I HOLD THE FUTURE: PRESERVING THE PHILIPPINES BIODIVERSITY
The sum of all the different species of animals, plants, fungi, and microbial organisms living on Earth and the variety of habitats in which they live is called Biological Diversity or also known as the Biodiversity. Scientists estimate that upwards of 10 million—and some suggest more than 100 million—different species inhabit the Earth. Each species is adapted to its unique niche in the environment, from the peaks of mountains to the depths of deep-sea hydrothermal vents, and from polar ice caps to tropical rain forests.
Perhaps the greatest value of biodiversity is yet unknown. Scientists have discovered and named only 1.75 million species—less than 20 percent of those estimated to exist. And of those identified, only a fraction has been examined for potential medicinal, agricultural, or industrial value. Much of the Earth’s great biodiversity is rapidly disappearing, even before we know what is missing. Most biologists agree that life on Earth is now faced with the most severe extinction episode since the event that drove the dinosaurs to extinction 65 million years ago. Species of plants, animals, fungi, and microscopic organisms such as bacteria are being lost at alarming rates—so many, in fact, that biologists estimate that three species go extinct every hour.
Everywhere there is life; there is more than one distinct type of organism. Even a drop of seawater offers a multitude of different microscopic plants, animals, and less complex life forms. The rich diversity of the living world is connected in two distinct ways. First, different types of organisms live side by side in complex ecological networks of interdependency, each relying on the others that share its habitat for nutrients and energy. Second, all life on Earth is connected in an evolutionary tree of life. At the bottom of the tree is the common ancestor from which all living things descended—a single-celled microbe that lived more...
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