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Types and Importance of Biodiversity
Biodiversity is a term that refers to the enormous variety of life forms on earth. Often, the term is used to describe the life forms of a particular ecosystem. It refers to every living thing - from the tiny bacteria that cannot be seen with the naked eye, to plants, and to humans in the ecosystem of a region or area. Much of the biodiversity is still unknown to humans. According to an estimation, there are about 8.7 million living beings or species in existence on the Earth out of which only 1.2 million have been identified and described till now
It is a matter of interest for scientists to check biodiversity on a global scale although much of biodiversity is yet to be discovered. How many species exist in a single ecosystem, such as a grassland, a forest, a tundra or a lake is also a matter for study. A single ecosystem of grassland can contain a large number of species, such as beetles, antelopes, and snakes. The ecosystems that are capable of containing large biodiversity tend to have ideal climates for plant growth, such as the wet and warm climate of tropical regions. Ecosystems can also contain organisms too tiny to look at with the naked eye. For example, a sample of soil under a microscope reveals a whole gamut of bacteria and other tiny organisms.
Areas that have an extremely high level of biodiversity are called hotspots. Some hotspots in the world are Mexico, Brazil, South Africa, the southwestern United States, and Madagascar, which have more biodiversity than others. Species that are available in only one particular region are found in hotspots too. These species are called endemic species
It is natural for all of the species on earth to maintain a balance in their ecosystems. For example, grasslands offer food to cattle. Cattle in return nutrients to the soil that helps in more growth of grass. The manure can also be used to fertilize croplands. There are many species on Earth that provide benefits to humans, including food, medicine, and clothing
A large part of the world’s biodiversity is under threat due to human activities. Pollution, population growth, and climate change are the reasons for thousands of species going extinct. Some scientists have warned that half of the biodiversity of the world will be extinct within the next century. Conservation is, therefore, necessary to protect endangered species, and their habitats, and preserve biodiversity.
Types of Biodiversity
There are three types of biodiversity, namely species diversity, genetic diversity, and ecological diversity.
Species diversity means the different types of species available in a particular geographical area or an ecosystem. This type of biodiversity ranges from microorganisms to various plant species. All of the species that are alive today have unique traits that they have evolved over generations. These traits make one species distinct from another. Organisms that have developed unique traits can no longer reproduce with each other. Therefore, the organisms that can reproduce with each other are considered to be one species.
Species diversity is the most basic level of biodiversity. No two species are similar to each other even when they live in the same habitat.
The genetic configuration of every individual is different from another member of the same species. This is called genetic diversity. For example, every human being is different in terms of genetic constituents. In the same manner, there are differences in the same variety of rice, maize, wheat, and barley.
Ecological diversity means the variations among different species living in an ecosystem that are connected by food webs and food chains. Ecological diversity refers to the diversity of different ecosystems in a region. Deserts, rainforests, mangroves, etc are examples of ecological diversity.
Biodiversity is important for a host of reasons. It is important for sustaining life on the planet. Some reasons for the importance of biodiversity are the following
Biodiversity plays an important role in maintaining ecological balance. The environment of the world is built in such a manner that no single species, including humans, cannot live in it without cooperation with other species. Biodiversity helps manage the balance of an ecosystem and hence plays a critical role in ecological stability.
Each biodiversity is helpful for the economy as well. For example, food, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical products are obtained from the vast reservoir of biodiverse nature. Fishery, forests, crops, and livestock offer food to humans and have enormous value. Wild plants, such as Cinchona and Foxglove have medicinal values. Wood, perfumes, resins, lubricants, fibers, rubber, and cork are obtained from biodiverse wild plants. Moreover, the national parks and sanctuaries are a source of tourism, many people find beauty and joy in visiting them. Therefore, biodiversity has great economic value.
Biodiversity is an ethical right for all living beings. Humans should not deny any species this right. By causing biodiversity to vanish, humans are playing an unethical role against nature. The ethical importance is important to realize because we are at the helm of affairs as the most intelligent species on earth.
India in Terms of Biodiversity
India is one of the most biodiverse nations in the world. It ranks ninth in terms of plant species number. Two out of the world’s 25 biodiversity hotspots are found in India. India is the original location for plant species, such as eggplant, pigeon pea, cotton, cucumber, and sesame. India is also the source of various other important domesticated plants, such as cereals, millets, legumes, various vegetables, pharmaceuticals, aromatic crops, etc. India is rich in fauna too; nearly 91,000 species of animals are found in India.
However, like most other parts of the world, biodiversity is diminishing at a rapid rotate in India too. Therefore, many programs to conserve the environment and protect biodiversity have been launched in India. However, the mass needs to be made aware of losing biodiversity because without mass support it will be impossible for government and NGOs to maintain the biodiversity of the nation
The rich biodiversity of the world must be protected for humans’ own sustenance and liveability in the world. We must be aware and vigilant about biodiversity loss. That is the only way humans can survive well. If the current rate of biodiversity loss sustains, we may face a dire threat in the future. That is why learning about biodiversity is important.
Qns 1. Why is it told that most of the biodiversity of the world is still unknown?
Ans. According to an estimation, there are about 8.7 million living beings or species in existence on the Earth out of which only 1.2 million have been identified and described till now. That means that much of the biodiversity is still unknown to humans.
Qns 2. What is India’s rank in terms of plant species richness in the world
Ans. India ranks ninth in terms of plant species number.
Qns 3. How many animal species are found in India?
Ans. Nearly 91,000 animal species are found in India.
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