Fall in Love with Biodiversity

Fall in Love with Biodiversity

We must protect this planet like we do our own eyes, and cherish nature the way we cherish our life


Biodiversity is the most complex and important feature of our planet. Without biodiversity, life would not sustain. According to WWF’s Living Planet report published in 2020, biodiversity is declining globally at rates unprecedented in millions of years. For example, the report highlights that the population size of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles has seen an average drop of 68% since 1970.
The United Nations has proclaimed May 22 as the International Day for Biological Diversity, or World Biodiversity Day, to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. Biodiversity refers to the total variety of life on earth, or the total variety of life in a given area. This year, the theme for world biodiversity day is “Building a shared future for all life.” From ecosystem-based approaches to climate and/or nature-based solutions to climate, health issues, food and water security and sustainable livelihoods, biodiversity is the foundation upon which we can build back better.
Biodiversity describes the richness and variety of life on earth. It includes all the different species of animals, plants, fungi, and even microorganisms and bacteria. There are tens of thousands of species of plants and animals alone, and more species are being discovered every day. Biodiversity also includes genetic differences among individuals of the same species. Additionally, it includes communities of plants and animals that occur together. India is one of the most biodiverse nations in the world and ranks ninth in terms of plant species richness.
Conserving as many plants and animals as possible is important for the benefit of humans and other species. Animal and plant species help meet our basic needs, for example:
• Animals and plants provide food and materials for clothing, shelter, and fuel.
• Insects pollinate crops and control agricultural pests.
• Plants produce the oxygen we breathe, and are the source for many medicines.
• Microorganisms decompose waste products and recycle nutrients.
Each species is a unique part of our natural world and cannot be replaced if lost.
During the last century, human impacts on our planet have led to an increasing and alarming loss of biodiversity. Loss of suitable habitat is the major cause for decline in the populations of species. Excessive population growth, wetland filling, man-made calamities, and industrial and urban development have resulted in the depletion of biodiversity resources. Another cause is the spread of invasive non-native species. These often reduce or replace native species populations. For example, the chestnut blight fungus from Asia nearly wiped out the American chestnut within 30 years. Now this formerly common and tall tree is much reduced in number and in size.
Pollution has been much reduced over the last 40 years. However, acid rain, pesticides, and fertilisers still alter the chemical balance of lakes and rivers, to the detriment of fish and other aquatic life.
There are many ways that you can help support biodiversity in your region and in your own backyard.
Make way for pollinators:
Pollinators come in all shapes and sizes: butterflies, beetles, birds, bats and even humans. Bees are some of the most important crop pollinators. When we think of bees, we tend to think of fat, fuzzy, black and yellow insects buzzing around the flowers in our garden. They increase production of about 75 percent of our crop species.
Limit pesticides and welcome weeds:
Pesticides possess chemicals that are highly dangerous to pests, fungus and weeds. Often they’re dangerous for animals, plants and people, too. Some substances are harmful to groundwater, soil and pollinating insects. To reduce their use in agricultural practices, some plants usually thought of as weeds may actually provide organic matter and soil stabilisation, habitat and feed for wildlife, nectar for bees, and a wider genetic reservoir.
Economic development must not come at the price of ecology. Efforts must be made for a coordinated development of economy, society and the environment to achieve harmonious coexistence between man and society and between man and nature. Earth is still the only home to mankind, so to care for it and cherish it is the only option for mankind. We should not only think about our own generation but also take responsibility for future ones. We must protect this planet like we do our own eyes, and cherish nature the way we cherish our life.
Ecological Restoration:
Ecological restoration of native species and eliminating invasive species in your area can be done by doing some research on the plants and vegetables that are local to your area, and then grow a variety of these.
Reduce Climate Change:
Utilisation of huge amounts of fossil fuels directly causes climate change that in turn has disastrous consequences for all living things on earth. Reducing the effects of climate change needs moving away from fossil fuels and towards alternative energy sources and natural or sustainable products.

The writer is Senior Assistant Professor, Dept of Zoology, Islamia College of Science and Commerce, Hawal, Srinagar. [email protected]


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