The human species came into being at the time of
greatest biological diversity in the history of the
earth. Today as human populations expand and alter the
natural environment, they are reducing biological
diversity to its lowest level since the end of the
Mesozoic era, 65 million years ago.
(Edward O. Wilson)
What is Biodiversity?
or biological diversity can be defined as the spectrum
of life forms and the ecological processes that support
them. It occurs at four different levels: genetic
diversity, species diversity, community diversity, and
ecosystem diversity. Genetic diversity refers to a
healthy and diverse gene pool for a specific species so
that one calamity (e.g., disease) does not significantly
harm the species; species diversity refers a multitude
of species filling a particular niche in a geographical
area, so that the loss of one species does not harm the
community; and so on.
According to Edward O. Wilson, the loss of biodiversity
may be the most important environmental issue of all,
because it is the only one that truly is wholly
irreversible. The environmental issue concerning
biodiversity is that the simplification of a natural
community significantly weakens it and lessens the
chance for its sustainability. Once something is gone,
it is gone. Ecological simplification is when
the interrelationships between organisms and their
environments are reduced in number and complexity
(Department of Natural Resources, 1995).
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