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Biodiversity | Types, importance, and conservation of biodiversity

Biodiversity | Types, importance and conservation of biodiversity

Biodiversity | Types, importance, and conservation of biodiversity

The word, “Biodiversity”, is combination of two words, “Bio” means life and “diversity” means variety. Therefore, Biodiversity is variety of various living organisms present on earth and they are interrelated and interacting with each other’s in their ecosystem or habitat.

What is biodiversity?

Biodiversity is the variety of living organisms and their interactions with each other, i.e. life on Earth. The diversity linked to micro-organisms, different plants and animals is included in biodiversity. Bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms, bryophytes and the various plants, birds, insects, fish and humans are all the fundamental part of biodiversity.
Biodiversity can occur in a very small particular area or in a very large area like the ocean. For example, biodiversity can occur in a very small aquarium where there are few small fish or can occur in a large ocean where whales and sharks like huge fish live with other aquatic animals. Biodiversity can be present in different ecosystems such as the desert ecosystem, the aquatic ecosystem and the terrestrial ecosystem, including the grassland ecosystem, the forest ecosystem, etc. Biodiversity is therefore present everywhere on earth.

Definition of Biodiversity

Biodiversity is defined as the distinction between living organisms and includes diversity within species, between species and ecosystems from all sources, including marine, terrestrial, aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are a part.

Type of Biodiversity

There are three prime types of biodiversity viz, Genetic biodiversity, Species biodiversity and habitat / ecosystem biodiversity.

Genetic biodiversity: 

Genetic biodiversity is related to the genes of living organism and is the diversity within the specific species. Genes are responsible for transmission of certain factors or traits from one generation to the next within the same species, so genetic biodiversity has occurred within the same specific species.  It is also called as within species diversity. Genes give unique characters or features to each individual species.
For example, human beings are the Homo sapiens and, besides all, the homo sapiens are not exactly alike. There are some differences in shape, size, body colour, hair style, etc and these differences make them unique identity. Each person is genetically unique and that’s why different peoples have different faces, features and characters, they are all humans but genetically different and that is genetic biodiversity in human.
Likewise, genetic biodiversity covers different varieties of a single species or a distinct population of a single species. For example, if we see animals like dogs and cats, there are thousands of different breeds are available. Flower like rose, there are different varieties of roses of colours, shape and other characters available.  

Biodiversity | Types, importance, and conservation of biodiversity
Genetic Biodiversity: Different breeds of dog but categories as single species
In broad, Genetic biodiversity covers the genetic changes that occurs in the number or structure of genes, in same species, which givers different characteristic, aesthetic features and behaviour.

Importance of genetic diversity: Due to pollution, there may be adverse effects on some specific species and loss of fertility due to changes in genes. As each species has different genes which gives it a different strength and immune system. Some species may tolerate the adverse effect of pollution in their ecosystem and their success in surviving,  but some may be severely affected and suffer infertility or die.  This may be responsible for extinction of certain species and certain habitat.

Adverse effect of human activities

Human began to cultivate a hybrid crop and replaced the traditional culture in a particular area in the same way that it happened with the animals. Man has made some changes in animal genes and responsible for their genetic changes thus changes their features and characteristic. This was resulted into extinction of the original species.  Sometimes human releases the formed fish in the river, then these formed fishes compete with the wild fish, if the genes of the wild fishes are not wired much to fertilize well, their population can be replaced by formed fishes. In addition, these formed fishes can reproduce a new type of fishes which can replace the original one.
The disadvantage of genetic changes is the extinction of one species that was useful for specific purpose and replaced by a new one that has different characteristic. Once the species extinct, it can no longer be replaced by another, may be an alternate evolution but cannot be replaced because genes are always different depending on the species.

Species biodiversity:

Species biodiversity occurs among different type of species (more than one different species) in a particular area or location.  Here, the number of species is the basic unit for classification. Different organisms have different features and characters and that is why they cannot reproduce or interbred, therefore they are considered as different species. The organism that can be reproduced with each other is considered to be as single species.
The diversity among the number of species and their different individual varieties that live in a particular area at a given time is called species biodiversity.
Here, there may be changes in the type and numbers of species over time,  period or session. So, in a particular area, there may be particular species such as horse, dogs, elephant, lion, particular birds, plants, etc and some of them may be more at particular location, then it is called as species richness.

Species richness is the number of specific individual organism in that area which is rich in number ie the highest among all. 

Species biodiversity - richness-biodiversity-genetic biodiversity
AREA-1: Species biodiversity - species richness

for example, in area-1,  there are three different kind of birds like Bird-A, Bird-B & Bird-C. Now, count the individual bird for finding the highest number i.e. richness. There are total 12 birds in which Bird-A are five, Bird-B are three and Bird-C are four in number, therefore  the highest number of birds are Bird-A species at a particular area and at particular time period, is called as the species richness.
There is another terms used in species biodiversity related to number of species at particular area at particular time period and that is species evenness. It means there are the similar number of individuals in particular area in a given time.  

Global biodiversity: Global biodiversity is also called as the gamma biodiversity in which there are a wide variety of different plants and animals and different kind of other organisms living together.
Each organism is different from each other’s and living together in particular area at particular time.

Importance of species biodiversity

It may take several years to develop an ecosystem with specific species in a particular area. The ecosystem contains many factors such as temperature, availability of food, climate, seasons, etc. where species can be adopted and help them maintain their population through reproduction.
They interact with the environment and become part of the food chain. In the event that certain species disappear, there may be an impact on other species and the ecosystem may be affected. There may be an imbalance in the food chain. Several years may require the development of other species to take over the function of lost species, but may not be able to replace all the characteristics. Therefore, once the species has disappeared from this earth, its functions cannot be replaced completely.

Adverse effect of human activities on species biodiversity

Industrialization, deforestation, agriculture, pollution and changes in habitats are the main dangers for the biodiversity of species. It affects the reproduction of the species and kills directly due to various diseases formed due to pollution of human origin.
Humans are responsible for the migration of certain species from one ecosystem to another ecosystem, and the loss of species from this local ecosystem results. Monoculture farming is one of the main reasons for the extinction of plant species. CO2 emissions from various industries responsible for global warming and the disruption of species biodiversity.

Ecosystem biodiversity/ Habitat biodiversity

The ecosystem is the interaction and interrelation between different living organisms and its non-living environment. The species can be different in different environments from geological conditions and therefore the diversity linked to different types of ecosystem such as forest, desert, aquatic ecosystem is called ecosystem biodiversity.

Biodiversity | Types, importance, and conservation of biodiversity
Ecosystem biodiversity/ Habitat biodiversity

The term ecosystem was first coined by AG Tinsley in 1935. There are different types of ecosystems, such as the aquatic ecosystem, the terrestrial ecosystem of the desert ecosystem, the grassland ecosystem and the ecosystem forest. All of these different ecosystems have biodiversity and different species of one ecosystem may not survive in another ecosystem, for example, in the aquatic ecosystem, some aquatic plants and aquatic animals are there and they cannot survive in the desert ecosystem.
Therefore, the species of different types of organisms living in a particular ecosystem, they are adapted to this specific environment and that is why it is called ecosystem biodiversity.
In some areas there is an exceptionally high level of biodiversity and this particular area is called hot spots.
Some species are very rare and can be found in a particular ecosystem, these species are called endemic species.
There is landscapes diversity can also see on earth and exist in the form of natural and cultural elements. Presently most of the landscapes are not virgin in Europe as these landscapes converted into agricultural used. After waste awareness, they developed some landscapes artificially.

Importance of biodiversity

Biodiversity is very important for balancing our terrestrial environment and our ecosystem.  
Below is the main importance of biodiversity
Food chain: There are enormous living organisms living on earth and helpful for making a specific food chain which is very useful for balancing and maintaining our ecosystem.
Aesthetic value:  Biodiversity is very useful for aesthetic value of our earth.
Provides varieties of food:  Several varieties of food can be obtained from different kind of plants and animals.
Provides medicinal resources: Different kind of medicines can be prepared from different kind of plants and animals
Productive values: Certain daily products can be obtained from different kind of animals and plants in the form of oil, leather, etc

Importance of biodiversity to humans

Over 8.7 million species on our planet have a specific ecosystem like a patch of wood. Healthy biodiversity ensures the stability of ecosystems by reducing the dependence of one species on another for food shelter and even the maintenance of the physical environment.
Wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park in 1995 to control the growth of the population, which had grazed much of the park. It was a phenomenal success, the introduction of wolves changed the course of the trees of the rivers, the seedlings had the chance to grow along the banks by stabilizing the banks and helping to clean the water. The river began to wind more and more and the beavers returned, as did the birds to the new trees.
One species can make a huge difference to an entire ecosystem. We would all prefer a lush green planet with lots of insect birds and flowers rather than a barren planet, but to really convince people that biodiversity is important, we need to look at its economic value.
The World Conservation Union estimates that the goods and services provided by ecosystems represent around $ 33 trillion a year, reduced by diversity. Millions, if not billions, of people face a future, as food suppliers are more vulnerable to pests and diseases, fresh water is scarce, and we have no drugs to cure life-threatening diseases.
Biodiversity protects the water resources it cleans; it controls the route to be followed and the stabilizer banks thus reducing the risk of flooding.
Biodiversity has also improved the quality of the soil again reducing the risk of flooding and increased fertility, so potential crop yields. We are currently taking a hundred billion kilograms of food from the oceans. If you don't keep these supplies, how are we going to replace food sources in the future and what about traditional and modern medicine.
Medicine biodiversity necessary for diseases like cardiovascular disease and diabetes. So many modern medicines are derived from wild species such as some pain relievers, heart medicines, anticancer medicines and diabetes treatments. There are so many other important species that have not yet been studied or discovered that could provide us with a generally important remedy or treatment. If we do not start to prevent biodiversity loss, we may never the chance to discover and develop this potentially life-saving drug.
Loss of biodiversity increases the spread of infectious diseases. The epidemics of avian influenza with Ebola virus, malaria and corona virus Pandemic COVID-19 have all been attributed to human impacts on deforestation of biodiversity.  
Biodiversity also help humans to generate income via tourism,  Europe and Africa generates remarkable amount of income as agriculture, forestry and fishing combined, but even England has increased its animal species less and its landscapes less extreme than the value of the forest day of other countries or even estimated at around 1 billion pounds.

Loss of biodiversity

There are certain threats to the biodiversity that is responsible for the extinction of certain species and ecosystem.
1. High population rate:  High population rate responsible for loss of habitat for different types of animals as well as plants.  
2. Pollution:  Pollution including air, water and soil pollution
 3. Natural calamities: It is related to the loss of biodiversity due to certain natural impacts such as forest fire, certain insects destroy plants and certain epidemics in animals
4. Deforestation:  Cutting of trees for the industrialization and urbanization.
5. Exotic species: Some species migrate from one ecosystem to another ecosystem and then dominate completely dominate over certain species, eliminating certain existing species are called as exotic species and this is also one of the reason for the loss of biodiversity.
6. Illegal hunting: It is also responsible for extinction of many species of animals.
All the major 6 factors above are responsible for the loss of biodiversity.  There are other factors also responsible for the loss of biodiversity such as
a. The spread of hostile plants and animal species from one ecosystem to another.
b. Loss of habitants due to climate change, degradation, and destructions caused by human or other dominant species in a particular ecosystem.
c. Uncontrolled use of natural resources by human to get energy.
d. Destruction of water bodies, migration of species, disturbance of water flows and changes in aquatic environment.

Conservation of biodiversity

The protection, management and preservation of genetic diversity, species and ecosystems are important and are also called biodiversity conservation. We must protect flora and fauna for the sustainable growth of individual species and of all types of ecosystems. As there is a strong interaction and relationship between the varieties of species, the ecosystem and the environment, they are interdependent. The richness of species, the ecosystem, the environment and the sustainable growth of life on earth are also called optimal conservation of biodiversity.
All over the world, biodiversity loss is observed due to habitat loss, global warming, climate change, excessive exploration of resources, illegal poaching of rear animals, deadly diseases, pollution of the environment, industrialization, urbanization, deforestation, etc. the need to take strict measures against the causes of biodiversity loss and to preserve it by preserving it through legal obligations by the government and other social organizations.
It is true that humans are the most beneficial species that benefit from almost all the benefits of biodiversity. Therefore, it is his primary responsibility to take corrective action against the damage caused by it and to improve biodiversity through scientific management.
The main objective of conserving biodiversity is to save life on earth, preserve all species, maintain the ecosystem and a healthy environment forever so that it remains healthy for the next generation as well.
Conserving biodiversity is very important for maintaining the food chain, providing a healthy environment for varieties of species, including humans, and gaining support for our sustainable development.
Here are the main objectives of biodiversity conservation
1. Protect and maintain the important ecosystem from destruction by preserving natural resources, maintaining the crucial ecosystem process, minimizing use, optimizing consumption, avoiding waste and maintaining aids and survival systems.
2. Since humans are part of the biodiversity of the ecosystem, it is ethical to conserve biodiversity.
3. Protect and preserve the extinction of varieties of plants and animal species.
4. Promote the development of rear species, ensure the exploration of new species with their importance and their ecosystem for sustainable biodiversity.
5. Maintain the aesthetics of the Earth.
6. Since man is the main consumer of resources, the conservation of biodiversity requires economic and scientific advantages
 There are two types of biodiversity conservation, one is In-situ and the other is Ex-situ conservation
In-Situ conservation of biodiversity (onsite)
The conservation of species in their original ecosystem without disturbing their natural life or within their natural habitat is called as In-situ biodiversity conservation. Here, the area/ ecosystem/habitat with high natural biodiversity is converted into national park or sanctuary. Some time this reserved ecosystem is also called as biosphere reserve and a government regulating its maintenance and preservation by enforcing certain legal obligations.

Ex-Situ conservation of biodiversity (off-site)
Here, the conservation of species takes place off-site i.e away from their natural habitat, these species are shifting and protected in a new ecosystem. For example, some rare species of wildlife have moved from their natural habitat to the zoo and botanical garden to aid recovery strategies for endangered species. This also includes the conservation of genetic resources.

Biodiversity conservation challenges

1. There are still several species which are not yet discovered, the habitat of the servals and the landscapes are still not explored and therefore their effect on each other, ecosystem and species, is still unknown. In such circumstances, it is very difficult to develop indicators for measuring and monitoring the parameters of biodiversity.
2. Although the conservation of biodiversity in certain areas is regulated by legislation by declaring the area as a national park, sanctuaries, botanical garden, inclusion in all the relevant laws remains difficult.
3. Maintaining Ex-Situ conservation of biodiversity is costly economically.
4. Management of biodiversity conservation


Biodiversity is the variety of various living organisms present on earth and their interaction and interrelationship in the ecosystem. There are three main type of biodiversity viz. genetic, species and ecosystem or habitat biodiversity. Human domination is the greatest common thread of biodiversity because it takes advantage of his power and consumes all type of resources by endangering the life of other species. Biodiversity is very important for balancing our terrestrial environment and our ecosystem. Humans are also responsible for pollution and unwanted elements in the environment. Biodiversity conservation is very important for the sustainability of a healthier earth by preserving and protecting species, ecosystem, and natural resources.

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