Biodiversity- Essay, Article, Speech, Short Note, Paragraph
Essay on Biodiversity
Biodiversity is the term which is popularized by the sociobiologist Edward Wilson to describe the combined diversity at all the levels of biological organization. Basically, it is a combination of two words biological and diversity where biological means living and diversity means variety. Biodiversity refers to all the variety of life that can be found on Earth (plants, animals, fungi, and micro-organisms) as well as the communities that they form and the habitats in which they live. Biological diversity means the variability among the living organisms from all sources including marine, terrestrial, and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes; this includes diversity within species, between species and of the ecosystem. Biological resources are real creatures (a wheat variety grown in a field, oak wood and, a particular species of birds etc.) while biological diversity is rather an aspect of life (the genetic variability of wheat around the world, forest types, and the variety of bird species etc.).
The common man would find it hard to accept that there are more than 20,000 species of ants, 3,00,000 species of beetles, 28,000 species of fishes and nearly 20,000 species of orchids. In our biosphere, the immense diversity exists not only at the species level but at all the levels of biological organization.
Biological diversity is understood at three levels
- Species diversity refers to the variety of different types of species (plants, animals, micro-organisms, and fungi) such as palm trees, bacteria, and elephants. The Western Ghats have a greater amphibian species diversity than the Eastern Ghats.
- Genetic diversity corresponds to the variety of genes contained in plants, animals, micro-organisms, and fungi. It occurs between species as well as within the species. For example, German Shepherds, golden retrievers, and poodles are all dogs but they look different.
- Ecosystem diversity refers to all the different types of habitats or places that exist like temperate or tropical forests, hot and cold deserts, mountains, rivers, coral reefs and much more. Each ecosystem match up to a series of complex relationships between biotic/living components such as animals and plants and abiotic/non-living components include air, water, sunlight, nutrients, and minerals.
Biodiversity and its conservation are now vital environmental issues of international concern as more people around the world begin to realize the critical importance of biodiversity for our survival and well-being on this planet.
Biodiversity on Earth and in India
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)(2004), the total number of plant and animal species described so far is slightly more than 1.5 million, but we have no obvious idea of how many species are yet to be discovered and described. Some extreme estimates range from 20-50 million, but a more conservative and scientifically sound estimate made by Robert May places the global species diversity at about 7 million. India has only 2.4% of the world’s land area; its share of the global species diversity is an impressive 8.1%. That is what makes our country one of the 12 megadiversity countries of the world. Nearly 45,000 species of the plants and twice as many of animals have been recorded from India. If we accept Robert May’s global estimates, only 22% of the total species have been recorded so far. Applying this proportion to India’s diversity figures, we estimate that there are probably more than 1,00,000 plant species and more than 3,00,000 animal species yet to be discovered and described.
It has taken millions of years of evolution, to build up this wealthy diversity in nature, but we could lose all that wealth in less than two centuries if the present rates of species losses continue. The situation appears more hopeless than we realize that a large fraction these species faces a threat of becoming extinct even before we discover them.