Essentials of Biodiversity

Introduction

The study of biodiversity stems from the subjects of ecology and evolution, from where it derives its two main objectives. The first objective is to understand how the natural systems operate and are ordered (Bernhardt 2). The second objective is to understand how the systems were derived.

The study of biodiversity entails various important practical applications primarily focused on conservation. The knowledge of biodiversity enables us to determine the species that are threaten by extinction under given circumstances and the best way forward to avoid their extinction. At the same time, the knowledge and a more informed understanding of the whole concept of biodiversity gives us the power to intervene in the event that we are faced by the loss of biodiversity, and to restore the lost diversity.

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Does the current trend in biodiversity help in its conservation?

Wilson (2) purports that a majority of the species that ever roamed the surface of the earth have been faced with extinction at an average rate 1-2 species over the past 200 million years. In addition, incidences of mass extinction have occurred in which many taxa (a wide range of life forms) have disappeared within the same geological era.

According to the July 8th 2010 edition of the UN news center, Edward Norton assumed his role as United Nation Goodwill Ambassador for Biodiversity. The new goodwill ambassador is credited for his active involvement in mobilizing support for conservation endeavors in his position as a board affiliate of the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust and in partaking in the official launching of the Crowdrise networking policy to improve engagement in charitable activity.

In his new position as the United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for Diversity, Edward Norton is charged with the responsibility of collaborating with the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in a bid to highlight on the disaster of biodiversity and mobilize world leaders to take appropriate measures to preserve the ecosystem.

According to the executive secretary of the CBD, Ahmed Djoghhlaf, in the same New York City press conference, the rate of disappearance of certain species surpasses the natural rate a 1000 times.

Do humans contribute greatly to loss of biodiversity?

Humans play a pivotal role in as far as the issue of disrupting biodiversity is concerned. Human practices which adversely affect biodiversity include unregulated hunting, road construction, over fishing, gathering, deforestation, agricultural progression coastal encroachment, and urban development, among a host of other practices.

These practices are an attribute of six fundamental human factors including; (a) high rate of population growth, (b) over engagement in trade for agricultural, fisheries and forest commodities, (c) economic scheme and policies which disregards the importance of ecosystem (d) bias in ownership and utility of the ecosystem (e) insufficient knowledge, and improper utility of knowledge, (f) legislature that allows unsustainable utilization (Lamb and Coffman 8).

Ways of Biodiversity and disaster management

According to the reports by the secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) (cited in Srinivas #. 1), a total of 478,100 people have been killed. In addition, more than 2.5 million people have been affected by the changing biodiversity with an estimated 690 billion US dollars economic loss being incurred over the past 10 years.

Furthermore, the losses suffered from some of the disasters could have been avoided, or reduced significantly if at all the necessary measures had been put in place in the first place.

For this reason, the occurrences of such disasters and the ensuing losses both in the form of property and human or animal life, is largely regarded as a result of human carelessness. For instance, logging has been implicated for landslides and flooding events. This has recently augmented the importance of decisive environmental management in curbing disaster incidence (2)

How marine reserve conserves biodiversity

The key factor in conservation of marine live is human activities, particularly fishing. Fishing has lowered the stock of fish in the Ocean, Sea, lakes and rivers by 50% (The Canadian Biodiversity n.d.). Naturally, every fish caught by man is normally replaced. At this juncture, to get a better understanding of this concept, the research paper shall endeavor to explore the three common habitat of marine life.

To start with, the research paper intends to examine the open sea habitat of marine life. The open sea extends from near the shore outwards to the center covering both the rich and the poor waters, from the top to the deepest trough. The habitats of this region include pelagic fish which feed on the planktons growing near the surface. These fish are constantly being relocated in and out of their reserves by the water currents.

Secondly, we have the sea bottom habitat comprising of soft sand and mud that covers the beach outwards to the continental shelves and deep beyond the reach of sunlight on the continental slope. The inhabitants of this zone are not subject to the sea currents and as result the fish population is uniform.

The third habitat comprise of the hard rocky shore which covers between 5-20 meters from the coast and the outer islands in the ocean. The inhabitants of this zone comprise the sea weed and sessile creatures which are attach to the rocks. The fish in this region adapt a sedentary life, they do not move from one place to another. This allows them to enjoy protection from the marine reserve, and would only be caught if they stray from the marine reserves.

It is worth noting that marine reserves protection is focused more on the few rocky shore inhabitants, thereby leaving out the other two habitats which need protection from threats of commercial fishing. Where fisheries facilities are to be found, the fish species are not extensively exposed and therefore, does not pose a major threat to fishing. Marine reserves are inadequate when it comes to offering protection to the commercial fish species, and subsequently they have very minimal benefit.

What are the causes of declining biodiversity?

According to Coffman (3), growth of cities, highways, large scale agriculture, logging, and other activities have contributed in the loss of biodiversity. Borrowing from an environmental theology, the earth’s network of life is facing destruction leading to extinction of the species by thousands, alongside the disappearance of biodiversity.

Can politics impact positively on biodiversity?

The year 2010 has been designated by the UN the international year of biodiversity (IYB). During the year numerous schemes will be established to mobilize organizations, companies, individuals, and institutions to engage directly in alleviating global loss of biodiversity. The celebration for the IYB is headed by the secretariat of Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in collaboration with Countdown 2010.

Within a span of few years, countdown 2010 has achieved mobilization of growing number of participants including civil society associations, industries and the local government. Countdown 2010 take the center stage for IYB in Europe and worldwide via its well-developed network. The objectives for the IYB include;

To create awareness of the socioeconomic values for conserving biodiversity.
To improve the civic understanding of the pressure on biodiversity and methods of conservation.
To motivate organization to take an active or passive role in biodiversity conservation.
To commemorate the accomplishment of Countdown 2010 associates and other participants.
To report on possible failures that lead to unattained goal.
To arrange the platform for highlighting the post-2010 goals.

Is the role of economics vital in curbing biodiversity?

Ever since the 2006 CBD conference in Curitiba, the CBD has been diligently searching for business associates in executing their objectives. In 2009 “LIFE certification” project was launched in Brazil with the aim of quantifying and acknowledging organizational efforts towards conserving biodiversity.

Another economical participation was triggered following the 2008 conference in Bonn. This new organization was called the economics of the ecosystem and biodiversity (TEEB) and its goal was to develop an economic structure centered on biological resources (Djoghlaf 6).

In addition, the Japanese commercial alliance, Nippon Keidanren, launched a business biodiversity initiative while the Ministry of the Environment organized plan on the subject, for the preparation of the Nagoya Biodiversity Summit (7).

Does culture play significant role in conserving biodiversity?

Various cultures have diverse view points of utility and preservation of the natural resources (Toledo culture by Choc, in Halffter 134). Different communities may utilize the natural resources respectfully while others may exploit them to gain immediate and maximum benefits regardless of the harm they can inflict on the environment.

Utility of mechanical tools and agrochemicals have greatly eroded the harmonious relationship that existed between humans and the environment in the ancient times. Presently success is measured in term of capital, agrochemicals, machinery and, and market share. The extent of deterioration is prominent in the urban setting.

Halffter (136) argues that the concept of culture have been overlooked in pursuit of the elements which shape the relationship between people and nature, and in turn between people and biodiversity. Further, he asserts that the interaction with the ecosystem forms the essence of culture. Literary, culture entails our visions and principles of the ecosystem in relation to self.

Does involvement of corporation, government and individuals have positive impact on biodiversity conservation?

Our natural environment is transforming at an unpredictable rate. At the current time the world is in the initial stages of mass extinction coupled with global warming. It is believed that these adverse events are the result of human activities; and that their severity and their persistence will depend on the actions we take to combat them (The Canadian Biodiversity 2).

Every person is accountable for the conservation of his/her immediate biodiversity. Nevertheless, conservation of biodiversity at the national level is a prerogative of the government. The duty of the government towards the citizen is not only to preserve diversity but also to do it in a manner which benefits the population (3).

According to Devall (69) corporations are the key players in biodiversity conservation projects. For example ChevronMobil serve over a hundred countries, because such corporations are ranked in the fortune 500 chart and thus have more money compared to most of the national governments members of the UN. These corporations actively engage in petroleum, coal or gas mining in unprotected wild lands in various geographical locations.

According to evidence some of these corporations take up the disguise of green belt movement, and may engage in public relations promotion to express their active participation in conservation, the move referred by environmentalist as ‘green washing.’ Other critics believe that corporation other stakeholders must negotiate with them regarding conservation issues (Devall 70).

Does Forest contribute to biodiversity?

Ferraro and Simpson (2) claim that many biodiversity including major forest are situated in poorly developed countries which profit less from their ecosystem.

With regard to biodiversity tropical forest forms the richest terrestrial ecological unit. Forests have been utilized by humans from the prehistoric time a source of a wide range of commodities including fuel, medicine, foods, and wood (Topfer para. 4).

In the contemporary times, the utility and perception of forests has increasingly changed. Numerous institutions, associations and individuals have expressed interest in forest and their biodiversity, for cooperate profits, for sustaining livelihood, preservation of spiritual and cultural morals and conserving biodiversity.

To realize these diverse objectives as well as organize and forest biodiversity, various activities have been executed by the stakeholders including, individuals, communities, NGOs, intergovernmental organization and national governments (FAO 2).

Works Cited

Choc, Gregory. Land, value and economic development in Toledo. June 1996. 05 November, 2010.
http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/47/008.html

Coffman, Michael. Biodiversity treaty more than senate willing to pay: white man’s cities. 2000. 04 November, 2010.
http://www.discerningtoday.org/members/Analyses/biodiversity.htm

Devall, Bill. Conservation of biodiversity: opportunities and challenges. Human ecology Review, 13.6(2006).

FAO. Forest biodiversity. 2010. November 3, 2010 www.fao.org/forestry/Forestry.asp, Online.

Ferraro, Paul, and Simpson, David. Protecting forest and biodiversity: are investments In eco-friendly production activities the best way to protect endangered Ecosystems and enhance rural livelihoods? Topic 4: improving livelihoods and protecting biodiversity. Paper presented at the international conference on rural livelihoods, forest and biodiversity 19-23 may 2003, Bonn, Germany. Print.

Halffter, Gregory. Towards a culture of biodiversity conservation. 2005. Print .

Lamb, Henry and Coffman, Michael. “Global biodiversity assessment: section 10.” Eco.logic special report. ISBN#0 521 56481 6. Environmental Conservation Organization, 2006. Print.

Srinivas, Hari. Environmental management and disaster reduction- an introduction. n.d. 04 November, 2010. http://www.gdrc.org/uem/disasters/disenvi/intro.html

The Canadian Biodiversity. What is biodiversity? n.d. o5 November, 2010.
http://canadianbiodiversity.mcgill.ca/english/intro/page2.htm

Topfer, Klaus. Environmental management and disaster reduction. 2010. 03 November, 2010. http://www.grida.no/publications/et/ep3/page.aspx

UN News Center. “Actor Edward Norton is celebrity advocate for biodiversity.” UN chronicle, July 2010. 05 November, 2010.
http://www.un.org/wcm/content/site/chronicle/home/archive/webarticles2010/edwardnortonungoodwillambassadorforbiodiversity

Wilson, Edward. The Diversity of Life. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1992. Print.

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