Biodiversity, as defined by E.O. Wilson, “is meant to be all inclusive-
it’s the genetic based variation of living organisms at all levels, from the
variety of genes in populations of single species, through species, on up to the
array of natural ecosystems.” This includes plants, animals, insects, fungi,
bacteria, and all microorganisms. All of these things create what is known as a
web. These things interact with each other in some way there for they depend on
one another throughout their lifetime. There are many separate ways in which we
can study biodiversity. These ways include, genetic, species, community,
ecosystem, and taxonomic diversity. Biodiversity can be best number of species
in a given area, or scientifically, “species richness.”
Today there is a biodiversity crisis facing us. This is caused mainly
by the destruction of habitats. This dramatically increases the rate at which
species decrease in number and become extinct. It is appalling to know that we
are the main cause of this. Over fishing, pollution, over cutting, and an
increase in population contribute to this problem. An example of this is the
gold mining operation that we saw in the video. While mining, Mercury was
dripping into the water. The mercury then got into the fish and into the humans
who ate the fish.
Biodiversity promotes a healthy environment. Environments rich in
biodiversity are stronger and can with stand things such as drought, disease,
and other stresses that environments that lack it cannot. In the video, during
the drought, the side of the field with a more diverse environment held stern as
the other wilted away.
Areas that are very diverse are very important to humans as well. They
provide a wide arrange of pharmaceuticals such as aspirin and penicillin. “Some
40 percent of U.S. prescriptions are for pharmaceuticals derived from wild
plants, animals and microorganisms.(E.O. Wilson)” They also provide fruit, oils,
beverages, drugs (including illegal narcotics), fuel, and much more. Humans
also benefit from biodiversity from what E.O. Wilson calls “biophillia,” which
is the natural affiliation humans have for natural environments.(E.O. Wilson)
Old growth forests play a dentrimental role in biodiversity preservation.
It’s most important feature is biodiversity. Old growth forests provide us
with many of the things that we as humans take for granted, for example,
breathable air pure water, and pest control through birds, bats, and insects.
In the Eastern U.S., most of the old growth occurs in small isolated areas.
Scientist have come to the conclusion that even if these matured areas cover a
substantial portion of landscape, it will not provide long term diversity for
many species that live in such a community.(How much old growth..?)
Many environmentalists are increasingly concerned with this biodiversity
crisis. As humans we need to do our part to end this. Most people don’t
realize the impact of the environment on our lives. “Our most valuable but
least appreciated resource.(E.O. Wilson)” This quote best summarizes society’s
action towards our ecosystem.