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Biodiversity.... What is it and why is it important?
Transcript of Biodiversity.... What is it and why is it important?
What is Biodiversity?
Biological diversity is the term given to the
variety of life on Earth
. It is the variety within and between all species of plants, animals and micro-organisms and the ecosystems within which they live and interact.
Why is Biodiversity Important?
Ecosystems and their species perform important biological services, for example, green plants remove carbon dioxide and release oxygen into the atmosphere, which helps keep the environment healthy and fit for human life.
Although we still have much to learn about the often complex function of ecosystems, and about which species perform critical roles, we know that if an ecosystem is altered in any way, it might not be able to perform some of its important services.
Economic arguments also provide compelling reasons for conserving species. Different species of plants, animals, fungi and micro-organisms provide us with food, medicines, fuel, building materials, fibre for clothing and industrial products.
Biodiversity is explored at three levels:
• genetic diversity
• species diversity
• ecosystem diversity.
Threats to Biodiversity
Extinction is a natural part of life on Earth. Over the history of the planet most of the species that ever existed, evolved and then gradually went extinct. Species go extinct because of natural shifts in the environment that take place over long periods of time, such as ice ages.
Today, species are going extinct at an accelerated and dangerous rate, because of non-natural environmental changes caused by human activities.
Steps to becoming extinct
A plant or animal species whose population is small and isolated. Not many of its members can been seen in the wild, but its population is stable.
Genetic diversity refers to the
variety of genes (DNA) within a species
. Each species is made up of individuals that have their own particular genetic composition. Within a species there may also be discrete populations with distinctive genes.
Species diversity refers to
the variety of species within a region
. The factors that determine species diversity are complex and not well understood.
Ecosystem diversity refers to the
variety of ecosystems in a given place
. Within any broader landscape there is a mosaic of interconnected ecosystems.
Some of the activities have direct effects on species and ecosystems, such as:
Habitat loss/ degradation
Over exploitation (such as overfishing)
Spread of Non-native Species/ Diseases
Some human activities have indirect but wide-reaching effects on biodiversity, including:
Threatened or Vulnerable Species:
A plant or animal species that may be abundant in some areas but still faces serious dangers. It is likely to become endangered in the near future.
A plant or animal species whose numbers have been reduced to such an extent that it is in immediate danger of becoming extinct. Such a species needs help from humans to survive
A plant or animal species that no longer exists. No individual members can be found alive anywhere.
Threats of Extinction Ad:
You will create an ad for an organism about its current risk of extinction. Below is the information you must include:
1. Picture (hand-drawn) and name of organism?
2. What/where is this organism’s naturally/original habitat?
3. What does this organism feed on?
4. How many are left in the wild?
5. Current level (is it endangered, extinct, rare, or critical?)
6. What is causing this organism to become extinct?
7. How can we conserve (save) this organism?