The Importance of Biodiversity
What comes to mind when you walk through a forest? Trees? Insects? Birds? You might say that the forest is full of different plants and animals. All the different types of plants and animals in the forest make up the forest's biodiversity. Is this biodiversity worth keeping? Some people see value in preserving the forest, knowing that the environment keeps a balance among all the animals and plants living in it. Other people see the forest for the resources it offers, such as wood, food, and land for buildings. These views significantly affect what happens to the forest.
What do animals and plants think of a forest as? Those species see a forest as their home, as people see their rooms and yards as their homes. Animals and plants know how to live best in their native environments. When the environment changes, because of weather, human activity, or other factors, organisms may be unfamiliar with their environments and need time to adjust to their new living habitats. The species may take too long adjusting or cannot adjust at all, resulting in the death of all of the species in that environment.
There are many reasons why living responsibly in our environment is important, including the following:
- Certain animals and plants are good food sources.
- A balanced environment provides clean water and air.
- Different types of soil can grow different types of food.
When we move into an environment, we will inevitably change it. As human populations grow, environments will be impacted more and more. With environments changing at a faster rate every day, we lose the benefits of maintaining an environment. This loss could impact our health and way of living.
As we change the environment, we affect the biodiversity of species in their native environment. Mass tree-cutting takes away living habitats for birds and insects and possible food sources for animals. Strips of land turned into roads create barriers that animals did not have to cross before. These changes force animals and plants to adjust to their new environment, with some surviving and others dying. The death of native plants and animals reduces the biodiversity of the environment, creating an imbalance in our environment. This imbalance could reduce the quality of our environment, the same environment giving us clean water and air.
Think of an environmental imbalance as a result of taking out bricks from a brick wall. The removal or disappearance of a population from its native environment is similar to a brick falling off of a wall. Some bricks are necessary for other bricks to stay in the wall, just as the survival of some native species is necessary for the survival of other native species. If enough bricks fall off, the wall falls apart, just as an environment falls apart due to biodiversity reduction.
Links to Biodiversity Websites
Visit the global climate change websites of the organizations below to become more informed about global climate change and its effects on the environment.
to view the endangered species used in the Endangered World installation at the South Pole.
To help create the installation at the North Pole, Mr. Cortada invites you to suggest an endangered species in your community and how that species became endangered through the Endangered World blog