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Bio Diversity: The Way of Life

By Watimenla
The immense variety on earth is what makes our planet not only habitable but beautiful. We depend on the natural richness of our planet food, energy, wood, raw materials, clean air, and clean water that make life possible and which drive our economy. But we also look to our natural environment for less tangible things such as aesthetic pleasure, artistic inspiration and recreation.

Biological diversity is one of the key terms in conservation, encompassing the richness of life and the diverse patterns it forms. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) defines biological diversity as “the variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystem and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species and ecosystem”.

Biodiversity matters for Ethical, Emotional, Environmental and Economic reasons. Ecosystems have intrinsic value. They provide emotional and aesthetic experiences. They offer outstanding opportunities for recreation. They clean our water, purify our air and maintain our soils. They regulate the climate, recycle nutrients and provide us food. They provide raw materials and resources for medicine and other purposes. They form the foundation on which we build our societies. Human well-being is dependent upon 'ecosystem services' provided by nature for free, such as water and air purification, fisheries, timber and nutrient cycling. These are predominantly public goods with no markets and no prices, so their loss often is not detected by our current economic incentives system and can thus continue unabated. A variety of pressures resulting from population growth, changing diets, urbanization climate change and many other factors is causing biodiversity to decline and eco system are continuously being degraded. The economically poor are most at risk from the continuing loss of biodiversity, as they are the ones that are most reliant on the ecosystem services that are being degraded.

There is now broad scientific and political consensus that we have entered a period of unavoidable and unprecedented climate change. Its impacts on biodiversity are already measurable. Climate change has the potential, over a period of few decades, to undermine our efforts for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. Substantial cuts in global greenhouse gas emission are required to mitigate the longer-term threat to biodiversity. Protection of biodiversity can help limit atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations because forests, peat lands and other habitats store carbon. Policies will also be needed to help biodiversity adapt to changing temperature and water regimes. Care must also be taken to prevent, minimize and offset any potential damages to biodiversity arising from climate change adaptation and mitigation measures.

Ecological Connectivity

Climate change will significantly affect economies and societies through its impacts on ecosystem. This is because the impacts of climate change on man are largely mediated by natural system. Healthy ecosystems will be more resilient to climate change and so more able to maintain the supply of ecosystem services on which our prosperity and wellbeing depend. They lie at the centre of any adaptation policy. Consequently conventional pressures that cause the fragmentation, degradation, over-exploitation and pollution of ecosystems must be reduced (ecosystem climate-proofing).

Why we need biodiversity

Doctor nature- with the loss of plant and animal diversity, we are losing the chance to discover new medicines that could end the suffering of millions of people and save national economies billions of dollars each year.

A fortune we cannot afford to lose: the economics of coral reef degradation- coral reefs support the richest marine biodiversity in the world. But it is not only fellow species that depend on them; coral reefs also provide food, storm protection, jobs, recreation and other sources of income for more than 500 million people worldwide.

Feeding the world- without biodiversity, we would have no food. Since agriculture began some 12,000 years ago, approximately 7,000 plant species and several thousand animal species have been used for human consumption.

A key weapon in the fight against climate change- maintaining healthy biodiversity can play a significant role in climate change mitigation and the world's protected areas- national parks, marine reserves, wilderness areas and so on- are essential in safeguarding this role.

Paradise regained? - Working with nature, we can protect ourselves from and adapt to the impacts of climate change.

The loss of a single species results not only in its extinction and loss of genotype but also severely affects the existence of its linked species and could ultimately lead to the loss of entire eco-systems. Let us be aware of our natural heritage and conserve it for future generations.

Writer is News Assistant in DIPR, Nagaland