Importance of biodiversity and how we can protect it.
Updated: Jun 24, 2019
Why is Biodiversity so important?
Biological diversity (short: biodiversity) describes the variety of ecosystems, ecosystem processes, species and genes.
Nature consists of various ecosystems, deeply interconnected and multifaceted systems with several processes. Every species plays a vital part in its ecosystems functioning and species are interacting with one another. Interaction within ecosystems produce so-called ecosystem services like water & air purification, food production, soil renewal, etc., processes we highly depend on. Therefore it should be a priority for us to keep these ecosystems intact.
Additionally biodiversity makes sure that natural balance gets restored after one population grows too large or if environmental conditions change drastically.
In conclusion protecting biodiversity means protecting species, ecosystems and ecosystem services that we depend on. Biodiversity is essential for natural systems to work and by degrading it not only nature suffers but we threaten our own livelihood and survival as well.
How can we protect Biodiversity?
Biodiversity dwells in areas that are not impacted by humans. So traditionally the approach to protect biodiversity was to set certain geographical, protected areas that are nearly not affected by humans.
But due to our growing population, growing resource demand and consumption, the amount of human-modified areas keeps increasing. We need additional solutions than just protected areas. This challenge is particularly present in the western Ghats, the by far most densely populated global biodiversity hotspot (Cincotta et al.,2000).
And this is where coexistence comes into play. We have to find ways that each of our human-use areas conserves at least one aspect of biodiversity. By managing our human use areas in a biodiversity friendly manner, we not only provide important habitat but also create a network which makes it possible for species to disperse. We shouldn’t regard natural protected areas and human-modified areas as two independent entities but as ecologically interacting components of a single system (Gardner et al., 2009).
Sources: -Cincotta, R.P., Wisnewski, J., Engelman, R., 2000. Human population in the biodiversity hotpots. Nature 404, 990-992 -Gardner, T.A. et al. 2009. Prospects for tropical forest biodiversity in a human-modified world. Ecology Letters 12, 561-582