Biodiversity also known as biological diversity is the variables that exist
among several species living in the ecosystem. These living organisms include
marine, terrestrial and aquatic life. Biodiversity aims to understand the
positions these organisms occupy in the broader ecosystem.
The growing population, industrialization, technology, etc., all are impacting
The increased human activities have been reducing the natural area for plants,
animals and other living things. A number of plants and animals have gone
extinct because of increased deforestation and other factors. Growing pollution,
causing global warming and climate change, is a big threat to biodiversity. The
decline in biodiversity would in turn lead to imbalance in the ecosystem and
would become a threat to the human race as well as other living organisms.
When there is biodiversity in our ecosystem it translates to a greener
environment. This is because plant life thrives in a balanced ecosystem. This
invariably affects humans as we consume plants for our survival. Also, a healthy
ecosystem can help to reduce the risk of diseases and the way we respond to
If proper care is not taken, the biodiversity of Earth may become extinct one
day and if it happens then, humans have to find another planet to live. It's
better to act now before it gets too late.
If we pollute the air, water and soil that keep us alive and well, and destroy
the biodiversity that allows natural systems to function, no amount of money
will save us.
"Biodiversity is the variation among living organisms from different sources
including terrestrial, marine and desert ecosystems, and the ecological
complexes of which they are a part."- David Suzuki
Biodiversity describes the richness and variety of life on earth. It is the most
complex and important feature of our planet. Without biodiversity, life would
not sustain. It holds ecological and economic significance. Therefore, it is
very important to have a good knowledge of biodiversity for a sustainable
The word biodiversity is a contraction of the phrase "biological diversity" and
was first coined in 1985 by Walter Rosen of the National Research Council as a
title word in a seminar he was organizing to discuss biological diversity. Human
Rights Commission organise a convention for the conversation of biological
diversity and was first adopted on1992 and came into force in 1993. It is
important in natural as well as artificial ecosystems. It deals with nature's
variety, the biosphere. It refers to variabilities among plants, animals and
microorganism species. It provides us with nourishment, housing, fuel, clothing
and several other resources. It also extracts monetary benefits through tourism.
It includes the number of different organisms and their relative frequencies in
an ecosystem. It also reflects the organization of organisms at different
Biodiversity is a contraction of biological diversity. It is important in all
ecosystems, not only in those that are "natural" such as national parks or
natural preserves, but also in those that are managed by humans, such as farms
and plantations, and even urban parks. It reflects the number, variety and
variability of living organisms and how these change from one location to
another and over time.
Biodiversity is the basis of the multiple benefits provided by ecosystems to
humans. Biodiversity includes diversity within species (genetic diversity),
between species (species diversity), and between ecosystems (ecosystem
Biodiversity is difficult to quantify precisely even with the tools and data
sources that are available. These tropical forest ecosystems cover less than ten
percent of earth's surface, and contain about ninety percent of the world's
species. Marine biodiversity is usually higher along coasts in the Western
Pacific, where sea surface temperature is highest, and in the mid-latitudinal
band in all oceans.
There are many measures of biodiversity; species richness (the number of species
in a given area) represents a single but important metric that is valuable as
the common currency of the diversity of life-but it must be integrated with
other metrics to fully capture biodiversity. But precise answers are seldom
needed to sufficiently understand biodiversity, how it is changing, and the
causes and consequences of such change.
Types of Biodiversity:
There are the following three different types of biodiversity:
- Genetic Biodiversity
- Species Biodiversity
- Ecological Biodiversity
means related to traits passed from parent to offspring.
means having a range of different things.
Genetic Biodiversity refers to the range of different inherited traits within
a species. In a species with high genetic diversity, there would be many
individuals with a wide variety of different traits.
Genetic diversity serves as a way for populations to adapt to changing
environments. With more variation, it is more likely that some individuals in a
population will possess variations of alleles that are suited for the
environment. Those individuals are more likely to survive to produce offspring
bearing that allele. The population will continue for more generations because
of the success of these individuals
Species Biodiversity is defined as the number of species and abundance of
each species that live in a particular location. The number of species that live
in a certain location is called species richness. If you were to measure the
species richness of a forest, you might find 20 bird species, 50 plant species,
and 10 mammal species. Abundance is the number of individuals of each species.
For example, there might be 100 mountain beavers that live in a forest. You can
talk about species diversity on a small scale, like a forest, or on a large
scale, like the total diversity of species living on Earth.
Ecological Biodiversity Ecological biodiversity is the diversity of ecosystems,
natural communities, and habitats. The forests of Maine differ from the forests
of Colorado by the types of species found in both ecosystems, as well as the
temperature and rainfall. In essence, it's the variety of ways that species
interact with each other and their environment These two seemingly similar
ecosystems have a lot of differences that make them both special.
Current Trend in Biodiversity:
By the late 21st century, distributions of European plant species are projected
to have shifted several hundred kilometres to the north, forests are likely to
have contracted in the south and expanded in the north, and 60 % of mountain
plant species may face extinction. The rate of change will exceed the ability of
many species to adapt, especially as landscape fragmentation may restrict
A combination of the rate of climate change, habitat fragmentation and other
obstacles will impede the movement of many animal species, possibly leading to a
progressive decline in European biodiversity. Distribution changes are projected
to continue. Suitable climatic conditions for Europe's breeding birds are
projected to shift nearly 550 km northeast by the end of the century, with the
average range size shrinking by 20 %. Projections for 120 native European
mammals suggest that up to 9 % (assuming no migration) risk extinction during
the 21st century.
- Across the range of biodiversity measures, current rates of loss exceed
those of the historical past by several orders of magnitude and show no
indication of slowing.
- Biodiversity is declining rapidly due to land use change, climate
change, invasive species, overexploitation, and pollution. These result from
demographic, economic, socio-political, cultural, technological, and other
- While these drivers vary in their importance among ecosystems and
regions, current trends indicate a continuing loss of biodiversity.
Across the range of biodiversity measures, current rates of change and loss
exceed those of the historical past by several orders of magnitude and show no
indication of slowing. At large scales, across biogeographic realms and
ecosystems (biomes), declines in biodiversity are recorded in all parts of the
habitable world. Among well-studied groups of species, extinction rates of
organisms are high and increasing (medium certainty), and at local levels both
populations and habitats are most commonly found to be in decline
Rates of human conversion among biomes have remained similar over at least the
last century. For example, boreal forests had lost very little native habitat
cover up to 1950 and have lost only a small additional percentage since then. In
contrast, the temperate grasslands biome had lost nearly 70% of its native cover
by 1950 and lost an additional 15.4% since then. Two biomes appear to be
exceptions to this pattern: Mediterranean forests and temperate broadleaf
forests. Both had lost the majority of their native habitats by 1950 but since
then have lost less than 2.5% additional habitat.
These biomes contain many of
the world's most established cities and most extensive surrounding agricultural
development (Europe, the United States, the Mediterranean basin, and China). It
is possible that in these biomes the most suitable land for agriculture had
already been converted by 1950.
Importance of Biodiversity:
Biodiversity plays an important role in ecosystem functions that provide
supporting, provisioning, regulating, and cultural services. These services are
essential for human well-being. However, at present there are few studies that
link changes in biodiversity with changes in ecosystem functioning to changes in
human well-being. Further work that demonstrates the links between biodiversity,
regulating and supporting services, and human well-being is needed to show this
vital but often unappreciated value of biodiversity.
Biodiversity, the diversity of life on Earth, is essential to the healthy
functioning of ecosystems. Habitat loss and overexploitation, driven by
our rapid population growth and unsustainable consumption patterns, are the
primary causes of biodiversity loss which is now happening up to ten thousand
times faster than for millions of years before.
The issues of biodiversity raise many challenges. The unthinking rush, which
some are engaged in, to plant large quantities of the same type of tree all in
the same area is not the solution. This is only going to create other ecological
problems and does not address the issue of biodiversity.
Our biodiversity is very important to the well-being of our planet. Most
cultures, at least at some time, have recognized the importance of conserving
natural resources. Many still do, but many do not.
- Increase ecosystem productivity; each species in an ecosystem has a
specific niche-a role to play.
- Support a larger number of plant species and, therefore, a greater
variety of crops.
- Protect freshwater resources.
- Promote soils formation and protection.
- Provide for nutrient storage and recycling.
- Aid in breaking down pollutants.
- Contribute to climate stability.
- Speed recovery from natural disasters.
- Provide more food resources.
- Provide more medicinal resources and pharmaceutical drugs.
- Offer environments for recreation and tourism.
Biodiversity has become an important issue on the global arena. The importance
of biodiversity is increasingly being recognised as of vital concern on the
local, national and international levels. The challenge is how to find practical
and workable ways to increase biological diversity. Obviously, action needs to
be taken on the governmental level. However, there are also ways that
individuals, and groups of individuals can begin to act on their own right and
help create ecological change and increase biodiversity.
Actions taken to conserve the biodiversity:
Biodiversity provides humanity and our economies with the resources needed to
thrive. However, the planet is experiencing a great loss of biodiversity due to
overfishing, deforestation and pollution. Humans and our planet's ecosystem are
inextricably linked and as our planet warms, the threat to ecosystems is a
threat to us. It's crucial for corporations to make strides to protect
Success depends on a collaborative management approach between government and
stakeholders, an adaptive approach that tests options in the field,
comprehensive monitoring that provides information on management success or
failure, and empowerment of local communities through an open and transparent
system that clarifies access and ownership of resources.
The impact of market instruments in encouraging and achieving conservation of
biodiversity is unclear. Although tradable development rights offer the
potential to achieve a conservation objective at a low cost by offering
flexibility in achieving the objectives, they have been the subject of some
criticisms-notably for being complex and involving high transaction costs and
the establishment of new supporting institutions.
For example, a situation could arise in which the most ecologically sensitive
land but also the least costly to develop would not be protected. To date, the
TDR has not been designed to target specific habitat types and properties.
Protected areas may contribute to poverty where rural people are excluded from
resources that have traditionally supported their well-being. However, PAs can
contribute to improved livelihoods when they are managed to benefit local
people. Relations with local people should be addressed more effectively through
participatory consultation and planning. One possible strategy is to promote the
broader use of IUCN protected areas management categories.
Governance approaches to support biodiversity conservation and sustainable use
are required at all levels, with supportive laws and policies developed by
central governments providing the security of tenure and authority essential for
sustainable management at lower levels. At the same time that management of some
ecosystem services is being devolved to lower levels, management approaches are
also evolving to deal with large-scale processes with many stakeholders.
Problems such as regional water scarcity and conservation of large ecosystems
require large-scale management structures.
Legal systems in countries are multi-layered and, in many countries, local
practices or informal institutions may be much stronger than the law on
paper. Since these are embedded in the local societies, changing these customs
and customary rights through external incentive and disincentive schemes is very
difficult unless the incentives are very carefully designed. Local knowledge,
integrated with other scientific knowledge, becomes absolutely critical for
addressing ways of managing local ecosystems.
Success of protected areas as a response to biodiversity loss requires better
site selection and incorporation of regional trade-offs to avoid some ecosystems
from being poorly represented while others are overrepresented.
Convention On Biological Diversity, 1992:
Conscious of the intrinsic value of biological diversity and of the
ecological, genetic, social, economic, scientific, educational, cultural,
recreational and aesthetic values of biological diversity and its components.
The objective of the convention, to be pursued in accordance with its relevant
provisions, are the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of
its components and the fail and equitable sharing of the appropriate access to
genetic resources and by appropriate transfer of relevant technologies, talking
into account all rights over those resources and to technologies, and by
"Biological Diversity" means the variability among living organisms from all
sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems
within species, between species and of ecosystems.
Biological resources, include genetic resources, organisms or parts, thereof,
populations or any other biotic components of ecosystems with actual or
potential use or value for humanity. "Biotechnology" means any technological
application that uses biological systems, living organisms or, derivatives
thereof, to make or modify products or process for specific use.
State have in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and the
principles of international law, the sovereign rights to exploit their own
resources pursuant to their own environmental policies, and the responsibilities
to ensure that activities within their jurisdiction or control do not cause
damage to the environment of other states or of areas beyond the limits of
Subject to the rights except as otherwise expressly provided in this Convention
the provisions of this Conventions apply, in relation to each contracting party:
- In the case of components of biological diversity, in areas within the
limits of its national jurisdiction's; and
- In the case of process and activities, regardless of where their effects
occur, carried out under its jurisdiction or control, within the areas
within the area of its national jurisdictions or beyond the limits of
Provided that it has been fully restructured in accordance with the requirements
of Article 21, the Global Environment Facility of the United Nation Development
Programme, the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development shall be
instituted structured referred to in Article 21 on the interim basis, for the
period between the entry into force of this Conventions and first meeting of
the Conference of the parties or until the Conference of the Parties decides
which institutional structure will be designated in accordance with Article 21.
Human actions are fundamentally, and to a significant extent irreversibly,
changing the diversity of life on Earth, and most of these changes represent a
loss of biodiversity. Changes in important components of biological diversity
were more rapid in the past 50 years than at any time in human history.
Projections and scenarios indicate that these rates will continue, or
accelerate, in the future.
Many of the actions that have been taken to conserve biodiversity and promote
its sustainable use have been successful in limiting biodiversity loss and
homogenization to rates lower than they would otherwise have been in the absence
of such actions. However, further significant progress will require a portfolio
of actions that build on cur-rent initiatives to address important direct
and indirect drivers of biodiversity loss and ecosystem service degradation.
Less biodiversity would exist today had not communities, NGOs, governments, and,
to a growing extent, business and industry taken actions to conserve
biodiversity, mitigate its loss, and support its sustainable use.
The drivers of loss of biodiversity and the drivers of changes in ecosystem
services are either steady, show no evidence of declining over time, or are
increasing in intensity.
In the aggregate and at a global scale, there are five indirect drivers of
changes in biodiversity and ecosystem services: demo-graphic, economic, socio
political, cultural and religious, and scientific and technological
Improved valuation techniques and information on ecosystem services tells us
that although many individuals benefit from the actions and activities that lead
to biodiversity loss and ecosystem change, the costs borne by society of such
changes is often higher. Even in instances where our knowledge of benefits and
costs is incomplete, the use of the precautionary approach may be warranted when
the costs associated with ecosystem changes may be high or the changes
Biodiversity contributes directly (through provisioning, regulating, and
cultural ecosystem services) and indirectly (through supporting ecosystem
services) to many constituents of human well-being, including security, basic
material for a good life, health, good social relations, and freedom of choice
and action. Many people have benefited over the last century from the conversion
of natural ecosystems to human-dominated ecosystems and the exploitation of
biodiversity. At the same time, however, these losses in biodiversity and
changes in ecosystem services have caused some people to experience declining
well-being, with poverty in some social groups being exacerbated.
Written By: Anmol Kumar Shaw -
- Available at - https://imet.usmd.edu/activities/what-genetic-diversity -
on 08.08.2021 at 17.00 hours
- Available at - https://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-species-diversity-definition-importance-examples.html
- 07.08.2021 at 13.00 hours.
- Available at - https://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/indicators/change-in-species-diversity-as/what-are-trends-in-biodiversity
- 07.08.2021 at 14.00 hours.
- Available at - https://populationmatters.org/the-facts/biodiversity?gclid=Cj0KCQjwu7OIBhCsARIsALxCUaN25wqP84SZ4v7tnDuqZXVxsU3oPX22M2pbdVt_-q1o4tw0S69RF6caApmoEALw_wcB
on 08.08.2021 18.00hours.
- Available at Book on Environment Law by H.N Tiwari at 08.08.2021 on
- Available at Book on Environmental Law Environment Protection and
Sustainable Development Allahabad Law Agency by Dr. P.S Jaiswal and Dr. Nishta
Jaiswal on 08.08.2021 at 18.04hours.
LL.M (Final Year) at Cooch Behar
Panchanan Barma University, West Bengal
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