biodiversity and conservation Introduction for class12.
If an alien from a distant galaxy were to visit our planet Earth, the first thing that would amaze and baffle him would most probably be the enormous diversity of life that he would encounter.
Even for humans, the rich variety of living organisms with which they share this planet never ceases to astonish and fascinate us.
The common man would find it hard to believe that there are more than 20,000 species of ants, 3,00,000 species of beetles, 28,000 species of fishes and nearly 20,000 species of orchids.
Ecologists and evolutionary biologists have been trying to understand the significance of such diversity by asking important questions :-
- Why are there so many species?
- Did such great diversity exist throughout earth’s history?
- How did this diversification come about?
- How and why is this diversity important to the biosphere?
- Would it function any differently if the diversity was much less?
- How do humans benefit from the diversity of life?
biodiversity Introduction for class12.
In our biosphere immense diversity (or heterogeneity) exists not only at the species level but at all levels of biological organisation ranging from macromolecules within cells to biomes.
Biodiversity is the term popularised by the sociobiologist Edward Wilson to describe the combined diversity at all the levels of biological organisation.
The most important of them are–
- Genetic diversity: A single species might show high diversity at the genetic level over its distributional range. The genetic variation shown by the medicinal plant Rauwolfia vomitoria growing in
different Himalayan ranges might be in terms of the potency and concentration of the active chemical (reserpine) that the plant produces. India has more than 50,000 genetically different strains of rice, and 1,000 varieties of mango.
- Species diversity: The diversity at the species level. For example, the Western Ghats have a greater amphibian species diversity thanbthe Eastern Ghats.
- Ecological diversity: At the ecosystem level, India, for instance, with its deserts, rain forests, mangroves, coral reefs, wetlands, estuaries, and alpine meadows has a greater ecosystem diversity than a Scandinavian country like Norway.
It has taken millions of years of evolution, to accumulate this rich diversity in nature, but we could lose all that wealth in less than two centuries if the present rates of species losses continue.
Biodiversity and its conservation are now vital environmental issues of international concern as more and more people around the world begin to realise the critical importance of biodiversity for our survival and well- being on this planet