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Biodiversity Introduction

Biodiversity is the degree of variation of life forms within a given species, ecosystem,biome, or an entire planet. Biodiversity is a measure of the health of ecosystems. Biodiversity is in part a function of climate. In terrestrial habitats, tropical regions are typically rich whereas polar regions support fewer species. Rapid environmental changes typically cause mass extinctions. One estimate is that less than 1% of the species that have existed on Earth are extant.[1][verification needed] Since life began on Earth, five major mass extinctions and several minor events have led to large and sudden drops in biodiversity. The Phanerozoic eon (the last 540 million years) marked a rapid growth in biodiversity via the Cambrian explosiona period during which the majority of multicellular phyla first appeared.[2] The next 400 million years included repeated, massive biodiversity losses classified as mass extinction events. In theCarboniferous, rainforest collapse led to a great loss of plant and animal life.[3] ThePermianTriassic extinction event, 251 million years ago, was the worst; vertebrate recovery took 30 million years.[4] The most recent, the CretaceousPaleogene extinction event, occurred 65 million years ago, and has often attracted more attention than others because it resulted in the extinction of the dinosaurs.[5] The period since the emergence of humans has displayed an ongoing biodiversity reduction and an accompanying loss of genetic diversity. Named the Holocene extinction, the reduction is caused primarily by human impacts, particularly habitat destruction. Conversely, biodiversity impacts human health in a number of ways, both positively and negatively.[6] The United Nations designated 2011-2020 as the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity.


"Biodiversity" is most commonly used to replace the more clearly defined and long established terms, species diversity and species richness. Biologists most often define biodiversity as the "totality of genes, species, and ecosystems of a region".[12][13] An advantage of this definition is that it seems to describe most circumstances and presents a unified view of the traditional three levels at which biological variety has been identified:

species diversity ecosystem diversity genetic diversity

In 2003 Professor Anthony Campbell at Cardiff University, UK and the Darwin Centre,Pembrokeshire, defined a fourth level: Molecular Diversity.[14] This multilevel construct is consistent with Dasmann and Lovejoy. An explicit definition consistent with this interpretation was first given in a paper by Bruce A. Wilcox commissioned by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) for the 1982 World National Parks Conference.[15] Wilcox's definition was "Biological diversity is the variety of life all levels of biological systems (i.e., molecular, organismic, population, species and ecosystem)...". The 1992 United NationsEarth Summit defined "biological diversity" as "the variability among living organisms from all sources, including, 'inter alia', terrestrial, marine, and other aquatic ecosystems, and the ecological complexes of which they are part: this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems".[16] This definition is used in the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity.[16] One textbook's definition is "variation of life at all levels of biological organization".[17] Geneticists define it as the diversity of genes and organisms. They study processes such as mutations, gene transfer, and genome dynamics that generate evolution.[15] Measuring diversity at one level in a group of organisms may not precisely correspond to diversity at other levels. However, tetrapod(terrestrial vertebrates) taxonomic and ecological diversity shows a very close correlation.

Name & Describe One biodiversity hotspot

Name 1. North and Central America 2. South America 3. Europe and Central Asia 4. Africa 5. South Asia 6. East Asia and Asia-Pacific A biodiversity hotspot is a region with a significant reservoir of biodiversity that is under threat from humans. The concept of biodiversity hotspots was originated by Norman Myers in two articles in The Environmentalist (1988),[1] & 1990[2]revised after thorough analysis by Myers and others in Hotspots: Earths Biologically Richest and Most Endangered Terrestrial Ecoregions. [3] To qualify as a biodiversity hotspot on Myers 2000 edition of the hotspot-map, a region must meet two strict criteria: it must contain at least 0.5% or 1,500 species of vascular plants as endemics, and it has to have lost at least 70% of its primary vegetation. [4] Around the world, 25 areas qualify under this definition, with nine others possible candidates. These sites support nearly 60% of the world's plant, bird, mammal, reptile, and amphibian species, with a very high share of endemic species. India is a remarkably diverse country. Arguably, only the continent of Africa exceeds the linguistic, genetic and cultural diversity of the nation of India.[1]. The country houses 1.2 billion people speaking 1652 languages and dialects[2], spread out over more than two thousand ethnicities and over every major religion. The demographics of India are remarkably diverse. India is the second most populous country in the world, with over 1.18 billion people (estimate for April, 2010), more than a sixth of the world's population. Already containing 17.31% of the world's population, India is projected to be the world's most populous country by 2025, surpassing China, its population exceeding 1.6 billion people by 2050.[3][4] However, India has an astonishing demographic dividend where more than 50% of its population is below the age of 25 and more than 65% hovers below the age of 35. It is expected that, in 2020, the average age of an Indian will be 29 years, compared to 37 for China and 48 for Japan; and, by 2030, India's dependency ratio should be just over 0.4.

One Example where loss of biodiversity ..

Removal of exotic species will allow the species that they have negatively impacted to recover their ecological niches. Exotic species that have become pests can be identified taxonomically (e.g. with Digital Automated Identification SYstem (DAISY), using the barcode of life).[130][131] Removal is practical only given large groups of individuals due to the economic cost. As sustainable populations of the remaining native species in an area become assured, "missing" species that are candidates for reintroduction can be identified using databases such as the Encyclopedia of Life and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility.

Biodiversity banking places a monetary value on biodiversity. One example is the Australian Native Vegetation Management Framework. Gene banks are collections of specimens and genetic material. Some banks intend to reintroduce banked species to the ecosystem (e.g. via tree nurseries). [132] Reduction of and better targeting of pesticides allows more species to survive in agricultural and urbanized areas. Location-specific approaches may be less useful for protecting migratory species. One approach is to create wildlife corridors that correspond to the animals' movements. National and other boundaries can complicate corridor creation

Focusing on limited areas of higher potential biodiversity promises greater immediate return on investment than spreading resources evenly or focusing on areas of little diversity but greater interest in biodiversity.[133] A second strategy focuses on areas that retain most of their original diversity, which typically require little or no restoration. These are typically non-urbanized, nonagricultural areas. Tropical areas often fit both criteria, given their natively high diversity and relative lack of development.

This document shows how we can integrate biodiversity conservation into actions and thinking right across the community, how current actions are already making a major contribution, and what more can be done. Individuals, community organisations, business and government can all play a role in conserving, and sustainably using, our living wealth our ecosystem, species and genetic diversity. Biodiversity conservation is an important part of the State Governments policy agenda, and has been so for some time. The language in which this commitment has been expressed has changed, broadening from a focus on wildlife to flora and fauna conservation, and now to addressing the whole range of biodiversity, including ecosystems. Similarly, the scope of government, business and community actions and programs has broadened. This is being driven by the increasing awareness of biodiversity challenges across a range of areas of activity, from forestry to coastal management. It is being accompanied by increasing knowledge of how ecosystems work, and how we can act to sustain them. This document confirms that biodiversity conservation is a central and essential part of responsible environmental management, not just by the Government, but by the whole community. The strategic framework of principles and mechanisms that have been described provides pointers to guide a wide range of activities. It indicates how people can get on with the job, in areas from parks management to water rights allocation, while sustaining biodiversity. Their actions must be based on accepted principles of ecological management, risk management, and sustainable development.