According to the most common definition, biodiversity simply refers to having a variety of species. It is a reflection of the population, variety and variability of organisms on earth. Biodiversity includes diversification within and between different species and among ecosystems.
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This variation of species in the ecosystem is a very important concept and factor that indeed is the basis for sustaining life on our planet. Considering such a great role of this matter, it is regrettable that biodiversity has been threatened by a number of factors largely fueled by human activities in recent days. This essay discusses the benefits of biodiversity on both the human beings and other living things.
Benefits of Biodiversity
To start with, biodiversity provides most of the food that humans and other living beings use for their survival. Humans feed on a wide array of living organisms like animals, plants, fish and others, which provide holistic nutritional value to them. Likewise, predators depend on other animals for food while plants rely on microorganisms to keep soil suitable for growth. Clearly, with an alteration in biodiversity, not only humans but also many other species of living things stand to suffer.
Secondly, biodiversity is a primary and great source of medicines and herbs used all around the world to treat various illnesses and health conditions. In the developing world, herbs are harvested directly even where drugs are manufactured for the ingredients to be primarily sourced from living things, especially plants. To give a more specific example, penicillin and anesthetics, which are commonly used in human treatment, are got from animal species and microbes.
Biodiversity is important for fighting against different threats that can harm our health and life. With a rich genetic composition within a species, the capacity to counter different bacteria, virus and other health impairing factors is greatly improved. For example, human beings avoid inbreeding in order to expand their genetic diversity, thereby this factor gives them an advantage and better chances to survive genetic and health attacks.
In addition, biodiversity is important for global warming mitigation. There are several plant tissues and organic matters on land and in ocean ecosystems that process carbon, which is part of the combination of greenhouse gasses contributing to climate change. For instance, as a measure for controlling the rate of global warming and desertification, countries worldwide have launched campaigns to plant many trees so that they can act as carbon sinks.
Again, biodiversity is very important for sustaining the global economy. Many people derive direct and indirect incomes from exploiting biodiversity. Indeed, it provides an important contribution to the economic development of all the nations of the world. Natural pesticides, fibers, waxes, fuel, gums, dyes and many others are goods harvested from biodiversity. Also, nature related holidays and ecotourism that are the main sources of income of many countries rely on biodiversity.
Moreover, the most important supporter of life, which is soil and water in it, depends on biodiversity for its maintenance. If the soil were eroded, then life would cease to exist very quickly. Microorganisms in the soil are responsible for breaking down organic matter and serving plants with essential nutrients. Vegetation, on the other hand, keeps soil intact and protects it.
Clean air that is very essential for life is purified by plant species, which filter unwanted and harmful particles from industries, recycle oxygen and regulate atmospheric composition. Indeed, plants use carbon dioxide to manufacture food and give out oxygen in its place.
Humans depend a lot on planted crops to provide food which are, however, susceptible to many pests. Other organisms including insects, birds and fungi eliminate a great majority of the potential pests that attack crops. These natural and cheap ways of controlling pests are far superior to artificial ones as pests often develop resistance to the latter.
The intrinsic value of biodiversity must not be also overlooked. Human beings and a number of other animals enhance their emotional wellbeing by being close to natural beauty. For example, the mutually helpful relationships between humans and biodiversity are easily discernible in arts, traditions and religions of diverse cultures all over the world. For instance, a picture depicting a beautiful; nature where green and healthy trees are represented is considered by many to have a calming effect on the human’s mind.
Generally, biodiversity provides all the basic needs of men and other higher animals. The provision of food, shelter, clothing and all the other basic needs can be traced back to the issue under the consideration. In fact, almost all food comes from living things, fabric for clothes is made from plants and skin or fir of animals while many of the materials used by people to build houses also have an organic nature and are the results of biodiversity.
That is why it is necessary to state that biodiversity is not just an important and beneficial but crucial aspect of life. Nature has its own way of balancing life, and biodiversity is at the center of this grand plan. Every single organism that exists on our planet has a role to play in supporting other life forms in all the different ecosystems. Biodiversity must be, therefore, protected and preserved if humans want the life to be sustained.