Biodiversity Loss: The Growing Threat to Human Existence

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The year 2010 was declared the International Year of Biodiversity by the UN. However, before the declaration, varied media outlets and sources of information had disclosed that most individuals are not aware of what biodiversity entails (Roe, 2019). A recent report by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) has indicated that more than one million species are facing extinction. Therefore, the significance of biodiversity loss has increased, but there is still confusion about what it entails and why it matters. Perhaps this lack of understanding is responsible for the deficiency in engagement in discussions about biodiversity and safeguarding it. The UN Convention on Biological Diversity defined biodiversity as “the variability among living organisms from all sources including, among other things, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems” (Adebayo, 2019).

The loss of biodiversity matters a lot since it greatly impacts the stability and productivity of natural ecosystems.  For instance, tree species diversity supports wood production, crop genetic diversity enhances agricultural yields, and fish species diversity is linked to more stable catches. Moreover, higher diverse systems are more resilient to climate changes. Consequently, the benefits people obtain from nature rely on the supply of particular species and how they are on the species diversity (Roe, 2019). Therefore, diversity is required to secure the flow of benefits to society in the future, especially in the face of shifting environmental conditions. Besides, biodiversity is not only about the richness of nature but also the health of nature. Hence, the loss of biodiversity weakens ecosystems’ ability to function effectively and support a healthy environment. This is crucial in fluctuating climates since the loss of biodiversity diminishes nature’s resilience to change.

References

Adebayo, O. (2019). Loss of biodiversity: The burgeoning threat to human health. Annals Of Ibadan Postgraduate Medicine17(1), 1–3. Retrieved 18 October 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC6871202/.

Roe, D. (2019). Biodiversity loss—more than an environmental emergency. The Lancet Planetary Health3(7), e287-e289. https://doi.org/10.1016/s2542-5196(19)30113-5

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