What is Biodiversity? Bios in Ancient Greek means life. Diversus is Latin for various, or many. So, biodiversity means diversity of life. Specifically, it means the numerous different species in existence on our planet. Biodiversity is a positive thing. But, it is under threat.
Threats of Biodiversity
1. Extinction of many species: The biodiversity of earth’s surface has now been faced with mass extinction of many species on a global scale. Rising sea levels, warmer temperatures and melting ice caps destroy animals’ habitats.
Every type of organism such as microorganisms, fungi, plants, and animals all are threatened with dire consequences.
Many of the animal’s species have already been lost. Moreover nearly 650 mammals, 210 reptiles and 1100 birds are threatened with extinction.
2. Massive destruction of forest land: humans cutting down precious forests for agriculture, fuel or to build houses. The eco-system has been highly disturbed as a result of massive destruction of forests. Many forests have been destroyed:
- to extract wood and other precious herbs,
- for expansion of agricultural land,
- for expansion of habitable area,
- for industrialization.
3. Industrialization: In many cases the production (usually industrial) and release of wastes acting as pollutants have completely destroyed the habitat of many species. Excessive release of greenhouse gases and the resultant global warming and climate are real threats to biodiversity.
4. Shrinking habitat: The habitat areas in most cases have got shrunk due to many reasons and stand as isolated patches or islands. The smaller the area of the habitat, the lower would be the number of species.
5. Urbanization: humans building over animals’ habitats.
6. Shortages of water: not enough water for certain species to survive.
7. Pollution: Poisonous gases in the air causing respiratory problems in many species. Plastics, oil and other water contaminants making it difficult for fish and sea birds to thrive in our rivers, lakes and oceans.
Conclusion: How can we safeguard biodiversity for future generations? It has become imperative to take an all out coordinated effort to protect the habitat, particularly in the tropical forest.