As a result of
evolutionary processes, there is a diversity of organisms and
a diversity of roles in ecosystems. Biodiversity
refers to the differences in living things in an
ecosystem. Increased biodiversity
increases the stability of the ecosystem as it provides for
more genetic variation among species. A great diversity of species increases the
chance that at least some living things will survive in the
face of large changes in the environment.
The Need for
Human Influences on
When humans alter ecosystems either by removing
specific organisms, serious consequences may result.
Human beings are part of the Earth’s ecosystems. Human
activities can, deliberately or accidentally, change the
equilibrium in ecosystems. Humans are destroying other
species as a
result of population growth, consumption, and technology.
Human destruction of habitats through direct harvesting,
pollution, atmospheric changes, and other factors is
especially threatening current global biodiversity.
An example of a human activity which has decreased
biodiversity is the use of monoculture in modern
agricultural practices. Monoculture
involves planting one variety of a species over a huge
area. This leaves this area more vulnerable to
predation or disease and the loss of many or all species.
Uses of Biodiversity
In addition to the aesthetic beauty added to the world
by many different organisms, biodiversity
also ensures the availability of a rich variety of genetic
material that may lead to future agricultural or medical
discoveries with significant value to humankind. As diversity
is lost, potential sources of these materials may be lost with