According to the United Nations, biological diversity is declining dramatically. This is due to the displacement of nature by human activities. As a result, much has disappeared forever and the speed of this process is increasing.
What is biodiversity and species diversity?
Species diversity is a partial aspect of the overall biodiversity. It is supplemented by the genetic diversity of two species and in the gene pool of a species, and the different ecosystems and landscapes of different regions are also included in the description of biodiversity. Special attention is paid to the different functions that living organisms perform for each other.
Depending on whether some species dominate and others occur only rarely in the region concerned, or whether all species living there are about equally common, species diversity is estimated to be smaller or larger. This means that it is calculated on the basis of different scientific information. The calculations scientifically define the abundance of life forms of different ecosystems and thus their biological balance, while at the same time taking into account their economic and health significance for humans.
The development of biodiversity
Today’s biological diversity has developed gradually over the course of the Earth’s history. It has led to species-rich and highly complex ecosystems on land and in the oceans. When species become extinct, there are shifts or even failures of functions within the respective system. In many cases it is not possible to predict for a given species whether its disappearance would result in major or minor changes. The most comprehensive possible protection of the entire biodiversity is therefore an imperative in the sense of a precautionary measure for an intact and liveable environment. At the same time, it is also an obligation towards our own future generations.
The greatest biodiversity is found in the rainforests. Scientists estimate that the rainforests alone provide a habitat for a large part of all animal and plant species on earth. Several hundred species of trees, well over a thousand plant species and over a thousand species of insects live on just one hectare.
Factors for the decline of biodiversity
Diffrent factors appear to be responsible for the decline in biodiversity. Environmental pollution and climate change have a decisive influence. The intensive use of soils and oceans has led to a long-term change in the earth by mankind. Another negative factor for biodiversity is the displacement of native species by invasive species.
Researchers are establishing a clear link between human activities and the reduction of biodiversity. The extent of this can be felt by humans themselves. The consequences of this process are also felt by the people themselves. This is particularly true for the poor and poorest parts of the world population. The over-exploitation of natural resources has serious consequences for people in these parts of the world.
Why is this important for people?
For food alone, humans have used about 7,000 plant species worldwide; about 50,000 species had and still have a function as medicinal or food. For us humans, animals and plants fulfil many functions that go far beyond nutrition.
The repertoire of household items as well as food, luxury foods and medicines was also composed of various species of the respective regional biodiversity.
In recent times, many species of the animal, plant and micro-organism kingdoms have served as models for new techniques and constructions. Examples are bionics, in which attempts are made to copy nature’s functions for technical solutions, or the development of novel medicines. The „Big Burdock“, for example, was the model for hook and loop fasteners, and the scaly skin of certain sharks provided the inspiration for energy-saving flying and swimming skins.
We have a problem!
The decline in biodiversity is extreme and globally significant. The overuse of natural resources by humans is extreme. To counteract this trend, researchers and associations are calling for the recognition of biodiversity as the basis for safeguarding human coexistence. The ever more complex coexistence of people makes a solution increasingly important.