A Decrease in Biodiversity: Is This Something We Should be Worried About?
Updated: Mar 2
Global Environment Facility
Currently, we have identified over 1.5 million organisms, but scientists believe that there may be as many as 2 billion species. Humans account for just 0.01 percent of the world's biodiversity.
Biodiversity is the variety of life present on Earth. It involves variation in genes and bacteria and in plants and animals, going beyond the creatures that are seen.
Unfortunately, several species are declining in number and becoming endangered because of climate change and habitat loss. The depletion of biodiversity affects nature almost as much as climate change, deforestation, and other sources of environmental stress.
The loss of biodiversity is characterized as the decrease in the number of species and biological populations in a region, genetic heterogeneity, and variety. The correlation of biodiversity loss with organisms alone undermines the effect and threat it has on the long-term health of an ecosystem.
Impact on Ecosystems
Biodiversity preserves the health of an ecosystem–a loss of biodiversity decreases its productivity and resource efficiency.
A rapid decline in a species' population upsets social systems and makes it difficult to attract partners. With only a small pool of members in a species, they are pressured to inbreed, which leads to a decline in genetic diversity.
Lack of genetic variation can lead to many health problems; they are more susceptible to infections and are often endangered by their long-term survival. The lack of different genes raises the chances of extinction of species with a limited population.
The niche of that species also declines along with the population. A niche is the role played by a species in its ecosystem. For example, if a lion plays the role of a predator in the Sahara, it is difficult for another species to occupy the position if its populations decrease, and because of the absence of predators, the number of 'prey' rise.
This destroys the ecosystem's entire foundation, such as the food chain, and contributes to the detrimental effects of the loss of biodiversity.
With the acronym HIPCO, we can easily define the causes of biodiversity loss.