Biodiversity: Natural Environment and Old Growth

Topics: Natural environment, Biodiversity, Ecology Pages: 2 (509 words) Published: October 8, 1999

Biodiversity, as defined by E.O. Wilson, "is meant to be all inclusive- it's the genetic based variation of living organisms at all levels, from the variety of genes in populations of single species, through species, on up to the array of natural ecosystems." This includes plants, animals, insects, fungi, bacteria, and all microorganisms. All of these things create what is known as a web. These things interact with each other in some way there for they depend on one another throughout their lifetime. There are many separate ways in which we can study biodiversity. These ways include, genetic, species, community, ecosystem, and taxonomic diversity. Biodiversity can be best number of species in a given area, or scientifically, "species richness."

Today there is a biodiversity crisis facing us. This is caused mainly by the destruction of habitats. This dramatically increases the rate at which species decrease in number and become extinct. It is appalling to know that we are the main cause of this. Over fishing, pollution, over cutting, and an increase in population contribute to this problem. An example of this is the gold mining operation that we saw in the video. While mining, Mercury was dripping into the water. The mercury then got into the fish and into the humans who ate the fish.

Biodiversity promotes a healthy environment. Environments rich in biodiversity are stronger and can with stand things such as drought, disease, and other stresses that environments that lack it cannot. In the video, during the drought, the side of the field with a more diverse environment held stern as the other wilted away.

Areas that are very diverse are very important to humans as well. They provide a wide arrange of pharmaceuticals such as aspirin and penicillin. "Some 40 percent of U.S. prescriptions are for pharmaceuticals derived from wild plants, animals and microorganisms.(E.O. Wilson)" They also provide fruit, oils, beverages,...
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