The Importance of Biodiversity

What makes one eco-system strong and another weak in the face of change?

—> BIODIVERSITY

Biodiversity has 3 features: Ecosystem diversity, Species diversity, Genetic diversity

The more intertwining between these features, the denser and more resilient it becomes

For example: The Amazon Rain Forest (one of the most biodiverse places on Earth)

  • Complex ecosystem
  1. Tangled Liana Vines crawls up from the floor to the canopy, intertwining with treetops and growing thick wooden stems —> support trees 
  2. Helped with the vines, trees provide seeds, fruits, and leaves to herbivores such as tapir and agouti
  3. They then disperse the seeds throughout the forest so they can grow
  4. Leftovers are consumed by insects —> decompose and recycle nutrients —> creating rich soil
  • Huge mix of species

interconnected species

Every link provides stability to the next

Strengthens biodiversity’s weave

  • Genetic variety within the species —> allows them to cope with changes

Species that lack diversity due to isolation / low population numbers are more vulnerable to fluctuations (eg. climate change, diseases, habitat fragmentation……) If a species disappears, the whole system will not fall apart due to the rich biodiversity. The forest can stay resilient and recover from changes.

But that’s not true in every case……

In some environment, taking away an important component can undermine the entire system

eg. Coral reefs

  • Many organisms in the sea are dependent on corals
  • Provides key microhabitat, shelter, breeding ground
  • Forms interdependent relationships with fungi and bacteria
  • Many depend on survival
  • when destructive fishing, pollution and ocean acidification kills corals —> leaves it’s dependents at a lost too —> threatens the entire ecosystem in the ocean

Humans are also a part of this biodiversity When important species in the ecosystem are disrupted, our well being are also threatened