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Biodiversity – Concepts,Types and Its Importance

Aug 29, 2022
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Key Concepts

• Concept of biodiversity

• Types of biodiversity

• Importance of biodiversity

Introduction:

There are three types of biodiversity: Genetic biodiversity, species biodiversity, and ecosystem biodiversity. 

Types of biodiversity

Genetic biodiversity: 

It refers to the variations in an organism’s genetic resources.  

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In terms of genetic constitution, each individual of a species differs from the other. That is why each and every person is unique. In the same way, rice, wheat, maize, barley, and other grains all have distinct variations. 

Because there are many different combinations of genes that give each individual distinct features, each member of each animal or plant species differs greatly from other individuals in terms of genetic makeup. This genetic diversity is necessary for a species’ proper reproduction. 

Genetic biodiversity 

Species biodiversity 

A group of similar creatures that generally mate to create offspring is referred to as a species’ diversity.  

They usually come from the same family. The most basic classification unit is species diversity, which covers everything from plants to microbes. Furthermore, two individuals belonging to the same species group are not identical; they contain diversity. Two other individuals, for example, are not the same. 

‘Hotspots of diversity’ are defined as areas having a high diversity of species. The more species present in a place, the more biodiverse it is, and the more biodiverse the ecosystem becomes.  

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Species biodiversity

Ecological biodiversity 

The complex network of diverse species present in a particular ecosystem as well as their dynamic interactions is referred to as ecological diversity. 

An ecosystem is made up of organisms from various species living in a given area as well as their relationships via the flow of energy, nutrients, and matter.  

Plant and animal species living together and connected by the food chain and food webs make up ecological biodiversity. Ecological diversity is found in diverse environments such as deserts, rainforests, mangroves, and so on. 

Ecological biodiversity 

Measurement of biodiversity. 

In most cases, the variety of diverse species in a landscape is quantified on three separate scales. Alpha diversity, beta diversity, and gamma diversity. 

Alpha diversity 

The sort of ecological diversity present within a region, community or an ecosystem is known as alpha diversity.  

More specifically, alpha diversity refers to the diversity of species within a community on a local or small scale, often the size of a single ecosystem. In general, the total number of distinct species (or species richness) in a given region is used to represent it.  

Alpha diversity

Beta diversity 

It is a metric for the degree of change in the species composition over time and across an environmental gradient. If the species makeup of moss communities varies successively at higher elevations on a mountain slope, then the beta diversity is high. If the same kind of moss covers the entire slope, the beta diversity is limited. 

Beta diversity 

Gamma diversity 

Gamma diversity usually refers to the abundance of species across a big area (at a vast scale).  

It is the measurement of the total diversity of diverse ecosystems within a region. Simply said, it is frequently researched as a biome where species variety is observed across many environments.  

This typically covers large areas such as the entire mountain slope or the entire littoral zone of a shoreline. 

Gamma diversity 
Measurement of biodiversity 

Alpha diversity refers to the diversity of species found inside each grassland or forest patch on the slope. All species diversity found between any two patches and their related communities is referred to as beta diversity. Finally, the gamma diversity of a given landscape refers to all of the species’ variety there as well as the slope’s full range. 

Explanation:

  • Is it possible to picture our planet without plants and trees?  
  • What would happen if there were no animals or vegetation on the planet?  

This is where biodiversity comes into play. Biodiversity is responsible for the diversity of nature, biosphere, richness, and life on Earth. It serves as a reminder to value natural diversity. Without it, life on Earth would perish.  

Different species, plants, animals, and bacteria as well as their frequencies in this sphere are included. A high level of biodiversity is generally regarded as beneficial and desirable as it leads to community stability and increased productivity. Biodiversity is essential for the survival of our planet. 

Importance of biodiversity 

Biodiversity’s importance can be classified as follows:  

  1. 1.Ecological importance 
  1. Economic importance 
  1. Social importance 
  1. Ethical importance 
  1. Scientific importance 

Ecological importance 

  1. 1.Controlling Soil Erosion:  

Soil organisms help to prevent erosion by optimizing water entry and storage which keeps soil and roots in place. 

Preventing soil erosion by plants 
  1. Soil Quality Improvement:  

A healthy biodiversity will boost the soil’s resilience to environmental stresses. Soil must be balanced in terms of biological, physical, and chemical factors. Agriculture thrives in good soil. The value of biodiversity in agriculture is the most important classification of all. 

  1. Biodiversity is crucial for maintaining a healthy ecosystem that provides oxygen, clean air and water, plant pollination, pest control, wastewater treatment, and many other ecosystem services. Plants generate oxygen through a process known as photosynthesis. 
Biodiversity aids healthy environment 

Humans inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide which plants absorb. This creates a cycle that demonstrates how all animals in this ecosystem are interconnected. 

  1. Protection of species in the ecosystem: Biodiversity aids in the improvement of a healthy ecosystem in which all species can survive and thrive. 

A wide number of plant species can supply a diverse range of crops. A diverse range of species ensures that natural processes run smoothly for a healthy ecosystem. It also aids in the preservation of species variety and ecosystems. 

  1. 5.Pollution Control: Biodiversity has a critical role in pollution control. Trees and other plants contribute to enhance air quality by absorbing pollutants such as excessive nitrogen dioxide, ozone, and particle matter. 
  1. 6.Nutrient Recycling: Biodiversity plays an important role in nutrient recycling. Plants, for example, receive nutrients from the ground and the air which can then be utilized to build food chains that are used by a variety of other life forms. 
  1. Knowledge Source: Biodiversity is a valuable source of information. Many ecologists and scientists base their studies on the structure of biodiversity in ecosystems. 
  1. Natural disaster danger reduction: Healthy biodiversity is critical in reducing the risk of a natural disaster. We can lower the risks of natural disasters and climate shocks by limiting deforestation and regulating soil erosion. 
Limiting deforestation 

Economic importance  

  1. 1.Source of food: Biodiversity is necessary for all living organisms in this environment to have nourishment. Agriculture is a source of food for people as well as trees and plants for animals. Other microscopic species in this environment receive their sustenance from a variety of food sources.  

Biodiversity provides a wide range of resources for food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and other industries. Crops, animals, fisheries, and forests are all good sources of food. Various wild plants (such as Cinchona, Foxglove, and others) can be used for pharmacy and medical purposes. Most resources including wood, fiber, lubricants, resins, toxins, and others are derived from various plant species. 

Plant Cinchona can be used as a pharmacy and for medical purposes
Plant resins
  1. Source of fuel: Biodiversity aids in the production of fossil fuels, gasoline, and natural gas. 

It also contributes to the long-term growth of forests which is a common type of wood fuel utilized in daily life. 

Fossil fuels 
  1. Biodiversity helps to protect natural resources: Biological wealth is abundant in areas with high biodiversity. It’s also a sign of a plentiful supply of natural resources. Clean air, water, good soil, and a healthy ecosystem are all protected. 
  1. Medicine development: Our scientists have produced a number of medicines using plants and other living species present in this ecosystem that has aided in the treatment of a number of incurable ailments. 
  1. Economic development and poverty reduction: Biodiversity is essential for economic development and poverty reduction. 

Biodiversity is a major source of raw resources for industry. Food and herbs are critical to the economy’s development. It also helps farmers, fishermen, and the needy in rural areas by offering work possibilities that assist in reducing poverty. 

  1. Source of tourism: Biodiversity is critical to the growth of tourism. Wildlife watching, scuba diving, walking, hiking, bird watching, and camping are examples of natural tourist attractions. 

Social and ethical importance  

  • Biodiversity is essential for social advantages such as improved employment and social assistance for vulnerable rural communities. 
  • The ethical value of healthy biodiversity is to protect all forms of life. Every single species on this planet has the right to exist. Morality and ethics instruct us not to do unnecessary harm to any organism; however, some individuals like killing animals. 

Scientific importance 

  • The scientific value of biodiversity is that it allows scientists to conduct trials and study of plants and organism genes in order to develop new crops and therapies.  
  • It also assists scientists in uncovering information on the evolution of life in specific species. 
  •  Humans expand their knowledge by doing scientific studies on many species and plants. It is a collection of ecological information that assists us in understanding the natural world and its origins. 

Uses of biodiversity 

  1. Productive use 

Products are commercially harvested from biodiversity for exchange in market. 

Productive value of biodiversity is concerned with national income.  

It provides timber, fuel, fish, fodder, honey, cereals, medicinal plants, etc.  

Productive uses of biodiversity 
  1. Direct use values 

Consumptive uses include hunting and direct consumption (e.g., collecting berries, mushrooms, and plants). 

Observation, photography, and ecotourism, on the other hand, are all non-consumptive uses. 

Consumptive and non-consumptive uses of biodiversity.
  1. Indirect use values  

These are environmental services such as pollination, habitat for other species, food chain sustainability and etc. 

Methods to increase biodiversity 

Building wildlife corridors 

This entails establishing links between wildlife habitats. To put it another way, many creatures are unable to cover large distances. As a result, they are unable to cross the barrier and reproduce. So various engineering techniques can be used to create wildlife corridors. Also, it helps animals to move from one location to another. 

Wildlife corridors 

Set up gardens 

The simplest way to boost biodiversity is to plant gardens in people’s homes. In the yard or on the balcony, you can cultivate a variety of plants and animals. This would also assist in improving the amount of fresh air in the house. 

Terrace garden 

Protected areas 

Protected sites such as animal sanctuaries and zoos help to conserve biodiversity. They, for example, preserve the natural environment of plants and animals.  

These locations are also remote from any human civilization.  

As a result, the ecology is well-kept making it an ideal breeding ground for flora and wildlife. Furthermore, these habitats are the only reason that some animal species do not become extinct. As a result, protected areas should be expanded all over the world. 

Zoo to conserve biodiversity 

Rewilding 

To restore centuries of damage, rewilding is required. Furthermore, re-wilding involves reintroducing endangered species to places where they have become extinct.  

Various human activities such as hunting and tree cutting have put biodiversity at danger in recent years. As a result, we must take the appropriate actions to protect our wildlife and plant species.

Summary

• Biodiversity refers to the variety of animals, plants, fungi, and even microbes such as bacteria that make up our natural environment

• The count of species in a region is known as species richness.

• Three types of biodiversity are genetic biodiversity, species diversity, and ecological biodiversity.

• Genetic diversity: In terms of genetic constitution, each individual of a species differs from the others. That is why each and every person is unique.

• A group of similar creatures that generally mate to create offspring is referred to as a species’ diversity.

• The complex network of diverse species present in a particular ecosystem as well as their dynamic interactions is referred to as ecological diversity.

• Biodiversity has lot of importance in ecology, economy and ethically.

• Biodiversity is essential for social advantages such as improved employment and social assistance for vulnerable rural communities.

• The scientific value of biodiversity is that it allows scientists to conduct trials and study of plants and organism genes in order to develop new crops and therapies.

• Biodiversity has productive use, direct use and an indirect use.

• There are several methods to increase biodiversity such as building wildlife corridors, setting up gardens, setting up zoos and wildlife sanctuaries.

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