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Biodiversity is short for Biological Diversity, it is the variety of species, their genetic make-up, and the natural communities in which they live. It is the variation amongst plants and animals on Earth.
Biodiversity is being threatened by a variety of different forces, the five major causes of biodiversity loss are:
It has been estimated that between 5-10 species may disappear every DAY. (Some even say that this number is an understatement). This would add up to several thousand species every year.
A major reason for the recent loss and extinction of the animals that used to roam the world is due to human activities. More specifically, it is in a large part due to the destruction of plant and animal habitats. The rise of extinctions is being driven and forwarded by the human consumption of organic resources, especially those related to tropical forest destruction. Moreover, if the ecosystem decreases in stability as its species are lost, it will be destined to collapse. Certainly, the factors that are leading to this are overpopulation, deforestation, pollution which includes water, air, and soil contamination, and global warming.
Invasive species are species that are not indigenous or do not originally belong to a certain environment. Some examples of invasive species are: cape ricegrass, pine false webworm, mulberry rust, and other exotic species. These types of species harm ecosystems through predation, parasitism, hybridization, or competition. Also, since they are not native, they often do not have any predators of their own in their new home. This allows them to take over and multiply very easily, reducing biodiversity.
Pollution effects not only the air, but also the aquatic regions and many species. Pollution of the air can be caused by burning fossil fuel and releasing various gases and contaminants into the air. Aquatic regions are being polluted by dumping trash and chemical into the oceans. Using fertilizers on the soil and accidental oil spills also impact the oceans and the species that inhabit the aquatic environment. Most of the causes of pollution are mainly based on human actions such as farming, mining, and other various causes. Pollution is harmful to human health and also to many species.
It is clear that when a place is overpopulated by humans there is an extra need for resources such as lumber, clothing, housing, food, and much more. As a result, more land is required, more trees are needed. In other words, a larger amount of natural products are need to provide for a largely dense group but of course it is always at the expense of our habitats and biodiversity.
This is considered the second biggest direct threat to species after habitat destruction, and again it is caused by the activities of humans. One of the leading causes is the trade of wildlife which is the sale or exchange of hundreds of millions wild animal and plant resources either dead or alive. Statistics shows that it though some are legal is very damaging and that populations of species on earth declined by an average of 40% between 1970-2000. As a result, the survival of species hangs in the balance causing extinctions or severely threatened species.
Without biodiversity, it is clear that life would be extremely difficult. In fact, it provides us with medicines, foods, and other resources. In addition, it benefits society in air quality, climate, water purification, disease control, biological pest control, pollination and prevention of erosion. Also, it plays a role in regulating the chemistry of our atmosphere.
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