Bio Diversity: A Major Concern of Our Eco System
The variety of life on Earth, its biological diversity is commonly referred to as biodiversity. The number of species of plants, animals, and microorganisms, the enormous diversity of genes in these species, the different ecosystems on the planet, such as deserts, rainforests and coral reefs are all part of a biologically diverse Earth. Appropriate conservation and sustainable development strategies attempt to recognize this as being integral to any approach. Almost all cultures have in some way or form recognized the importance that nature, and its biological diversity has had upon them and the need to maintain it. Yet, power, greed and politics have affected the precarious balance. Biodiversity is the degree of variation of life forms within a given species, ecosystem, biome, or an entire planet. Biodiversity is a measure of the health of ecosystems. Biodiversity is in part a function of climate. In terrestrial habitats, tropical regions are typically rich whereas, Polar Regions support fewer species. Rapid environmental changes typically cause mass extinctions. One estimate is that less than 1% of the species that have existed on Earth are extant. Biodiversity
The term biodiversity is a shortening of biological diversity and according to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) means ''the variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, 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.'' The CBD was created by the United Nations Environment Program and opened for signatures at the Rio Earth Summit in June 1992, by the time signatures were closed in December 1993 168 countries had signed up to its three main aims: the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits from the use of genetic resources. There are now 193 signatories. Although around 1.75 million species have been categorized by science the true number of species on the planet is recognized to be much higher than this, many of them tiny organisms which may never be discovered by science. Estimates as to how many species there range from 3 million to 100 million with the CBD placing the best estimate at around 13 million species. New species are being discovered all the time: the 1992 Global Biodiversity Strategy said: ''Surprisingly, scientists have a better understanding of how many stars there are in the galaxy than how many species there are on Earth.'' One of the problems in properly estimating the number of species with which we co-exist is the historically ad-hoc nature of much scientific research, there is no central collecting or regulating body and no single database of just what has been discovered and documented. Biodiversity extends down to the genetic level, with varieties of plants and breeds of animals qualifying as unique blocks in the intricate structures that make up the planet's biological diversity. It is also taken to refer to the variety of ecosystems or habitats on Earth: from ocean to desert, lake to farmland. "We all have an important part to play in creating this new [world] order. It is essential to acknowledge responsibility for the actions which produce environmental degradation ... since they all have consequences which we must and can avoid, to the best of our ability. …we must keep in mind the new general global framework in which the negotiations are taking place, be clear that the conservation and rational use of biodiversity is the responsibility of all and that solidarity among peoples inevitably benefits everyone." – Ambassador Vincent Sanchez, Chairman of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for a Convention Biological Diversity. Biodiversity boosts ecosystem productivity where each species, no matter how small, all have an...
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