Ecological Implications

What is Biodiversity?

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* Biodiversity is a term given to the variety of life on Earth and the natural patterns it forms. All life on earth is part of one enormous interdependent system. This system depends on and interacts with various components of our planet. Even non-living components such as: rocks, soils oceans and atmosphere. Biological diversity is the variety of the world's organisms, including their genetic diversity and so on. It is important to have a great variety of diverse genes, species and ecosystems. Nobody knows how many different species of plants and animals there are in the world. Estimates range widely between 10 million and 50 million. So far, scientists have only named and classified around 1.5 million separate life forms.

Loss of Biodiversity

* Biological diversity is being eroded as fast today as at any time since the dinosaurs died out approximately 65 million years ago. Assuming around 10 million species live on earth, tropical forests house between 50 and 90 percent of this total. Scientists have predicted that in about 30 years 5 to 10 percent of tropical forest species may face extinction due to annual clearing. Tropical forests are not the only sites with endangered biodiversity. Worldwide loss of biodiversity is a huge concern.

Other Causes

* Loss of biodiversity has both direct and indirect causes. Direct causes include pollution, habitat loss and fragmentation, invasion by introduced species, (Biotechnology) the over-exploitation of living resources, climate change and industrial agriculture and forestry.

What happens when there is no Diversity?

* No diversity, no future. Without biodiversity our lives become far more precarious. Loss of biodiversity contributes or causes to the disruption of community life, forcing people to migrate to cities and other countries. People will suffer everywhere if we continue to destroy medicinal species. Before the AIDS epidemic we had no idea that Australia's Moreton Bay Chestnut would yield a chemical which may help advance the research for a cure. (1996, The World Wide Fund For Nature) Hundreds of other species with healing potential and other importances are threatened and could disappear before we realize how crucial they are to our environment.

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