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What is Biodiversity?

Environment | 6-12 yrs | Animation, Video

Biodiversity : Definition

    There are thousands upon thousands of plant and animal species on earth. They are all continuously evolving and adapting to the environment around them. Biodiversity is the variety of animals and plants found on this planet including the geographic locations they are found in. This concept is what makes our planet different from others in our solar system and being able experience all these variations first hand is what makes the earth so marvelous.
    Think of the earth as a perfectly tuned machine with sprockets, springs, and oil (plants, animals and climates) all working to maintain the balance of nature. The diversity of species is not evenly distributed throughout the planet because life depends on factors such as temperature, altitude, precipitation, soil, the presence of other species and geography, since tropical regions support more life than polar regions.

Why is Biodiversity important?

    Biodiversity is important to sustaining life on earth because it prevents any one species from throwing the balance of nature out of order. For example, snakes are not a welcome presence in our lives. We fear them and kill them because of it. One of the many things that snakes feed on is rats and if we were to kill of all the snakes, we would end up having a terrible rat problem. Therefore humans should to everything in their power to conserve the natural variation of snakes to ensure it doesn’t get an unnatural rat problem.
    Another reason for its importance is human health. Around 80% of all medicine is derived from natural sources. In the well-oiled machine of nature if one of the sprockets doesn’t work properly it will affect the function of the machine. So killing snakes could mean that you would not be able to produce a cure for some diseases because the tree or plant from which we get the medicine has gone extinct.

How are humans affecting Biodiversity?

1. Habitat destruction

    Civilisation’s never-ending need for energy and raw materials leads to the destruction of natural habitats in order to extract minerals or clear land for farming. This displaces a lot of animal species and destroys whatever cannot run away from this invasion.

2. Overkill

Excessive hunting of any one species can throw the food chain way off course.

3. Introduced species

    The biodiversity of a place developped together with the plans and animals of the region. If you introduce an animal that did not evolve along with the natural surroundings, it could have terrible effects on the other species in the area.

4. Overpopulation

    Humans are reproducing at a rapid rate that is becoming difficult for the environment to support. Since our presence is supported by nature, the environment is finding it hard to keep up with the rate at which the human population is growing.
    At some point of time your parents have definitely mentioned that too much of any one thing is bad for you. Biodiversity means maintaining the balance of nature so that no one thing can become too powerful and therefore bad for everyone else. Unfortunately many humans think it is their right to exploit nature without any restriction. Just like nature keeps itself in check, we must do all we can to make sure that we do not harm the balance of nature.

Project:

    What kind of biodiversity can you record outside your house. Take picture of leaves and flowers outside and try and see if you can identify them online.

 For more environment related articles and videos, visit: Environment for Kids category.

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