What is Biodiversity and its Importance? | NCERT Biology Class 12
Biodiversity and its Importance – In this article, we will study Biodiversity, Importance of Biodiversity from unit 10, chapter 15 out of Biology Class 12.
Biodiversity or Biological diversity means a variety of living beings on earth. It explains the degree of variation of life. Biological diversity includes a microorganism, plants, animals and also ecosystems such as coral reefs, forests, rainforests, deserts, etc. It denotes the wealth of biological resources available to us, on our planet. Biodiversity developed during 3.5 billion years of evolution.
Biodiversity is unevenly distributed, it varies globally and wan within regions. In an ecosystem, there is an interaction between biotic components (different types of living organisms) and their abiotic components (temperature, air, water, light, humidity, etc.). In addition to this, each species of different organisms, whether big or small interact with each other and individually has an important role to play in an ecosystem. Various plant and animal species depend on each other for one or the other reason and these diverse species guarantees natural sustainability for all life forms. A healthy and soa lid biodiversity can recover itself from a variety of disasters and contribute to a flourishing ecosystem.
Role of Biodiversity
Biodiversity contributes in a variety of ways on the Earth. These are as follows:
Ecological stability: Biodiversity provides ecological stability. Every species performs a particular function within an ecosystem. The organisms capture the energy from the sun (the sole source of energy on the Earth) and store it, they produce organic material, decompose organic material. Biodiversity helps in water and nutrients cycle throughout the ecosystem, it also prevents soil erosion, helps to fix atmospheric gases in order to make them usable by different organisms. The climate is regulated by biodiversity.
A healthy ecosystem provides support of products and services which are essential to humans for survival. These include soil fertility, pollinators of plants, predators, decomposition of wastes, purification of the air and water, stabilization and moderation of the climate, decrease of flooding, drought and other environmental disasters.
It has been proved through the studies that more diverse an ecosystem is, the better it can withstand environmental disasters and it will be more productive.
Economic benefits to humans: For all human beings, biodiversity is an essential resource for their daily life. Biodiversity serves in the production of food, pharmaceutical, medicines, and cosmetic products.
- Food: Food products are crops, livestock, forestry, and fish.
- Medication: Many wild plant species have been used for medicinal purposes since before the beginning of recorded history. For example, quinine (Used to treat malaria). Quinine is obtained from the bark of the Amazonian tree Cinchona tree; morphine from the poppy plant (pain relief), etc. According to the National Cancer Institute of the USA, more than 70 % of the hopeful anti-cancer drugs are obtained from plants in the tropical rainforests. Animals may also play an important role in obtaining medicines.
- Industry: Raw materials for several industries like, fibers for clothing, wood for shelter and warmth come from biodiversity. Other industrial materials are oils, lubricants, perfumes, fragrances, dyes, paper, waxes, rubber, latexes, resins, poisons and cork can be derived from variety ous plant species. Materials we get from the animal are wool, silk, fur, leather, lubricants, waxes. Most important is that animals are used as a mode of transportation.
- Tourism and Recreation: Biodiversity is a source of economic prosperity in many areas. Many national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, and forests provide a natural habitat to wildlife. Animals in their beautiful and natural habitat are a source of attraction and joy for many people. Ecotourism is a growing outdoor recreational activity. Ecotourism is a form of tourism, which involves visiting fragile, primeval, and relatively undisturbed natural areas. It is a form of responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment.
A tourist enjoying in the woods
The most important role of biodiversity is to reflect our relationships with the other living species, realizing every person’s duties, and apply their understanding and education. If humans consider every species have a right to exist, they cannot cause their extinction voluntarily. Besides, biodiversity is also part of many cultures’ spiritual heritage.
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