Why is biodiversity important?

Why is biodiversity important?

It is extremely important to maintain biodiversity, on all of the levels discussed above: genetic, species, ecosystem, and cultural biodiversity are all critical to the health of the planet that we all inhabit.  We rely on biodiversity to keep our air and water clean, to regulate our climate, and provide us with sources of food, shelter, clothing, and medicine.  Every living thing is a component in the web of life, and entire ecosystems can be  altered by the loss of just one species.

Maintaining genetic biodiversity within a group of of the same species is very important because it allows populations to adapt when some change occurs in their environment.  This ability to adapt is called resilience.  If populations become too small, genetic diversity is lost and the species has very little resilience. When this happens, the population becomes vulnerable to outbreaks of disease or pest infestations, like the example of the Irish potato famine.  Agrobiodiversity is important too, because it provides us with a wide variety of fruits and vegetables that contain all of the nutrients we need to be healthy.    These crops in turn rely on a great species diversity of insect pollinators, beneficial insects, and soil microorganisms.

Ecosystem biodiversity is important because it provides habitats and food sources for plants and animals that live in them, and it is also important for people and other life forms who live outside of them.  For eample, wetlands help filter ground water and control flooding, rainforests purify the air by removing carbon dioixde and supplying the earth with oxygen, and vegetated surfaces of all types help conserve the soil by holding it in place and protecting it from erosion.

Maintaining cultural biodiversity is important not only in helping people adopt to changing conditions, but is important in conserving the genetic and species biodiversity of life forms that people have coevolved with.

Biodiversity conservation is particularly important in mesoamerican biodiversity “hotspots” like Chiapas, where there is both a high diverisity of plants and animals, and also a high diversity of indigenous peoples that have over the last ten thousand years evolved intimately side by side with this biodiversity and built up a tremendous wealth of knowledge based on it.  In mesoamerica today, the human population is increasing rapidly and fast-paced industrial development is degrading the environment, while at the same time cultural traditions that once conserved biodiversity are being lost.  We are just now beginning to understand the roles that different species play in the functioning of the earth. All species, including those yet undiscovered or currently perceived as “worthless,” surely provide critical connections with other life forms, and may hold the potential to better the lives of humans.  Each day new species are discovered that might provide life-saving medicines, food, or important ecosystem services

Diversidad geneticaDiversidad especieDiversidad de ecosistemaDiversidad cultural | ¿Donde se encuentra la biodiversidad?¿Como estan interconectado la diversidad biologico y la cultura?¿Porque esta importante la diversidad biologica?¿Que cosas pone la diversidad biologica en peligro?¿Que podemos hacer para preservar la diversidad biologica?

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