Essay: Biodiversity

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  • Subject area(s): Environmental studies essays
  • Reading time: 5 minutes
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  • Published on: September 29, 2015
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  • Number of pages: 2
  • Biodiversity
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The degree of variation of life is called; biodiversity. It is a measure of the variety of organisms present in different ecosystems on earth. This can refer to genetic variation, species variation, or ecosystem variation, within an area, biome, or planet. Biodiversity tends to be highest around the equator, which is probably resulted the warm climate and high primary productivity. Biodiversity has not been evenly distributed on Earth. It is the richest in the tropics. Marine biodiversity is getting to be highest along coasts in the Western Pacific, where sea surface temperature is highest and in the mid-latitudinal band in all oceans. Biodiversity has been increasing through time but will be likely to slow in the future.
Global Perspective
Extinction is a fact of life. Species have been developing and dying out since the start of life on earth. This is called the evolution. However, the amount of endangered species is increasing rapidly nowadays. Previous mass extinctions obvious in the geological record are thought to have been caused mainly due to massive climatic or environmental shifts. Mass extinctions which are caused by the activities of a single species aren’t known in the geological history.
Disappearance of species as a result of changes to the earth that are caused by nature or by the actions done by people. Sometimes natural disasters like a volcano eruption or a hurricane, cause that entire species are being wiped away. Sometimes, extinctions happen slowly due to global changes that happen in nature. For example with extreme climate change, species which aren’t adapted to extreme cold weather, die out and other species take their place.
Humans can also cause the extinction of species. The main reason that species are endangered or threatened nowadays is often because men make changes in their homes or habitats. The species die because they aren’t able to adapt themselves to their new nature. The habitat in which species live doesn’t only include other plants or animals in an area but also all things that are needed for species to survive. So, food, sunlight and shelter. Every different species has to have a specific habitat to stay alive. A polar bear, is not able to live in a desert, as there isn’t any supply of food and water, it needs to live in a cold habitat. On the other hand, a tropical birds need to have a tropical habitat like a rainforest to stay alive.
Endangering of plants and animals by people can also be caused because people move or introduce them into areas where they don’t originally live. Some species do very well in their new area, which sometimes causes that they endanger other species which already live there. These are species are called native species The introduced species are called invasive species. When some fish are introduced into a lake or stream, for example, they may prey upon the native fish, or eat their food. The native species may then have to find a new source of food or a new home, or they face to become endangered or extinct.
Another way in which people harm species is by taking them from the wild. People might, for example catch an insect like a butterfly for their collection. Others might keep a wild animal for a pet, or pick flowers because it is pretty. In addition, people illegally hunt animals for food supply or for their skin and fur. In the past, lots of animals like tigers, rhinos, elephants etc. Were hunted for their ivory teeth which were thought to have a healing ability or their fur.
Pollution can affect wildlife as well and can even develop into extinction. If pesticides and other chemicals are not used well, they can poison plants and animals. One of the animals that was harmed by pesticides, is the bald eagle. A pesticide (DDT) was used by many farmers in the past. Precipitation causes that the pesticides are washed into the lakes and streams, where it poisoned fish. The bald eagles would eat the fish and lay eggs with very thin shells. These eggs were often crushed before they could hatch.
There is an surplus of estimates and predictions of species that will get lost in future. One of these estimates shows that 25% of all species on earth are likely to be extinct, or on their way to extinction within 30 years. Another estimate predicts that within 100 years, 75% of all species will either be extinct or will be so small in populations that they can be described as ‘the living dead’.
It is hard to appreciate that the human population on earth increases over the last two centuries. Although, the horrible combined mortality rates of World War I and II, Hitler, Stalin, major flu pandemics and Aids, there has been no lowering effect on the rising population levels. In 1950, the world population was 2.4 billion and just over 50 years later, this amount has almost been tripled to 6.5 billion.
In the UK, the population increases by the amount of people living in a city, each year. This will demand higher living standards for all which causes the problem to grow even more. There have been estimates that if everyone in the world lived at the standard of people living in the UK, we would need another three worlds to supply the resources needed or we would need to reduce the world population to 2 billion.
Are the humans themselves becoming more, or less, diverse?
Studies of human diversity have shown that most genetic diversity was found between individuals rather than between populations or continents rather than between populations or continents and that the variation in human diversity can best be described by geographical gradients, or clines. A wide-ranged study, which was published in 2004, found that 87.6% of the total modern human genetic diversity is
Generally, 5%-15% of genetic variation occurs between large groups which live on different continents, with the remaining majority of the variation in diversity occurring within these groups. These results show, when individuals around the globe are sampled, the pattern visible is not because of separate clusters but gradients in genetic variation that spread over the entire world. That is why there is no reason to assume major genetic fractures exist between peoples on different continents.
Maintaining minerals/material
Already existing materials and minerals need to be maintained in a good way so there don’t occur any disasters. The best ways to do this is by reducing their excessive use, people need to start using renewable sources of energy and sustainable use of the minerals for getting maximal result without harming the environment.
Local/national perspective
Protected areas are an essential part of conservation programs, particularly for sensitive habitats. Despite of, these area’s alone aren’t sufficient to ensure the full range of biodiversity’s conservation.
For instance, tradable development rights, are marketable rights which are awarded to landowners in areas that are reserved for conservation. These marketable rights can be sold to the owners of land in development areas who need to hold a certain number of these rights before they’re granted permission to develop.
Some options to save the biodiversity
Transferring rights to own and manage ecosystem services to private individuals gives them an interest in the conservation of those services. A second option could be, direct payments to local landowners to maintain forests on their land. This can contribute to biodiversity conservation, even if this instrument needs continuous financial commitments and sometimes even leads to conflicts.
Also, you can remove or redirect subsidies that cause more harm than good to help mitigate biodiversity loss. For instance, agricultural subsidies in industrial countries reduce world prices for many commodities, encouraging developing countries to adopt unsustainable agricultural practices.
Biodiversity doesn’t only do something in nature, also in cities it’s good to have a great variety of plants. In cities there occur a lot of insects, birds and other animals. Every plant attracts animals and every plant attracts different species. One plant is more attractive to butterflies when the other is a better place to hide and build nests for birds. To maintain all these different species, variations is essential, so everyone gets what it needs.

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