiversity is all the different kinds of life you’ll find on planet earth —the variety of animals, plants, fungi, and even microorganisms like bacteria that make up our natural world. Each of these species and creatures interacts in ecosystems to preserve equilibrium and sustain life, much like an intricate web. Biodiversity supplies everything humans need in nature to survive: food, clean water, medicine, and shelter.


We advocate biodiversity for biodiversity’s sake. It may take our extinction to set things straight.– David Foreman

Threat


However, much of the Earth's biodiversity is under threat as a result of human activities and other activities that disrupt and even destroy ecosystems. Biodiversity is threatened by pollution, climate change, and population increase. These threats have caused an unprecedented rise in the rate of species extinction. According to some scientists, half of all species will be extinct within the next century. Conservation efforts are required to safeguard endangered species and their habitats and to preserve biodiversity.



Life on Earth has suffered five mass extinctions of biodiversity in its long history, caused by massive volcanic eruptions, deep ice ages, meteorite impacts and clashing continents. However, other experts think the sixth mass extinction has already started.

This one is particularly different, since it is the result of a single species – humans – rather than geology or natural climate change.


Significance


Biodiversity is a necessary component of life, constituting the fundamental fabric of "natural capital." The immense diversity and complex interactions among species, no matter how little or insignificant they may seem, keep our ecosystems healthy and our economy productive. Nature provides healthy food, clean air and water, supports livelihoods, and serves as a buffer against severe weather occurrences.


It can be categorized on three levels:


  • Species diversity refers to the variety of different species (plants, animals, fungi and microorganisms) such as palm trees, elephants or bacteria.


  • Genetic diversity corresponds to the variety of genes contained in plants, animals, fungi and microorganisms. It may occur both within and between species. Poodles, German shepherds, and golden retrievers, for example, are all dogs, yet they all look different.


  • Ecosystem diversity refers to all of the many ecosystems - or locations - that exist, such as tropical or temperate woods, hot and cold deserts, marshes, rivers, mountains, coral reefs, and so on. Each ecosystem is made up of a complex web of connections between biotic (living) components like plants and animals and abiotic (non-living) components like sunshine, air, water, minerals, and nutrients.


The Case of Borneo


Borneo, a huge Southeast Asian island, is home to over 1,400 animal species and at least 15,000 plant species. Orangutans, pygmy elephants, clouded leopards, rhinos, and probosci's monkeys live beside the world's tallest tropical trees. There are also over 50 kinds of carnivorous pitcher plants that capture and eat insects and small animals. There are up to 3,000 orchid species, as well as flying, color-changing frogs and darting snails.


However, Borneo's immense richness of natural resources has drawn more than just nature enthusiasts. Large-scale foreign interests have labored for decades to extract as much as they can from the island — hardwood trees, coal, rubber, gold, diamonds, and other metals and minerals. Forests are being cleared to make space for lucrative palm oil plantations. Even the unique flora and animals of Borneo are hunted, harvested, and sold on the illegal market.


However, one of the most fascinating elements of biodiversity is its resilience. Reduce the stress, manage resources wisely, and give it time, and the ecosystem will recover.

Way forward


Biodiversity must be seen as a critical concern on par with climate change. The loss of biodiversity is a problem not just for the environment, but also for the economy, security, morality, and ethics. The biggest challenge and opportunity lies in changing approach towards development. People must switch to clean technology in order to safeguard the environment. Ultimately, the world needs to come together to make a global deal to save nature.

The goal of biodiversity conservation is to develop genuine ways for mankind to coexist with nature without damaging it. It also entails adhering to practises that take into account varied ecosystems and habitats all around the globe.

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