Thursday, 29 October 2015


The variability among living organisms from all sources, including marine,terrestrial, and other aquatic ecosystems is called biodiversity.This includes diversity within species , between species, and of ecosystems.This  biodiversity represents the variety of life,whether in terms of different species of birds and mammals, and the variability across ecosystems.
  • We currently use nearly 40,000 species of plants,animals ,fungi, and microbes
  • There are about 250,000 species of plants known to science.
  • Without biodiversity, humanity would cease to exist.The economic value of  global biodiversity is infinite.
  • Valuing a loss of  biodiversity is  more difficult.The key economic questions concern  the marginal value of  biodiversity itself and the benefits of preserving a particular part of a habitat
  • The benefits of preserving biodiversity derive from three sources.Direct values due to medicine and agriculture is the first one.
  • Organisms  have a vast range of uses.For example,actinobacteria is used to produce a common form of antibiotics.
  • We obtain the edible mushroom from fungi.
  • Silkworms  are useful insects which have even commercial importance.
  • The lady birds predate upon aphids.
  • Animals like sheep and buffalo provide meat,milk,transportation,leather,and fertilizer.
  • Higher plants provide timber,crop plants,insecticides,fodder and are also source of both traditional as well as modern medicines.Many common drugs are sourced from plants-
Aspirin is taken from willow bark and taxol used in the treatment of cancer is derived from the Pacific yew.Biotechnology has made it possible to take traits such as disease resistance from close relatives to crop plants,and incorporate these traits into commercial varieties.

  • By destroying a habitat, we may inadvertently destroy a close relative to a crop species that contains valuable genetic material Zea diploperennis is a relative of commercial maize( Zea mays.)It  was unknown untill recently.It is on the verge of extinction.Its last remaining habitat is in the Sierra de Monantlan in Mexico.The plant has resistance to many diseases that affect the commercial crop.It can provide genetic material for new disease resistant crop varieties.
  • Loss of crop genetic diversity over the last 50 years has been so rapid that there has been a call to establish a Red List of endangered crop varieties, based on the IUCN Red List For  endangered  species.
  • Manipulating genetic codes of organisms biologically active chemicals can be exploited as the blue print for drugs that are then produced synthetically.
  • In Costa Rica the ecosystem services related to hydrological regulation and drinking water is estimated at 2.5 million US dollar a year.

Ecosystems  provide us with numerous direct and indirect services, including waste assimilation,water purification,and nutrient cycling.We are unable to assess the value of particular species in a complex ecosystem
  • Ecoystem  cycles relate to energy input,circulation of the elements essential to life - carbon, nitrogen, hdrogen,, and so on (biogeochemical cycles) - and water circulation
  • An estimated value of protecting an individual plant species on the basis of medicinal value of  7109 dollars.It is calculated based on the drug discovery made in US.
  • Energy in terrestrial and most marine ecosystems must be constantly renewed from the sun.
  • Plants capture the sun's energy through photosynthesis to produce tissue.Plants are called autotrophs.They live on inorganic elements,such as,carbon dioxide and water.
  • 17 lakh species have been described by science.(250,000 plants,44,000 vertebrates, and 751,000 insects).Out of this 4000 are mammals.
  • Current estimates are between 5 million and 15 million species. Of this large number of species, about 85-95% have not been discovered
  • In a survey of ecosystem services conducted in 58,000 hectare national park area in Cocta Rica the hydrological regulation and drinking water were estimated at 2.5 million US dollar per year.
  • Plants capture the sun's energy through photosynthesis to produce tissues.Plants are called autotrophs. They live on inorganic elements , such as carbon dioxide and water.All animals,insects and micro-organisms are directly or indirectly fed by plants,and are called consumers or heterotrophs.
  • Trees in a rainforest act like a sponge,and moderate the local water cycle by retaining water in the soil and evaporating rainfall.
  • Biodiversity loss involves more than the loss of a few high profile species such as elephants and black rhinoceros;it concerns any regional loss of species or any reduction in the geographical range of species that reduces their genetic diversity.
  • Coral reefs provide protection to to coastal areas and protect delicate coastal wetlands and mangrove swamps from storms.Loss of significant part of the coral reefs by pollution ,or a sea level rise due to climate change would result in a significant loss of ecosystem services, where as the local loss of a species of fish would not directly.
  • Mangrove trees are critical to the functioning of coastal swamps,as they stabilize sediments and filter the water.
  • The loss of a species of mangrove,the primary producer in that ecosystem,would have a devastating effect on the local marine environment, since there are no close  substitute for these species in its role as a  primary producer capable of surviving in salt water and stabilizing the sediment  in coastal swamps.
  • Benefits of functioning ecosystems to mankind is enormous.Natural resources,flood mitigation,pollination for agriculture,carbon sequestration, and reducing soil erosion are provided by the ecosystems
  • Trees in a rain forest.act like a sponge, and moderate the local water cycle by retaining water in the soil and evaporating rainfall.In this way, they reduce the  frequency and intensity of floods.
  • Other benefits include goods such as fish or fuel wood,and services such as recreational opportunities,storm reduction,water purification,and cultural benefits,all of which have economic value.
  • Biodiversity can play a key role in the functioning of ecosystems,and thus in the quantity of services that they deliver.
  • Worldwide 60% of the ecosystem services have become degraded.Major portion of this has happened in the last 50 years.
The Human Rights Act protects us from discrimination on the basis of race, religion or sexual orientation; it gives our patients in hospitals and care homes the right to be treated with compassion; and it protects us from the threat of an all-powerful state – here and anywhere in THE WORLD.(adapted from David Weaver's words)
We humans in Syria,Afghanistan,Somalia,Sudan and the like are  we respecting the act or the humans and their rights?Let the global humans respect ourselves and the brothers all over the world and keep peace.
In 1973, the Endangered Species Act(ESA)acknowledged that the ecological,educational,historical,recreational and scientific value of species diversity was inadequately accounted for in the process of economic growth and development.The act provides a means whereby the ecosystems upon which endangered and threatened species depend may be conserved.

  • Earth is currently undergoing a phase of mass species extinction due to habitat loss and disruption
  • We are appropriating rich and diverse habitats for agricultural production and other disruptive forms of land use,humankind determines which species survive,which thrive, and which are pushed to extinction.

  • Rain forests are responsible for 28% of the Earth's oxygen supply
  • 70% of the oxygen in the atmosphere is produced by marine plants..
Species extinction is estimated to range from 5 to 30 percent per decade.
With it's thick forest cover and immense biodiversity,Bhutan is called the oxygen tank or the carbon sink of the world.
There is a crocodile bank in Chennai.It was established in the early 1970s by Romulus Whitaker.Because the  crocodile was facing extinction.Later it became an International Crocodile Bank.gathering species,which were endangered in other countries as well.
The Bank now has crocodile from all over the world and has become a gene pool for all species . Over 50,000 visitors come here every year.Whitaker's single but enormous contribution biodiversity conservation is so dedicated and unique.

  • Seed banks,zoos,and botanical gardens are important for biodiversity conservation,but they are beset with many difficulties.
  • There are a range of international conventions and agreements to promote biodiversity conservation , the most important being the CBD(Convention on Biological Diversity).


Let us take a pledge that we will not contaminate air,water,soil,and food articles this year

  • Biotechnology  promises immense benefits for agriculture,food production, and health,but brings with it many problems too.