Biodiversity: What it is and Why it is Important to Preserve it
In recent years you have heard more and more about biodiversity. Whether for issues related to climate change or pollution, this topic is at the center of numerous discussions and studies. Why? Biodiversity is essential for life on Earth. Without it, the fundamental resources for our survival would be lacking. It is for this reason that we decided to write an article on what biodiversity is and, above all, its importance.
What is Biodiversity?
In ecology, the term biodiversity refers to the great variety of living organisms and microorganisms present on our planet. It is the set of animal species and plants that inhabit their respective ecosystems and which, living in relationship with each other, give life to an essential balance for living on Earth.
It is thanks to biodiversity that we have access to basic resources to survive, such as food, clean water, shelter and much more.
The term was coined in 1988 by the American entomologist Edward O. Wilson, though it was only during the UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 that the definition was established. In fact, precisely on that occasion, it was specified that biodiversity “means the variability of living organisms of all origins, including inter alia terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems, and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, and between species of ecosystems”.
The definition of biodiversity includes three levels of diversity: genetic, ecosystem and species:
- genetic diversity identifies the genetic heritage of the Earth's living organisms and is based on the differences of genes within a species;
- ecosystem diversity consists of the natural habitats in which various living beings live and evolve;
- species diversity represents the quantity or frequency of various species in a given environment.
According to data reported by the WWF, science has so far described about 1.7 million species against the more than 12 million estimated species, a number destined to continue growing with each new discovery and, at the same time, strongly threatened by the increasingly frequent extinctions.
Importance of Biodiversity
Biodiversity and biological resources are essential elements for the development and preservation of habitats, ecosystems and territories. Protecting and preserving them serves to guarantee conditions necessary for the development of new life and to reduce the risk of natural disasters and other dramatic events that can threaten the survival of various species.
They also provide us with ecosystem services, that is, everything we need to live and progress; useful resources for our nutritional needs and for the development of our economy and agriculture. Services, vital to our well-being and health, include water resources, food, wood and other fuels, building materials, climate and virus spread mechanisms and natural beauty. They enable us to live in a functional and welcoming environment.
This is why biodiversity is so important. The loss of biological diversity would cause countless damage to our species and our planet. Without biodiversity, our life and that of all other living beings would be at risk.
As we have seen, biodiversity identifies the richness of every type of life on our planet and its reference unit is constituted by the species, that is, a set of organisms capable of exchanging genetic material. Species live in relationship with each other and in constant balance to ensure optimal living conditions on Earth. It represents a fragile balance that is increasingly threatened by the presence and invasion of human activities.
To survive, human beings use and consume an increasing number of natural resources. The overexploitation of the oceans, the destruction of forests and the pollution of the environment and water are endangering the survival of all species. Every year the Earth's resources run out earlier and struggle to be regenerated in time.
At KAMPOS, we are committed to reduce waste and protect our planet. We have a donation programme with One Ocean Foundation, and we donate part of our proceeds to preserve marine life.