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The most straightforward definition is "variation of life at all levels of biological

organization". A second definition holds that biodiversity is a measure of the
relative diversity among organisms present in different ecosystems. "Diversity" in
this definition includes diversity within a species and among species, and
comparative diversity among ecosystems.

The word 'biodiversity' is a combination of two words: biological and diversity. It

refers to the variety of life on Earth. Biodiversity encompasses all the living things
that exist in a certain area, in the air, on land or in water: plants, animals,
microorganisms, and fungi. The area considered may be as small as your
backyard compost heap — or as big as our whole planet.

Animals and plants don't exist in isolation. All living things are connected to other
living things and to their non-living environment (earth forms, rocks and rivers). If
one tiny species in an ecosystem becomes extinct, we may not notice, or think
it's important. But the biodiversity of that ecosystem will be altered, and all the
ecosystems that the species belonged to will be affected.

Three types of biodiversity

There are three aspects to biodiversity: species diversity, genetic diversity and
ecosystem diversity. All three interact and change over time and from place to

Species diversity refers to the variety of different living things.

Genetic diversity refers to the variations between individuals of a species —

characteristics passed down from parents to their offspring.

Ecosystem diversity refers to the great variety of environments produced by the

interplay of the living (animals and plants) and non-living world (earth forms, soil,
rocks and water).

Species diversity

Species diversity refers to the variety of different types of living things on Earth,
such as bacteria, fungi, insects, mammals, plants and more. Different species
have different roles to play within ecosystems. To remain healthy, most
ecosystems require thousands of different species making up their food webs.

A species can be defined as a group or population of similar organisms that

reproduce by interbreeding within the group. Members of a species do not
normally reproduce with members of any other species.
Human beings, for example, belong in a single species — Homo sapiens.
Although there are different populations of humans, with different characteristics
in different parts of the Earth, they can all successfully interbreed with each other
and produce normal offspring. So, even though no two human beings are exactly
alike, humans make up a single species because they reproduce among
All the different breeds of dogs, from Great Danes to Chihuahuas, belong in a
single species, because they can interbreed and produce fertile offspring. Dogs
and foxes, however, are different species because they can't interbreed.

Similarly, all horses belong in one species because they can interbreed. But
horses and donkeys are different species because, although they can interbreed,
their offspring (mules) are sterile.

Genetic diversity

If you think of a group of people in your street, or within your own family, no two
will be exactly alike. All are humans, but all are different. These differences are
due to genetic diversity, that is, the variety of genes within a species.

Each species consists of individuals with their own particular genetic

composition. When the individuals interbreed, their offspring have new
combinations of the genes, resulting in new mixtures of the characteristics of the

This diversity of characteristics is essential for the survival of healthy populations

in natural communities. When the environment of a community changes, as they
do all the time, some individuals will have characteristics that suit the new
environment. They are more likely to survive and produce offspring that are also
suited to the new environment. As a result, the whole population may change.
This is how the process of adaptation occurs.

Ecosystem diversity

Ecosystems are the combination of communities of living things with the physical
environment in which they live. There are many different kinds of ecosystems,
from deserts to mountain slopes, the ocean floor to the Antarctic, with coral reefs
and rainforests being amongst the richest of these systems.
Each ecosystem provides many different kinds of habitats or living places. The
living things and the non-living environment (earth forms, soil, rocks and water)
interact constantly and in complex ways that change over time, with no two
ecosystems being the same.
Although ecosystems are ever-changing and complex, some universal principles
apply. One of these is that matter constantly cycles and recycles. Another
principle is that energy moves through the cycle, being used, absorbed and
For example, forests act as filters for air, absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing
oxygen. Seas are the great stabilizers of climates, with warm currents
moderating temperatures on the land masses they pass.


Biodiversity provides a variety of environment services from its species and

ecosystem that are essentials at the global, regional and local levels.
It provides services like-

• The production of oxygen, reduction of carbon dioxide, maintaining the

water cycle and protection of soil.

• Forests are the main mechanism for the conservation of carbon dioxide
into carbon and oxygen.

• The lost of forests cover, coupled with the increasing release of carbon
dioxide and other gases through industrialization, contributes to the
Greenhouse effect.

• Bio-diversity is also essential for preserving ecological process, such as

fixing and recycling of nutrients, soil formation, maintenance of water
balance within an ecosystem, erosion control and local flood reduction.

Food, clothing, housing, energy, medicines are all resources that are directly or
indirectly linked to biological variety present in the biosphere.


India has a total of 89,451 animal species accounting for 7.31% of the faunal
species in the World and the flora accounts for 10.78% of the global total.
This rich biodiversity of India is under several threats owing to habitat
destruction, degradation, fragmentation and over-exploitation of resources.
The major proximate causes of species extinction are habitat loss and
degradation affecting 89% of all threatened birds, 83% of mammals and 91% of
all threatened plants assessed globally.

The main causes of habitat loss are:

1. agricultural activity
2. mining, fishing, logging and harvesting
3. development like human settlement, industry and associated infrastructure
4. Exploitation such as hunting, collecting, fisheries and trade.

The underlying causes of biodiversity loss are poverty, macroeconomic policies,

international trade factors, policy failure, poor environment law enforcement,
unsustainable development projects and lack of local control over resources.

Need and ways of conservation biodiversity

It has become obvious that the preservation of biological resources is essential

for the well being and the survival of mankind. The preservation of biodiversity is
integral to any strategy that aims at improving the quality of human life.
Biodiversity has global, national, regional and local implication in relation to its
economic value. This economic value constitutes unimaginably large financial

Biodiversity can be conserved in two ways.
 In-situ conservation:

In-situ conservation of biodiversity is being carried out through biosphere

reserve, national park, wild life sanctuaries and other protected by ministry of
environment and forest.
 Ex-situ conservation:

Protection of group of typical ecosystem through a network of protected area. It

includes botanical gardens, Zoos and seed bank.
The land races and diverse food &
medical plants also being conserved.

Example of biodiversity:- MALABAR HILLS

This region comprises the western coast of India extending from Gujarat in the
north to the Cape Camorin in the south. Rainfall is heavy. The vegetations is of
four types –
• Tropical moist evergreen forest,

• Mixed deciduous forest ,

• Subtropical or temperate evergreen and

• The mangrove forest.

The tropical wet evergreen forest are very luxuriant and muli-storeyed with such
tall trees as Dipterocarpus indicus, sterculia alata, cedrela, etc. bamboos are
also present.

Conservation of biodiversity by business organisation

 Arcelor mittal
Arcelor mittal is commited to sustainability and is acting to minimize the impact of
its operation on the environment.They recognizes the effect of their operation
have on the environment and its responsibility to minimize the impact.They have
signed the “CARE FOR CLIMATE” declaration of UN GLOBEL compact and can
point to its strong record in reducing co2 emmission.
Arcelor mittal believes energy efficiency and optimization can play a major role in
minimizing environmental impact.To that end it is committed to creating a global
co2 database to determine the co2 intensity of every product and every
site,allowing each process and plant to be benchmarked worldwide.
-For one industrial customer it has developed a gas cylinder weighing half the
weight of the cylinder it has replaced ,the resultant savings in co2 is of a similar
-They are also participating in the ILSIs living steel initiatives aimed at promoting
more environmental efficient building design and structure.

Tata tea has its strategy for the promotionof biodiversity .
The company has been at the forefront of safeguarding the incredibly rich flora
and fauna in and around MANNAR,KERELA,and HUB OF ITS HUGE PLANTING

OPERATION and a region that haS been classified as one of the world’s
biodiversity HOTSPOTS.
-The company has also committed itself to using approved agrochemicals in
order to minimize their impact on the environment.
This affirms that none of its product and services have any significance adverse
jmpact on the ecology.
-Tata tae uses recyclable and biodegradable packing material.
-The insectides and pesticides used in tea cultivaton are registered with the


Tata tea also assumed responsibility for the conservation of swamps and
streams inside and near its estate.


So the word biodiversity has a high economic value and provides several
important material for housing,food, medicines,clothing and major industries.In
this way biodiversity makes the quality of life .
This diversity of living organism which is present in the wilderness,as well as in
our crops and livestock ,plays a major role in human development.
It has its own importance for the maintainace of water and air quality ,crop
production,pest control ,decomposition of waste,climate stabilization and for
income generation.
Biodiversity has global,national ,regional,and local implication in relation to its
economic value.This economic value constitute an unimaginably large financial