Biodiversity refers to the variety of life on Earth at all its levels, from genes to ecosystems. About 8.7 million species of plants and animals have been identified by scientists and we even haven’t explored the amazon rainforest or the oceans fully. As stewards of the planet, it is an important human responsibility to be stewards for the rest of the world’s living organisms. We need to understand that diversity breeds diversity. They have a job in the ecosystem, they capture and store energy, they produce and decompose organic matter. Research has found that a more diverse ecosystem is more productive and can withstand greater environmental stress, hence the earth needs its biodiversity to rejuvenate from the wreckage we have done.
Source: Nikole Wohlmacher
Since 1900 about 477 different species have become extinct and currently, there are 41,415 species endangered. This is directly due to human activity. There are many ways in which we are affecting the biodiversity of the earth such as Habitat loss and destruction, the introduction of exotic (non-native) species that disrupt entire ecosystems and impact native plants and animals, over-exploitation (over-hunting, over-fishing, or over-collecting) of a species, Human-generated pollution and contamination along with global climate change alters the environmental conditions. The underlying cause of biodiversity loss is the growing human population and overconsumption. This is a significant issue for scientists and policy-makers. Species are becoming extinct at the fastest rate known in geological history. The extinction or endangerment of even one species can lead to a ripple effect in the ecosystem. For example, the recent decline in the Bee population could lead to world food shortage because to germinate, all plants including agricultural plants require a transfer of pollen from the male part of the flower to the female and as bees move from flower to flower in search of nectar, they leave behind grains of pollen allowing plants to grow and produce food. Hence a decline in bee population will lead to less pollination and therefore decreasing food supply. Bees are also needed for their honey and their hives. Their hives provide habitats for various insects and nutrition to their host trees. Hence the extinction of bees could lead to the extreme scarcity of food. Similarly, each species has a role to play - ecological niche, which helps the ecosystem sustain.
Sources: The Honey Bee Hub
Biodiversity affects every aspect of human health, providing clean air and water, nutritious foods, scientific understanding and medicine sources, natural disease resistance, and climate change mitigation. Hence it is our responsibility to protect it. Thankfully, it is within our power to change our actions to ensure the survival of species and the health and integrity of ecological systems. Good lifestyle choices of individuals and communities are imperative to save biodiversity. Conservation efforts can make significant differences in the state of biodiversity. Well-managed national parks, wildlife refuges, game reserves, and marine protected areas can provide habitats and help keep deforestation in check. While it is difficult to reverse the past negative human impacts on biodiversity, with knowledge and resources one should work to prevent any more damage.