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July 23, 2008 | Environmental Science 1

Reported by: Justin de Guzman and Inah Vinluan

What is
 Shortened term for Biological Diversity.

 Refers to a variation of life at all levels of biological


 “Diversity” in these definition includes diversity

within a species and among species, and
comparative diversity among ecosystems.

 The number of species of plants, animals, and

microorganisms, the enormous diversity of genes in these
species, the different ecosystems on the planet, such as
deserts, rainforests and coral reefs are all part of a
biologically diverse earth.
Evolution and Meaning

Biodiversity is a neologism and portmanteau

word, from biology and diversity.

Since 1986 the terms and the concept have achieved

widespread use among biologists, environmentalists, political
leaders, and concerned citizens worldwide.

It is generally used to equate to a 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.
Evolution and Meaning

The Science Division of The Nature Conservancy used the term

"natural diversity" in a 1975 study, "The Preservation of Natural
Diversity." The term biological diversity was used even before
that by conservation scientists like Robert E. Jenkins and
Thomas Lovejoy. The word biodiversity itself 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 of that forum. The word
biodiversity was deemed more effective in terms of
communication than biological diversity.
Why is Biodiversity
Biodiversity reflects the number, variety and
variability of living organisms as well as how
these change from one location to another and
over time.
A diverse ecosystem is important. Ecosystems provide the
basic necessities of life such as food, clean air and water.
They offer protection from natural disasters and disease,
shape human cultures and spiritual beliefs, and maintain the
planet’s essential life processes.

Biodiversity actually boosts ecosystem productivity

where each species, no matter how small, all have an
important role to play. It is this combination that enables
the ecosystem to possess the ability to prevent and recover
from a variety of disasters.
Why is Biodiversity
“At least 40 percent of the world’s economy and 80 percent
of the needs of the poor are derived from biological
resources. In addition, the richer the diversity of life, the
greater the opportunity for medical discoveries, economic
development, and adaptive responses to such new
challenges as climate change.”

— The Convention about Life on Earth, Convention on Biodiversity web site.

What does a HEALTHY Biodiversity
Ecosystem services ,
such as

Protection of water resources

Soils formation and protection
Nutrient storage and recycling
Pollution breakdown and absorption

Contribution to climate stability

Maintenance of ecosystems
Recovery from unpredictable events
What does a HEALTHY Biodiversity
Biological resources ,
such as

Medicinal resources and pharmaceutical drugs
Wood products
Ornamental plants
Breeding stocks, population reservoirs
Future resources
Diversity in genes, species and ecosystems
What does a HEALTHY Biodiversity
Social benefits ,
such as

Research, education and monitoring

Recreation and tourism
Cultural values
What does a HEALTHY Biodiversity

. Biodiversity loss affects ecosystems, making them

more vulnerable to perturbations and less able to
supply humans with these valuable services. And so,
while we dominate this planet, we still need to
preserve the diversity in wildlife.
Threats on Biological
Ecosystems are indeed incredibly productive and
efficient—when there is sufficient biodiversity. Each
form of life works together with the surrounding
In losing species we lose the productivity and stability of entire ecosystems.
environment to help recycle waste, maintain the
ecosystem, and provide services that others—
including humans—use and benefit from.

In losing species we lose the productivity and

stability of entire ecosystems.
Threats on Biological
Massive Extinctions from Human
. (August 2, 1999) says that
A report from Environment New Service

“The current extinction rate is now approaching 1,000 times the

background rate and may climb to 10,000 times the background rate
during the next century, if present trends continue. At this rate, one-
third to two-thirds of all species of plants, animals, and other
organisms would be lost during the second half of the next century, a
loss that would easily equal those of past extinctions.”
Threats on Biological
In a slow extinction, various balancing mechanisms can
develop. No one knows what will be the result of this
extremely rapid extinction rate.

What is known, for sure, is that the world ecological

system has been kept in balance through a very complex
and multifacetted interaction between a huge number of
species. This rapid extinction is therefore likely to
precitate collapses of ecolosystems at a global scale.
This is predicted to create large-scale agricultural
problems, threatening food supplies to hundreds of
millions of people.
Threats on Biological
Factors contributing to loss of biodiversity include:

 Overpopulation and Pollution

 Habitat Destruction .
 Invasive species
 Overexploitation (Deforestation and
 Global Warming or Climate change.

These factors, mostly driven by human activity, which stems from

overpopulation, produce a cumulative impact upon biodiversity.
Threats on Biological
Habitat Destruction

 Most of the species extinctions from 1000 AD to 2000 AD

are due to human activities, in particular destruction of plant
and animal habitats.
 While most of the species that are becoming extinct are
not food species, their biomass is converted into human
food when their habitat is transformed into pasture,
cropland, and orchards.

It is estimated that more than 40% of the Earth's biomass is tied up in

only the few species that represent humans, livestock and crops.
Threats on Biological
Invasive Species

 The rich diversity of unique species across many

parts of the world exist only
. because they are
separated by barriers, particularly large rivers, seas,
oceans, mountains and deserts from other species of
other land masses, particularly the highly fecund,
ultra-competitive, generalist "super-species“.

 However humans have invented ships and airplanes,

and now have the power to bring into contact species
that never have met in their evolutionary history.
Threats on Biological
Invasive Species

 The widespread introduction

. of exotic species by
humans is a potent threat to biodiversity. When exotic
species are introduced to ecosystems and establish
self-sustaining populations, the endemic species in
that ecosystem, that have not evolved to cope with
the exotic species, may not survive. The exotic
organisms may be either predators, parasites, or
simply aggressive species that deprive indigenous
species of nutrients, water and light.
Threats on Biological
Invasive Species

 If humans continue to combine species from different

ecoregions, there is the potential that the world's
ecosystems will end up dominated by relatively a few,
aggressive, cosmopolitan "super-species“.
Threats on Biological
a. Overfishing -- Dwindling Fish Stocks
 Industrialized fishing has contributed importantly
to mass extinction due to repeatedly failed attempts
at limiting the fishing.

 A new global study concludes that 90 percent of all

large fishes have disappeared from the world’s
oceans in the past half century, the devastating
result of industrial fishing. The study took 10 years to
complete and was published in the international
journal Nature.
Threats on Biological
Overexploitation (Overfishing -- Dwindling Fish Stocks)

 Another cause for extensive fish extinction is the

destruction of coral reefs. .This is caused by a
combination of causes, including warming of oceans,
damage from fishing tools and a harmful infection of
coral organisms promoted by ocean pollution.

A research article in the journal, Science , warned

commercial fish and seafood species may all crash
by 2048.
Threats on Biological
b. Deforestation

 A report from the World .Commission on Forests

and Sustainable Development suggests that the
forests of the world have been exploited to the
point of crisis and that major changes in global
forest management strategies would be needed to
avoid the devastation.

 What also makes this a problem is that many of

the endangered species are only found in small
areas of land, often within the borders of a single
country. New species of animals and plants are still
being discovered.
Threats on Biological
Overexploitation (Deforestation)

In Papua New Guinea, 44 new species of animals were discovered

recently in the forests. Logging may affect
. these animals' habitats,
though. The loss of rainforests around the world, where many species of
life are found could be lost.

Brazil which is estimated to have around 55,000 species of flora,

amounting to some 22% of the world’s total and India which has about
46,000 and some 81,000 animal species (amounting to some 8% of the
world’s biodiversity), are also under various pressures, from corporate
globalization and deforestation.

So too are many other biodiverse regions, such as Indonesia, parts of

Africa, and other tropical regions.
Human Dimension - Governance, Awareness and
Political Will

 Rising poverty, increasing populations,

alienation from the land
 Poor capacity for management and lack of
 Lack of Political Will, and Oceans Governance

 Humans have generally expanded and developed

their territory throughout history. An active
approach is the only way to halt the expansion but
this often requires funds or wise stewardship.
Currently the United States Environmental
Protection Agency has an annual budget of $7.3
billion (2007).
Preservation of invertebrate and plant species

 Biodiversity is most well known to the public as

a loss of animals with a backbone,
. when in fact
there exist 20 times that number of insects and
five times as many flowering plants. While many of
these species may be highly valuable to the human
race for the above reasons, the vast majority are
often completely unknown to anyone but
specialists. In fact it is often estimated that less
than half and perhaps less than two-thirds of earth
organisms have even been identified.
What we can do?...

 As individuals, we all have an essential part to play

in promoting biodiversity conservation and sustainable
use. We can demand action from all levels of
government. Moreover, in our everyday choices, we all
can have direct positive impacts on biodiversity and
the state of our planet’s ecosystems, for instance by
supporting sustainable consumption and waste
Green Facts. Facts on Heal and the Environment. “Scientific Facts on
Biodiversity (A Global Outlook)” Last Modified: June 11, 2008.
Shah, Anup. Global Issues. “Biodiversity”. Last Modified: June 14, 2008
http://www.globalissues.org/Env Issues/Biodiversity.asp

United Nations System-Wide Earthwatch. “Biodiversity Assessment”

1996-2007. http://earthwatch.unep.net/emergingissues/

Wikipedia. “Biodiversity”. Last Modified: July 2, 2008