Biodiversity

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Some of the biodiversity of a coral reef

Rainforests are an example of biodiversity on the planet, and typically possess a great deal of species diversity. This is the Gambia River in Senegal's Niokolo-Koba National Park.

Biodiversity is the degree of variation of life forms within a given ecosystem, biome, or an entire planet. Biodiversity is one measure of the health ofecosystems. Life on Earth today consists of many millions of distinct biological species. The United Nations declared the year 2010 as theInternational Year of Biodiversity.

Biodiversity is not uniform across the Earth. In terrestrial habitats, for example, tropical regions are typically rich whereas polar regions support fewer species. Rapid environmental changes typically cause extinctions.[1] 99.9 percent of species that have existed on Earth are now extinct.[2] Since life began on Earth, five major mass extinctions have led to large and sudden drops in Earthly biodiversity. The Phanerozoic eon (the last 540 million years) marked a rapid growth in biodiversity in the Cambrian explosion—a period during which nearly every phylum of multicellular organisms first appeared. The next 400 million years was distinguished by periodic, massive biodiversity losses classified as mass extinction events. The Permo-Triassic Extinction, 251 million years ago was the worst, devastating life in the sea and on land; vertebrate recovery took 30M years.[3]. The most recent, theCretaceous–Tertiary extinction event, occurred 65 million years ago, and has attracted more attention than all others because it killed the nonaviandinosaurs.[4] The period since the emergence of humans has displayed an ongoing reduction in biodiversity. Named the Holocene extinction, the reduction is caused primarily by human impacts, particularly the destruction of plant and animal habitat. In addition, human practices have caused a loss ofgenetic diversity. Biodiversity's impact on human health is a major international issue.[citation needed]
Contents
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• • • • •

1 Etymology 2 Definitions 3 Linking biodiversity levels 4 Distribution 5 Evolution

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5.1 Evolutionary diversification

6 Human benefits

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6.1 Agriculture 6.2 Human health 6.3 Business and Industry 6.4 Other services

7 Leisure, cultural and aesthetic value 8 Number of species 9 Species loss rates

10 Threats

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10.1 Habitat destruction 10.2 Introduced invasive species

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10.2.1 Genetic pollution

10.3 Overexploitation 10.4 Hybridization, genetic pollution/erosion and food security

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10.5 Climate Change

11 The Holocene extinction 12 Conservation

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12.1 Means 12.2 Strategies

13 Legal status 14 Analytical limits

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14.1 Taxonomic and size bias

15 See also 16 References 17 Further reading 18 External links

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18.1 Documents 18.2 Tools 18.3 Resources

[edit]Etymology
The term was used first by wildlife scientist and conservationist Raymond F. Dasmann in the 1968 lay book A Different Kind of Country[5] advocating conservation. The term was widely adopted only after more than a decade, when in the 1980s it came into common usage in science and environmental policy. Use of the term by Thomas Lovejoy, in the foreword to the book Conservation Biology,[6] introduced the term to the scientific community. Until then the term "natural diversity" was common, introduced by The Science Division of The Nature Conservancy in an important 1975 study, "The Preservation of Natural Diversity." By the early 1980s

TNC's Science program and its head, Robert E. Jenkins,[7] Lovejoy and other leading conservation scientists at the time in America advocated the use of "biological diversity". The term's contracted form biodiversity may have been coined by W.G. Rosen in 1985 while planning the National Forum on Biological Diversity organized by the National Research Council (NRC) which was to be held in 1986, and first appeared in a publication in 1988 when entomologist E. O. Wilson used it as the title of the proceedings[8] of that forum.[9] Since this period both the term and the concept have achieved widespread use among biologists, environmentalists, political leaders, and concerned citizens. The term is sometimes used to reflect concern for the natural environment and nature conservation. This use has coincided with the expansion of concern over extinction observed in the last decades of the 20th century. A similar concept in use in the United States is "natural heritage." Less scientific, it predates the others and is more accepted by the wider audience interested in conservation. Unlike biodiversity, it includes geology and landforms (geodiversity).

[edit]Definitions

A Sampling of fungi collected during summer 2008 in Northern Saskatchewan mixed woods, near LaRonge is an example regarding the species diversity of fungi. In this photo, there are also leaflichens and mosses.

"Biological diversity" or "biodiversity" can have many interpretations and it is most commonly used to replace the more clearly defined and long established terms, species diversity and species richness. Biologists most

[12] [13] For geneticists. UK and the Darwin Centre. and international conservation organizations in the late 1960s through 1970s. and the ecological complexes of which they are part: this includes diversity within species. 'inter alia'. D.. Dasmann who apparently coined the term and Thomas E. Wilcox also stated "genes are the ultimate source of biological organization at all levels of biological systems. One textbook's definition is "variation of life at all levels of biological organization". biodiversity is the diversity of genes andorganisms. including. Lovejoy who introduced it to the wider conservation and science communities. and critical one: Molecular Diversity[10] This multilevel conception is consistent with the early use of "biological diversity" in Washington.e. All types of diversity are broadly linked and a numerical study investigating the link between tetrapod (terrestrial vertebrates) taxonomic and ecological diversity shows a very close correlation between the two..C. by Raymond F. species. Consistent with this. Identifying one level of diversity in a group of organisms does not necessarily indicate its relationship with other types of diversities. An explicit definition consistent with this interpretation was first given in a paper by Bruce A. This definition is used in the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. and genome dynamics that generate evolution. 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 But Professor Anthony Campbell at Cardiff University. and ecosystems of a region".." Subsequently. They study processes such as mutations. has defined a fourth.often define biodiversity as the "totality of genes. terrestrial. organismic. molecular. Pembrokeshire. the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro defined "biological diversity" as "the variability among living organisms from all sources.at all levels of biological systems (i. gene transfer. and other aquatic ecosystems. marine.[14] [edit]Distribution . between species and of ecosystems".... Wilcox commissioned by theInternational Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) for the 1982 World National Parks Conference in Bali[11] Wilcox's definition was "Biological diversity is the variety of life forms.."[11] [edit]Linking biodiversity levels A complex relationship exists among the different diversity levels. population. species and ecosystem).

[19][20] Dense human habitation tends to occur near hotspots. several cases demonstrate tremendous diversity in higher latitudes. Most hotspots are located in the tropics and most of them are forests. about half of which occur nowhere else. Since the island separated from mainland Africa 65 million years ago. and millions of insects. moreover. In 2006 many species were formally classified as rare or endangered or threatened species. Diversity consistently measures higher in the tropics and in other localized regions such as Cape Floristic Province and lower in polar regions generally. Many regions of high biodiversity and/or endemism arise from specialized habitats which require unusual adaptations. or Northern European peatbogs.[17] In addition. soils and the presence of other species.119. The island of Madagascar. containing roughly 20. Gilbert Whitesuccinctly observed of his Selborne. Norman Myers."[15] Biodiversity is not evenly distributed. altitude.[18] A biodiversity hotspot is a region with a high level of endemic species. that that district produces the most variety which is the most examined.[citation needed] Generally land biodiversity is up to 25 times greater than ocean biodiversity.[citation needed] Brazil's Atlantic Forest is considered one such hotspot. Hotspots were first named in 1988 by Dr.000 plant species. possess a high ratio of endemism. 1. Selection bias amongst researchers may contribute to biased empirical research for modern estimates of biodiversity. especially in marine ecosystems.350 vertebrates. In 1768 Rev. About 40 percent of the 40. Hampshire "all nature is so full. many scientists have estimated that millions more species are at risk which have not been formally recognized. for example alpine environments in high mountains. . particularly the unique Madagascar dry deciduous forests and lowland rainforests.[16] Even though biodiversity on land declines from the equator to the poles. Flora and fauna diversity depends on climate.177 species assessed using the IUCN Red Listcriteria are now listed as threatened with extinction—a total of 16.A conifer forest in the Swiss Alps (National Park). this trend is unverified in aquatic ecosystems. many species and ecosystems have evolved independently.

However. modern biodiversity may not be much different from biodiversity 300 million years ago. is debated. Until approximately 600 million years ago. however some evidence suggests that life may already have been well-established only a few hundred million years after the formation of the Earth. since there is considerable uncertainty as to how strongly the fossil record is biased by the greater availability and preservation of recentgeologic sections. The worst was the Permo-Triassic extinction. bacteria.[23] Diversity appears to increase continually in the absence of natural selection.5 billion years of evolution.[edit]Evolution Main article: Evolution Apparent marine fossil diversity during the Phanerozoic[21] Biodiversity is the result of 3. starts with rapid growth during the Cambrian explosion—a period during which nearly every phylum of multicellular organisms first appeared. protozoans and similar single-celled organisms.[24] [edit]Evolutionary diversification The existence of a "global carrying capacity". life on land (insects. Over the next 400 million years or so. As one author states.[3] The fossil record suggests that the last few million years featured the greatest biodiversity in history. The history of biodiversity during the Phanerozoic (the last 540 million years). but was marked by periodic. The origin of life has not been definitely established by science. 251 million years ago. plants and tetrapods)shows an exponential rise in diversity. global diversity showed little overall trend. with a best estimate of somewhere near 13–14 million. massive losses of diversity classified as mass extinction events. all life consisted of archaea. the vast majority arthropods. While records of life in the sea shows a logistic pattern of growth. "Tetrapods have not yet invaded 64 per cent of potentially habitable modes. Corrected for sampling artifacts. not all scientists support this view. . as is the question of whether such a limit would also cap the number of species. Vertebrates took 30 million years to recover from this event.[22]Estimates of the present global macroscopic species diversity vary from 2 million to 100 million. limiting the amount of life that can live at once.

named the Holocene extinction event.[23] Most of the terrestrial diversity is found in tropical forests.[26] Most biologists agree however that the period since human emergence is part of a new mass extinction. are not yet classified (estimates are that nearly 90% of all arthropods are not yet classified). caused primarily by the impact humans are having on the environment. though discovered. The latter models imply that changes in diversity are guided by a firstorder positive feedback (more ancestors. demography and macrosociology.and it could be that without human influence the ecological and taxonomic diversity of tetrapods would continue to increase in an exponential fashion until most or all of the available ecospace is filled. changes through the Phanerozoic correlate much better with the hyperbolic model (widely used in population biology. The hyperbolic pattern of the world population growth arises from a second-order positive feedback between the population size and the rate of technological growth. most of them insects) and many.[28] New species are regularly discovered (on average between 5–10. The similarity between the curves of biodiversity and human population probably comes from the fact that both are derived from the interference of the hyperbolic trend with cyclical andstochastic dynamics.000 new species each year. Hyperbolic model implies a second-order positive feedback. more descendants) and/or a negative feedbackarising from resource limitation."[14] On the other hand. as well as fossil biodiversity) than with exponential and logistic models. [edit]Human benefits .[25] The hyperbolic character of biodiversity growth can be similarly accounted for by a feedback between diversity and community structure complexity.[27] It has been argued that the present rate of extinction is sufficient to eliminate most species on the planet Earth within 100 years.

driven by human activity. The blue flowers are Centaurea cyanus and the red are Papaver rhoeas. Biodiversity supports a number of natural ecosystem processes and services.g. Non-material benefits include spiritual and aesthetic values. and prevention of erosion. The exact rate is uncertain. species loss has accelerated above the prior rate. but it has been estimated that species are now being lost at a rate approximately 100 times as fast as is typical in the fossil record. pollination.[31] Land is being transformed from wilderness into agricultural.. mining. water purification.[30] climate (e. CO2 sequestration). or perhaps as high as 10.000 times as fast. [edit]Agriculture See also: Agricultural biodiversity . knowledge systems and the value of education.[29] Some ecosystem services that benefit society are air quality. lumbering and urban areas for humans.[30] Since the stone age.Summer field in Belgium (Hamois).

and Central America in 1970. including the European wine industry collapse in the late 19th century.[citation needed] Crop diversity is also necessary to help the system recover when the dominant cultivar is attacked by a disease or predator:  The Irish potato blight of 1846 was a major factor in the deaths of one million people and the emigration of another million. Brazil.[citation needed] Although about 80 percent of humans' food supply comes from just 20 kinds of plants. are often derived from only a few genetic strains.[32] Only one was resistant. Monoculture was a contributing factor to several agricultural disasters. an Indian variety. and known to science only since 1966.  When rice grassy stunt virus struck rice fields from Indonesia to India in the 1970s. such as the potato. It was the result of planting only two potato varieties. A resistant variety was found in Ethiopia.000 species. bananaand coffee. and clothing.[citation needed] Many people depend on these species for their food. both of which proved to be vulnerable.[34] Higher biodiversity also limits the spread of certain diseases.[citation needed] Earth's surviving biodiversity provides as little-tapped resources for increasing the range of food and other products suitable for human use. shelter.273 varieties were tested for resistance.[citation needed] humans use at least 40.[28] [edit]Human health .[32]  Coffee rust attacked coffee plantations in Sri Lanka.[33] Although the diseases are themselves a form of biodiversity.Amazon Rainforest in Brazil. and the US Southern Corn Leaf Blight epidemic of 1970.[32] This variety formed a hybrid with other varieties and is now widely grown.[citation needed] Important crops. The reservoir of genetic traits present in wild varieties and traditionally grown landraces is extremely important in improving crop performance. 6.[citation needed] Interbreeding crops strains with different beneficial traits has resulted in more than doubling crop production in the last 50 years as a result of the Green Revolution.[citation needed] Improvements in crop species over the last 250 years have been largely due to harnessing genes from wild varieties and species. because pathogens may have to adapt to infect different species. although the present extinction rate shrinks that potential.

The diverse forest canopy on Barro Colorado Island.[42] A significant proportion of drugs are derived.[40][41] One of the key health issues associated with biodiversity is that of drug discovery and the availability of medicinal resources. animals. and microorganisms. infectious diseases. medical science and medicinal resources. that the decline in output from the pharmaceutical sector since the mid-1980s can be attributed to a move away from natural product exploration ("bioprospecting") in favor of genomics and synthetic chemistry. At least 50% of the pharmaceutical compounds on the US market are derived from compounds found in plants. from biological sources. social and psychological health. only a tiny proportion of the total diversity of wild species has been investigated for medical potential. considerable advancement has occurred which would not have occurred without rich biodiversity. Through the field of bionics. yielded this display of different fruit Biodiversity's relevance to human health is becoming an international political issue. scarcity of fresh water. directly or indirectly. Panama.g.[35][36][37] This issue is closely linked with the issue of climate change.) Some of the health issues influenced by biodiversity include dietary health and nutrition security. changes in populations and distribution of disease vectors. while about 80% of the world population depends on medicines from nature (used in either modern or traditional medical practice) for primary healthcare. as scientific evidence builds on the global health implications of biodiversity loss. natural products have a long history of supporting significant economic and health innovation.[45] although inappropriate bioprospecting has the potential to degrade .[38] as many of the anticipated health risks of climate change are associated with changes in biodiversity (e. impacts on agricultural biodiversity and food resources etc. based on evidence from market analysis and biodiversity science. and in post-disaster relief and recovery efforts.[43][44] Marine ecosystems are of particular interest in this regard.[39] Biodiversity is also known to have an important role in reducing disaster risk. It has been argued. meanwhile.[36] Moreover.

Further research into employing materials from other organisms is likely to improve product cost and quality.ecosystems and increase biodiversity loss. These include building materials. A wide range of industrial materials derive directly from biological resources.[52] [edit]Other services See also: Ecological effects of biodiversity . food and medical resources. Biodiversity is also important to the security of resources such as water quantity and quality. fibers.[46][47][48] [edit]Business and Industry Agriculture production. paper and fibre. pictured is atractor and a chaser bin. biodiversity loss is increasingly recognized as a significant risk factor in business development and a threat to long term economic sustainability. Case studies recently compiled by the World Resources Institute demonstrate some of these risks for specific industries. as well as impacting the rights of the communities and states from which the resources are taken. dyes. timber.[49][50][51] As a result. rubber and oil.

recyclingnutrients and providing fertile soils. for example insect pollination cannot be mimicked. and that activity alone represents tens of billions of dollars in ecosystem services per year to humankind. Biodiversity is directly involved in water purification. protecting them ecosystem services from disruption by extreme weather or human exploitation. Experiments with controlled environments have shown that humans cannot easily build ecosystems to support human needs. It plays a part in regulating the chemistry of our atmosphere and water supply. Ecosystem stability is also positively related to biodiversity.Eagle Creek. . Oregon hiking Biodiversity provides many ecosystem services that are often not readily visible.

fishkeeping and specimen collecting strongly depend on biodiversity.[54] (of some 0. This idea can be used as a counterweight to the notion that tropical forests and other ecological realms are only worthy of conservation because of the services they provide. painters. The relationships between the original natural areas of these often exotic animals and plants and commercial collectors. The number of species involved in such pursuits is in the tens of thousands. suppliers. [edit]Number of species Main article: Species Undiscovered and discovered species According to the Global Taxonomy Initiative[53] and the European Distributed Institute of Taxonomy. birdwatching or natural history study. the total number of species for some phyla may be much higher as what we know currently:  10–30 million insects. near theNorth Pole. sculptors. [edit]Leisure. Biodiversity has inspired musicians. writers and other artists. that the general public responds well to exposure to rare and unusual organisms—they recognize their inherent value at some level. Philosophically it could be argued that biodiversity has intrinsic aesthetic and spiritual value to mankind in and of itself. however. A family outing to the botanical garden or zoo is as much an aesthetic and cultural experience as an educational one. Popular activities such as gardening. Many culture groups view themselves as an integral part of the natural world and show respect for other living organisms.Polar bears on the sea ice of the Arctic Ocean. breeders. propagators and those who promote their understanding and enjoyment are complex and poorly understood. It seems clear. though the majority do not enter mainstream commerce. cultural and aesthetic value Many people derive value from biodiversity through leisure activities such as hiking.9 we know today [55]) .

[63] Of these. we do not have a complete understanding of the workings of our environment. it may already be extinct.[65] This figure indicates unsustainableecological practices. [edit]Threats . because only a small number of species evolve each year. with extinctions occurring at rates hundreds of times higher than background extinction rates.000 species per year (based on Species-area theory) and subject to discussion. but the Global Ocean Sampling Expedition dramatically increased the estimates of genetic diversity by identifying an enormous number of new genes from near-surface plankton samples at various marine locations.[59] The findings may eventually cause a significant change in the way science defines species and other taxonomic categories.[62] This means that even before a species has had the chance of being discovered.[60][61] Due to the fact that we know but a portion of the organisms in the biosphere. studied and classified. [edit]Species loss rates During the last century. [64] Some estimates put the loss at up to 140.4 million we know today [55]) ~1 million mites[58] The number of microbial species is not reliably known.    5–10 million bacteria. 30% of all natural species will be extinct by 2050.[56] 1. about one eighth of known plant species are threatened with extinction. Almost all scientists acknowledge [64] that the rate of species loss is greater now than at any time in human history.5 million fungi. To make matters worse. we are wiping out these species at an unprecedented rate. decreases in biodiversity have been increasingly observed. initially over the 2004-2006 period.[57] (of some 0.

1920. Conservation International. the World Wildlife Fund. and secondary extensions. The Relation of Geography to Timber Supply. 1850. world population increased from 2. and Birdlife International.5 billion to 6. 1925. standing for Habitat destruction.Loss of old growth forest in the United States. Pollution. Jared Diamond describes an "Evil Quartet" of habitat destruction. Greeley's. 1992).[66][67] The most authoritative classification in use today is IUCN’s Classification of Direct Threats[68] which has been adopted by most major international conservation organizations such as the US Nature Conservancy.Invasive species. vol. The massive growth in the human population through the 20th century has had more impact on biodiversity than any other single factor. overkill. p. 1620. 1–11. and Overharvesting.[citation needed] Edward O. introduced species. Economic Geography. by Dave Foreman and Howie Wolke (Harmony Books. Wilson prefers the acronym HIPPO. Human Over Population.5 billion. Source of "Today" map: compiled by George Draffan from roadless area map in The Big Outside: A Descriptive Inventory of the Big Wilderness Areas of the United States.[69] From 1950 to 2005. 1.[70] [edit]Habitat destruction . Some regrowth has occurred but not to the age. size or extent of 1620 due to population increases and food cultivation. and 1992 maps: From William B. These maps represent only virgin forest lost.

g. and vice versa. organised by the biodiversity platform.[74] pollution (air pollution. especially related to tropical forest destruction."[76] At present. monoculturefollowing deforestation) effectively destroys habitat for the more diverse species that preceded the conversion. the cycle can break down. according to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2005.Deforestation and increased road-building in the Amazon Rainforest are a significant concern because of increased human encroachment upon wild areas. the most threathened ecosystems are found in fresh water.[75] Conversion to trivial standardized ecosystems (e. in particular destruction of plant and animal habitats. and the French Institut de recherche pour le développement (MNHNP). Physically larger species and those living at lower latitudes or in forests or oceans are more sensitive to reduction in habitat area.[77] [edit]Introduced invasive species .[71] While most threatened species are not food species. which was confirmed by the "Freshwater Animal Diversity Assessment". their biomass is converted into human food when their habitat is transformed intopasture. water pollution. and the community becomes dominated by a single species. and orchards. livestock and crop species. soil contamination) and global warming or climate change. Factors contributing to habitat loss are: overpopulation.deforestation. Main article: Habitat destruction Most of the species extinctions from 1000 AD to 2000 AD are due to human activities. cropland.[72] It is estimated that more than a third of biomass[73] is tied up in humans.[citation needed] A 2007 study conducted by the National Science Foundation found that biodiversity and genetic diversity are codependent—that diversity within a species is necessary to maintain diversity among species. Extinction is being driven by human consumption of organic resources. "If any one type is removed from the system. increased resource extraction and further threats to biodiversity. In some countries lack of property rights or access regulation to biotic resources necessarily leads to biodiversity loss (degradation costs having to be supported by the community). The size of a habitat and the number of species it can support are systematically related..

Humans have helped these species circumvent these barriers. For example. [edit]Genetic pollution . the introduction produces substantial economic benefits. a co-author of the paper and chief climate change biologist at the Center for Applied Biodiversity Science at Conservation International. Main articles: Introduced species and Invasive species Barriers such as large rivers. At present. Prunus spinosa from Eastern Europe leafs much sooner than its West European counterparts. an international team of scientists estimated that 10 percent of species would become extinct by 2050 because of global warming. several countries have already imported so many exotic species.[80] “We need to limit climate change or we wind up with a lot of species in trouble. a native of East Asia that has been introduced into parts ofEurope for ornamental reasons. unlike the eons that historically have been required for a species to extend its range. The exotic organisms may be either predators. substantially reducing diversity. parasites. the introduction is deliberate but ineffective (the rats the diurnal mongoose were supposed to kill arenocturnal!). mountains and deserts encourage diversity by enabling independent evolution on either side of the barrier. Finally.Male Lophura nycthemera (Silver Pheasant). the invasion is inadvertent. seas.Introducing new species often leaves endemic and other local species unable to compete with the exotic species and unable to survive. In other cases. This has occurred on a radically compressed time scale. valuing them for food and other purpose. disrupting the feeding habits of the Thecla betulaebutterfly (which feeds on the leaves). such as oil palms in Indonesia and Malaysia. Lee Hannah. Without the barriers such species would occupy those niches on a global basis. In cases such as the zebra mussel. in Belgium. such as mongooses in Hawaii. that the own indigenous fauna/flora is greatly outnumbered. In Belgium. So-called "super-species" have evolved to fill many habitat niches. an introduced species may unintentionally injure a species that depends on the species it replaces.[78][79] In 2004.” said Dr. possibly extinct. and some are proved invasive. but the benefits are accompanied by costly unintended consequences. In other cases. oceans. Some species introduced by humans to new areas are potentially invasive. only 5% of the indigenous trees remain. water and light. or may simply outcompete indigenous species for nutrients.

Main article: Genetic pollution Endemic species can be threatened with extinction[81] through the process of genetic pollution i.[83][84] [edit]Overexploitation Main article: Overexploitation There is a whole history of overexploitation in the form of overhunting. The abundant species can interbreed with the rare species. genetic pollution/erosion and food security The Yecoro wheat (right) cultivar is sensitive to salinity. threaten a rare species' existence. introgression and genetic swamping which leads to homogenization or replacement of local genotypes as a result of either a numerical and/or fitness advantage of introduced plant or animal. director of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Asian programs. nevertheless. This can be traced with human migration. These phenomena can be especially detrimental for rare species coming into contact with more abundant ones. hybridization with or without introgression may.e. However. plants resulting from a hybrid cross with cultivar W4910 (left) show greater tolerance to high salinity See also: Food Security and Genetic erosion .[86] Joe Walston. swamping its gene pool and creating hybrids.[88] [edit]Hybridization. and not all gene and genotype constellations can be preserved. mixing previously isolated species. [82] Nonnative species can hybridize and introgress either through purposeful introduction by humans or through habitat modification. called the illegal wildlife trade the “single largest threat” to biodiversity in Asia. destroying native stock. The overkill hypothesis explains why the megafaunal extinctions occurred within a relatively short period of time. uncontrolled hybridization. Some degree of gene flowis a normal adaptation process.[85] About 25% of world fisheries are now overexploited to the point where their current biomass is less than the level that maximizes their sustainable yield. This problem is not always apparent from morphological(outward appearance) observations alone.[87] The international trade of endangered species is second only to drug trafficking.

will be lost in 20 to 40 years if global warming continues at the current trend. Diverse genetic material could cease to exist which would impact our ability to further hybridize food crops and livestock against more resistant diseases and climatic changes. Local governments and industry have been pushing hybridization. This has resulted in loss of genetic diversity and biodiversity as a whole. [101] [edit]Conservation Main article: Conservation biology .[89] (GM organisms) have genetic material altered by genetic engineering procedures such as recombinant DNA technology.[citation needed] For example coral reefs -which are biodiversity hotspots. Formerly huge gene pools of various wild and indigenous breeds have collapsed causing widespread genetic erosion and genetic pollution. The economic value of 17 ecosystem services for the entire biosphere (calculated in 1997) has an estimated average value of US$ 33 trillion (1012) per year. thereby creating a hidden crisis which could result in a severe threat to our food security. not only of wild varieties but also of domesticated varieties derived from classical hybridization.In agriculture and animal husbandry.[89] [edit]Climate Change Main article: Effect of Climate Change on Plant Biodiversity The recent phenomenon of global warming is also considered to be a major threat to global biodiversity. GM crops have become a common source for genetic pollution.[90][91][92][93][94] Genetic erosion coupled with genetic pollution may be destroying unique genotypes.[95] [edit]The Holocene extinction Rates of decline in biodiversity in this sixth mass extinction match or exceed rates of loss in the five previous mass extinction events recorded in the fossil record.[96][97][98][99][100] Loss of biodiversity results in the loss of natural capital that supplies ecosystem goods and services. the green revolution popularized the use of conventional hybridization to increase yield. Often hybridized breeds originated in developed countries and were further hybridized with local varieties in the developing world to create high yield strains resistant to local climate and diseases.

due to global warming. regional and global scales of communities.[103][105] Preserving biodiversity is a global priority in strategic conservation plans that are designed to engage public policy and concerns affecting local. The retreat of Aletsch Glacier in the Swiss Alps (situation in 1979. including ecology. naturalists.[96][103][105][106][107] Conservation biology is reforming around strategic plans that include principles. ecosystems. ecosystems. and other scientists began to collectively research and address issues pertaining to global declines in biodiversity. regional. strategies and plans can influence the drivers of the current biodiversity crisis at local. originally led by John Muir. social organization.[103][108][109]Conservation biology is crisis-oriented and multi-disciplinary. and other disciplines outside of biology.[104] The conservation ethic advocates management of natural resources for the purpose of sustaining biodiversity in species.[103][104][105] The conservation ethic differs from the preservationist ethic. and poverty.[110] Action plans . and tools for the purpose of protecting biodiversity. to global scales. the evolutionary process. 1991 and 2002). education. human well-being. [102] The illustration shows where conservation action. and cultures. ecosystem services. that seeks protected areas devoid of human exploitation or interference for profit. and human culture and society. guidelines.A schematic image illustrating the relationship between biodiversity. Conservation biology matured in the mid-20th century as ecologists.

One example is the Australian Native Vegetation Management Framework. the barcode of life.[citation needed] [edit]Legal status . many animal species are migratory. Tropical areas often fit both sets of criteria. Wildlife corridors can help support migration.[114][115] Removal is practical only against large groups of individuals due to the econimic cost.[116] However.[citation needed] Some habitats may require restoration before standard conservation techniques can be effective.g. focusing on areas of higher potential biodiversity promises greater return on investment than spreading conservation resources evenly or in areas of little diversity but greater interest in the conservation.g. with Digital Automated Identification SYstem (DAISY). and is considerably cheaper and easier than clearing/preserving entirely new areas. Some banks intend to reintroduce banked species to the ecosystem (e. A second strategy focuses on areas that retain most of their original diversity. and ecosystem services. meaning that focusing only on specific locations is insufficient. reintroduction can be attempted. These are typically non-urbanized. "Missing" species can be identified from databases such as the Encyclopedia of Life and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility. via tree nurseries)[113] Exotic species removal is another approach. non-agricultural areas. Exotic species that have become a pest can be identified taxonomically (e. market capital. [edit]Strategies Strategically. employing natural capital.identify ways of sustaining human well-being.[111][112] [edit]Means Biodiversity banking involves placing a monetary value on biodiversity. given their natively high diversity and relative lack of development. Once the preservation of the remaining native species in an area is assured. these techniques are of less importance than preserving habitat and reintroducing eliminated indigenous species. However. Reducing total pesticide use and/or more precisely targeting harmful pests is another technique. Gene banksare collections of specimens and genetic material.

now give sovereign national rights over biological resources (not property).  Laws regarding gene pools are only about a century old. progress made in the genetic field in the past 20 years has led to tighter laws.[citation needed] While the genetic approach is not new (domestication.[117] A very hot debate today seeks to define whether the resource is the gene. and a totally new concept of genetic resources are emerging. gene patenting. or the DNA. Dynamic conservation is replacing static conservation.A great deal of work is occurring to preserve the natural characteristics of Hopetoun Falls.[citation needed] The 1972 UNESCO World Heritage convention established that biological resources. plant traditional selection methods).  Law regarding species is more recent. the organism. were the common heritage of mankind.S.g. the Convention on Biological Diversity). With the new genetic engineering technologies. but also some rights and duties (for example. The U. Australia while continuing to allow visitor access. It is related to private and public property rights. processes patenting. fishing and hunting rights). It defines species that must be protected because they may be threatened by extinction.Endangered Species Act is an example of an attempt to address the "law and species" issue. such as plants. New global agreements (e.. It can define protection for threatened ecosystems. . Biodiversity is beginning to be taken into account in political and judicial decisions:  The relationship between law and ecosystems is very ancient and has consequences for biodiversity. through the notion of resource and innovation.

in exchange for a share of the benefits. Under new rules. all multicellular species on Earth are insects". visible life consists of barely noticeable twigs.[124] [edit]See also Earth sciences portal Ecology portal Environment portal Biology portal . it is expected that biodiversity-rich countries allow bioprospecting or collection of natural products. to establish which resource will be used and for what. Bioprospecting can become a type of biopiracy when such principles are not respected. The size bias is not restricted to consideration of microbes. Nee has stated: "On the tree of life. where the extinction or decline in one accompanies the other.The new agreements commit countries to conserve biodiversity. [119] Biodiversity researcher Sean Nee points out that the vast majority of Earth's biodiversity is microbial.[121] The extinction rate insects is high and indicative of the general trend of this great extinction period. and to settle on a fair agreement on benefit sharing. The Convention on Biodiversity implies informed consent between the source country and the collector. and that contemporary biodiversity physics is "firmly fixated on the visible world" (Nee uses "visible" as a synonym for macroscopic).[118] [edit]Analytical limits and size bias [edit]Taxonomic Less than 1% of all species that have been described have been studied beyond simply noting their existence. there are species co-extinctions. however. based on analyses of smallsubunit ribosomal RNA. Bosselman argues that biodiversity should not be used as a legal standard. Sovereignty principles can rely upon what is better known as Access and Benefit Sharing Agreements (ABAs). Uniform approval for use of biodiversity as a legal standard has not been achieved. claiming that the multiple layers of scientific uncertainty inherent in the concept of biodiversity will cause administrative waste and increase litigation without promoting preservation goals. such as plants and beetles.[120] For example. Entomologist Nigel Stork states. "to a first approximation. microbial life is very much more metabolically and environmentally diverse than multicellular life (see extremophile).[122][123] Moreover. develop resources for sustainability and share the benefits resulting from their use.

Sustainable Development portal  2010 Biodiversi ty Indicators Partnershi p     Habitat conservation Habitat fragmentation Holistic management Holocene extinction event (Ongoing mass extinction of species)                        Mutation National Biodiversity Network Natural environment Natural landscape Nature NatureServe Nutritional biodiversity Reconciliation ecology rECOrd (Local Biological Records Centre) Satoyama Seedbank Sustainability Sustainable biodiversity management Sustainable development Sustainable forest management Unified neutral theory of biodiversity United States environmental law Wild Solutions Wildlife preserve World Conservation Monitoring Centre World Conservation Union World Forestry Congress World Network of Biosphere Reserves  2010 Internatio nal Year of Biodiversi ty   Insect biodiversity International Day for Biological Diversity  Intermediate Disturbance Hypothesis  Adaptatio n  International Institute of Tropical Agriculture  Agroecolo gical restoration  International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture  Agricultur al biodiversit y         IUCN LifeWatch List of biodiversity databases List of environmental issues List of environmental topics Living Planet Index Megadiverse countries Millennium Ecosystem Assessment  Amazonia n forest  Applied ecology  Biocompl exity  Biodiversi ty banking  Millennium Seed Bank Project  Biodiversi ty hotspot  Monoculture .

 Biodiversi ty informatic s  Muir web  Biogeogra phy  Bioinform atics    Biorisk BioWeb Canadian Biodiversi ty Informatio n Network  Conservati on Biology  Conservati on Commons  Conservati on ethic  Conventio n on Biological Diversity  Conferenc e of Parties to the Conventio .

2010)  Diversity index  Ecological economics  Ecological restoration    Extinction Ecology Ecosystem diversity  Ethnic diversity  Ewens sampling formula  Forest farming    GBIF Gene pool Genetic erosion  Genetic pollution  Global 200  Global .n on Biological Diversity (Nagoya.

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107. L. Blackwell Science Inc. Ornl. ISBN 0-86542-371-7. R. "Preserving genes. Switzerland and Cambridge.org. P. Conservation Biology: The science of scarcity and diversity. "What is conservation biology?". UK. M. R.^ a b c d M. 109.org 113. Massachusetts. . pp. C. L. Collins. R. Amphibians.^ Barcode of Life 115. 405: 243-253. Ehrlich (2003).^ C. Fundamentals of Conservation Biology. Population diversity and ecosystem services.^ a b P. Davis (1996). Moore.ca 110. "Systematic conservation planning". Margules & R.. species. W.. Leicester University Press. 64pp. Bowen (1999). (7): 331-336 [6] 112. Gland.^ Millenniumassessment. J.org.^ Economics of biodiversity 117. 18. D. ISBN 978-1-4020-68904 (hc). Soule (ed. or ecosystems? Healing the fractured foundations of conservation policy". Molecular Ecology. 106. Pressey (2000).. E. Luck. 35(11): 727-734 104. IUCN/SSC Amphibian Specialist Group..^ "Gene Patenting".Ryerson. and Mendelson. III (eds) (2007). (1996).gov. Nature. D.^ G.^ Example: Gascon.eu 111. McKay.BioScience.^ Eradication of exotic animals (camels) in Australia 116. see alsoMilleniumassesment. Sinauer Associates Inc. Daily and P. E. R. 478. Retrieved 2009-06-21.) (1986). 2nd ed.^ Hunter. 8:S5-S10.Amphibian Conservation Action Plan. 108. Soule (1986).^ B. G.. C. R. Museums and the Natural Environment. Applications. Cambridge. J. E.^ M. W. Europa.^ Belgium creating 45 "seed gardens". Springer Verlag. Concepts. Church.103. gene banks with intent to reintroduction 114. J. van Dyke (2008). Conservation Biology: Foundations.^ a b c F. 105.

Wilson. J. Karakassis (in press). 305(5690):1632-4. J. Clarke.U. (2004).) (2001) The Biodiversity Crisis: Losing What Counts. Telfer. D. Markov. J. T. A Dozen Biodiversity Puzzles. 303(5665): 1879 . R. & J. "More than meets the eye".^ J. Dunn. Koh. 2000.edu [edit]Further reading  Leveque. 429. D. Stork 2007. (2005).  Novacek.^ L. M.. and Plants and the Global Extinction Crisis. H. A. L. Proctor. C. Science. R. 121. 19(4): 1030 . H.118. E. (2005). New York: American Museum of Natural History Books.^ Nee S. M. S. K. Greenwood. Birds. N. Delisle.^ N. R. and Andrey V.1881 Sciencemag. 14(1): 1-3 120. Dolan. 804–805.^ Edward O. Dunn.  Moustakas. B. the Neglected Majority. Doi: 10.org 123. Roy.^ R. NCSU. Conservation Biology. Asher. Dunn. R. A geographic analysis of the published aquatic biodiversity research in relation to the ecological footprint of the country where the work was done. S. Korotayev (2007) "Phanerozoic marine biodiversity follows a hyperbolic trend" Palaeoworld 16(4): pp. On the Future of Conservation Biology. Thomas. Smith. Sodhi.Y. J. 311–318. Fox. [R. R. & I.. J. R. Modern Insect Extinctions. A. R. Species Coextinctions and the Biodiversity Crisis.1036. Modern Insect Extinctions.Nature. Environmental Law Journal 364 (2004) 119. Diversity of Life: The Illustrated Guide to the Five Kingdoms. ISBN 1-56584-570-6 . Stochastic Environmental Research and Risk Assessment. Preston.1007/s00477-008-0254-2. Biodiversity: world of insects. (2004) Comparative Losses of British Butterflies. P. Colwell. Sudbury: Jones & Bartlett Publishers. the Neglected Majority. New York: John Wiley. 19(4): 1030 1036] 124. Conservation Biology. Conservation Biology. G. Lyons. Lawton. (ed. C. V. Mounolou (2003) Biodiversity.^ Fred Bosselman. 12 N. C. (2004). Nature 448. D. 657–658 (9 August 2007) 122. K. ISBN 07637-0862-3  Alexander V. C. Science. ISBN 0-470-84957-6  Margulis.

 [edit]External D+C-Interview with Achim Steiner. UNEP: "Our generation's responsibility links  A collection of articles from the David Suzuki Foundation on Protecting Biodiversity    How many species on Earth? ECNC-European Centre for Nature Conservation The WILD Foundation and CEMEX Collaborate on International Wilderness and Biodiversity Conservation in Mexico  COHAB Initiative: The importance of biodiversity to human health and wellbeing  NatureServe: This site serves as a portal for accessing several types of publicly available biodiversity data  Internet sources about biodiversity (presented for the International Year of Biodiversity 2010 by vifabio)   [edit]Documents The Canine Diversity Project Biodiversity research in agriculture. 2005)    [edit]Tools Convention on Biological Diversity Text of the Convention Conservation International hotspot map Biological Diversity and Strategic Environmental Assessment  GLOBIO. an ongoing programme to map the past. Swiss Agricultural Research Station Agroscope  Biodiversity Synthesis Report (PDF) by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA. current and future impacts of human activities on biodiversity  [edit]Resources World Map of Biodiversity an interactive map from the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre  Automatic acoustic Monitoring and Inventorying of BIOdiversity .

       v•d•e Biodiversity of Altai-Sayan Ecoregion. Microdocs. Aquaria and Aviaries Types of zoos Conservation Lists Animals Other topics Animal sanctuary · Animal Theme Park · Aquarium · Aviary · Bear pit · Butterfly zoo · Dolphinarium · Herpetarium · Insectarium · Natu park ·Oceanarium · Petting zoo · Reptile centre · Serpentarium · Vivarium · Zoo Biodiversity · Endangered species · Extinction · Ex-situ conservation · In-situ conservation Aquaria · Conservation topics · Dolphinariums · Zoos · Zoo associations Amphibian · Bird · Fish · Invertebrate · Mammal · Reptile Animals in captivity · Animal training · Behavioral enrichment · Captive breeding · Frozen zoo · Immersion exhibit · Nocturnal house · W Categories: Biodiversity | Environmental science | Biology terminology | Habitat (ecology) terminology | Millennium Development Goals • • • • • • • New features Log in / create account Article Discussion Read Edit View history Top of Form Bottom of Form • • • • • • Main page Contents Featured content Current events Random article Donate . Biodiversity at the Open Directory Project Encyclopedia of Life . National Biodiversity Network .Documenting all species of life on earth.Relationships & characteristics of all life on earth.NBN Gateway. Biodiversity Heritage Library . Tree of Life .Open access digital library of taxonomic literature. Economics of Species protection & Management NOAA Economics [hide] Zoos. Diversity.

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