Biodiversity

June 7, 2009
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Based on current trends, 34,000 plant species and 5,200 animal species face extinction throughout the world. Biodiversity is the term given to the variety of life on Earth and the natural patterns it forms. Unfortunately, there are many causes to a bad biodiversity such as lack of law reinforcement, overuse of resources, human activity, and introduced species. With these causes, there come effects like extinction, habitat loss, and deforestation. Luckily, making laws, greener products, and recycling can lead to a thriving biodiversity.

Biodiversity is very important. However, it is not doing its best today. There are many things that influence biodiversity. For example, the government has a lack of law reinforcement which lets poachers get away with the illegal killing of endangered animals. The government also doesn’t take enough action in helping the environment and the wildlife in it. Much of the wildlife trade is legal even though it is not good for the animals. People might hunt those animals until it’s too late to make their hunting illegal and then they will go extinct or become really endangered. When it comes to economic causes, a bad biodiversity is caused by the overuse of resources. Social causes that lead to a bad biodiversity are normally human activity, deforestation, and introduced species.

There are many causes that lead to a poor biodiversity, and with these causes there come effects. The lack of government reinforcement leads to poachers not getting in trouble for the illegal hunting of endangered animals. Some wildlife reserves don’t have enough money to pay their wardens good wages. So the wardens are easily paid off by poachers who want to get away with hunting on reserves. In Tanzania, a hunter can earn $25 for a single chimpanzee carcass. That $25 is more than most Africans earn in one month. So even though wildlife trade is bad for animals, most of it is legal. Also, the government does not take enough action. Punishments and fines are rarely severe enough to stop poachers from trying to do illegal hunting again. Many people don’t even get caught because of the lack of police/wardens in less developed countries. All these people will continue on with the hunting of wildlife until there is none left to hunt. The government needs to step up in the fight to protect biodiversity.

The economy can also be blamed for a poor biodiversity. Resources are overused and will eventually run out when they don’t have time to be replenished. For example, trees are cut down every day. For some animals, trees are their home. They need the tree for shelter, food, and protection. The society’s demand for more land to build on causes more and more animals to lose their homes. Animals will be in trouble when their food chain is disturbed by this loss and they no longer have that animal to eat. Habitat loss is such a big factor when it comes to biodiversity, that it is the reason that 80% of endangered mammals are at risk. Two million species have been identified throughout the world and scientists believe there could be more than ten million to be discovered. However, if so many habitats keep getting destroyed then there will be species that have gone extinct but never discovered. One of those never discovered species could have been a cure for a disease. But since that cure was never found, people who could have benefited from it never did. Factories are also big contributors to a bad biodiversity. They put toxic gases into the air which hurt the plants and animals. Toads and frogs have absorbent skins that they use to breathe. So when they live in polluted areas, they are essentially killing themselves by breathing. Eagles have also been affected by pollution. Chemicals have gotten into the Eagles’ food and have caused the Eagles to produce fewer young. Luckily, before they became extinct they were helped. There are many ways the economy can affect the quality of biodiversity.

Humans cause a great deal of trouble for biodiversity. When living things are brought from their native area and introduced into new habitats, they are called introduced species. These species are more threatening then they sound. The introduced species that survive and reproduce quickly are called pests and threaten farmland and natural habitats. Some introduced species are purposefully spread and others are spread on accident. More air and sea travel has led to an increasing number of pests. Every three months, a new species is added to the San Francisco Bay area which makes California the worst area in the world for introduced species. In Hawaii, there used to be a bird called Kauai ’o’o. This bird became extinct with the help of an introduced species. Mosquitoes arrived in Hawaii in 1826, most likely on a boat, and caused a great deal of trouble for the birds. The mosquitoes spread avian malaria and avian pox to the Hawaiian birds but the birds were not resistant to these diseases and they quickly died off. Another way humans harm the environment is how they treat the oceans and coasts. Millions of people rely on fish for food but humans are taking out more fish than the marine habitats can produce. Not only do people have less fish to eat, but seals and dolphins have less food as well. Fisheries have wiped out more than 90% of large fish in the oceans. Fishing isn’t the only thing humans are doing wrong; people are hurting coasts in many different ways. For example, lost nylon fishing nets, ropes, and plastic waste kills two million seabirds and one hundred thousand marine mammals every year. Every two minutes a small whale, porpoise, or dolphin is entangled in fishing gear and dies. Every year, 250,000 marine turtles suffer from the same thing. Litter from humans finds its way to the coast and hurts marine life. Pollution and human activity has threatened or destroyed more than half of the world’s reefs. When oil tankers spill, the oil hurts the animals that live in and around that area. One other major problem for biodiversity is hunting. For example, poachers shoot 1,000 adult orangutans every year so that they can take the baby orangutans and sell them as pets. Four out of five captured baby orangutans die from poor handling, cramped boxes, long journeys, and/or lack of care. Other animals that are hunted are taken for their fur, skin, shells, and horns. There are so many things that people do to cause a bad biodiversity. Habits need to be changed to save habitats.

To improve biodiversity before it’s too late, there must be strong solutions. How can the government help biodiversity? They can create laws and treaties that protect animals and the habitats in which they live. For example, a law was put into action that made it illegal to dump certain harmful materials into the ocean. The Wildlife Land Trust’s land is a sanctuary that has no hunting and limited logging. This gives the animals a safe place and also gives people a chance to have timber. There is a treaty in place that bans 160 countries from trading more than 30,000 species of animals and plants. More reserves should also be made to improve biodiversity. Today there are more than 44,000 reserves, national parks, sanctuaries and other safe havens that cover about 5.4 million square miles of land. That is about the size of India and China combined which is also about 10% of the Earth’s land surface. Some reserves are managed by people and others are left to naturally take nature’s course. One group worked extremely hard to gain permanent protection of 10,000 acres of rain forest. Besides laws, the government could have more serious police who work just in animal trade, illegal hunting, and environmental protection. With the governments help, biodiversity can get better and the environment and animals in it can be much safer.
To help biodiversity in economic ways, companies can make “green” products and use greener options to make those products. Green products can be anything like fuel efficient cars to solar powered calculators. With this, there will be less pollution, less energy will be used, the environment won’t be harmed as much, and people will still get the products they need and want. Everyone should want to help biodiversity so that the final result is satisfactory and the environment is preserved.

People can do so many things to help improve biodiversity. To begin, people should learn more. Being better educated about the environment will help them be more aware of the choices they make and how they affect the world. They can also put that learning to good use and teach others. Who knows, they might discover a new way to live. To help control the spread of pests, people can weed any non-native plants from their garden. To help forests, people can buy wood and paper products from plantation timber, not rain forest timber. A small way to protect the environment is controlling house pets. Dogs and cats can get out and hurt other animals like rabbits, mice, birds and many more creatures. Dogs and cats have food provided by their owners and do not have any good reasons to harm wildlife. When it comes to buying fish for food, make sure to buy dolphin-friendly fish products so that no dolphins have been injured in obtaining the food. For transportation, people can walk, carpool, use buses, or ride bikes. It does more than reduce pollution; it gives people exercise, and saves gas money. Nature is a wonderful thing to have. If we start fixing the problems now, hopefully the future generations will be able to enjoy it like we do.

Many plants and even more animals are at risk for extinction. This would be a major loss to our world. Not only is nature’s beauty disappearing, but many other useful things will be loss. The many things that influence biodiversity are followed by effects. Many of those effects are not good, but if we start now and find solutions to solve the problems, our future generations will be able to have the same amazing experiences of nature and all the great wonders that we did.





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