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Biodiversity, also referred to as Biological Diversity, is the variety of flora and fauna present in a particular habitat or on Earth as a whole. It has largely replaced the more clearly defined terms – species richness and species diversity.

There are many other terms that have been used to define this diversity. These include ecological diversity (viewed from ecosystem diversity perspective), taxonomic diversity (gauged at the species diversity level), functional diversity (computation of the functionally disparate species within population) and morphological diversity (derived from genetic diversity). Biodiversity offers a unified view of all these biological varieties.

Biodiversity is important as it helps in maintaining a balance in the ecological system. Different plants and animals are interdependent on each other to get their basic needs fulfilled. For instance, human beings are dependent on various plants and animals for their food, shelter and clothes and likewise many other species are dependent on each other for such purposes. Richness of biodiversity makes our planet fit for the survival of each of the species living here.

However, unfortunately the growing pollution is having a negative impact on biodiversity. A number of plants and animals have gone extinct because of this and many are feared to become extinct in the times to come if the level of pollution continues to grow this way. This would result in a decline in biodiversity.

Human beings need to understand the importance of maintaining rich biodiversity. The vehicular smoke that leads to massive air pollution is becoming a threat to various species. This is one of the first things that need to be controlled in order to bring down the pollution level in the atmosphere. The industrial waste that goes into the sea is harmful for the marine life and must thus be disposed of using some other means. Similarly, land and noise pollution must also be controlled.

Deforestation is also a major reason for the decline in the level of biodiversity. Not only is it rapidly bringing down the number of plants and trees but it is also taking away shelter from the animals and making it hard for them to survive. Such practices must be controlled in order to ensure harmony in the environment.

Threats to Biodiversity

Changes to how we use the land and waters - Both our lands and our seas contain many different ecosystems, and these are affected by business actions. For example: when developers drain and fill in marshes or wetlands in order to build housing, they take away the land that captures excess water during storms.

Overexploitation and unsustainable use - Activities such as logging, farming, and fishing can be done sustainably, but they are often done in ways that overexploit a resource. When too many species, or even just a few important species, are taken out of the ecosystem, the whole network of life in that area can collapse.

Climate change - We’re already seeing hotter temperatures, warmer oceans, and more severe weather events. Many species can’t adjust to these conditions, and their numbers crash.

Increased pollution - Pollution of air, soil, and water poses a serious problem to many ecosystems. Tiny bits of plastic suspended in ocean water build up inside fish, birds, and other marine species.  Industrial toxins kill many species in rivers and lakes.

Invasive species - Global trade brings species from their home ecosystems to other parts of the world, where there are often no predators to eat them and keep their numbers in check. The warming climate allows dangerous species such as disease-carrying mosquitos to thrive in new latitudes.

Importance of Biodiversity

The importance of biodiversity does not only lie in the survival of various species of the earth. There is social, cultural as well as the economic importance of it as well. Biodiversity is of extreme importance to maintain the balance of nature. It is vital to maintaining the food chain as well. One species may be the food for another species and various species are linked to each other through this food chain. Apart from this, there is scientific importance of the biodiversity as well. The research and breeding programmes involve the variety of species. If these species cease to exist then such programmes shall not be possible. nother important importance of biodiversity is that it provides food to all including human beings. All the food we consume is either derived from plants or animals such as fishes and other marine animals. They are also the source of new crops, pesticides and source material for agricultural practices. Biodiversity is also important for industrial use.

It is not possible for the human to live all alone on the Earth. Various other life forms are equally important and play their roles in the mutual survival of the various species on the Earth. Each one of species has its own set of contribution for the environment. Already many species have become extinct as they were not able to survive in the changing weather conditions. Hence it is our duty to ensure that our activities do not affect the other flora and fauna on the planet. Although there are a number of steps taken by the government so as to preserve the various life forms, we should also contribute individually towards this cause. If we do not act today, we may yet again witness the extinction of the vulnerable biodiversity which may further disturb the balance of nature.