Biodiversity ensures the natural sustainability of all life on earth. Biodiversity doesn’t only protect the existing organisms but also organisms in the future. However, today biodiversity continues to be threatened which in result affects the survival of humans.
Environmental advocates and agencies such as the UNEP, WWF, GreenFacts Foundation, and EPA have been raising concerns of the issues related to biodiversity and how unbalanced and unhealthy it is becoming for the planet.
have been raising concerns of the issues related to biodiversity and how unbalanced and unhealthy it is becoming for the planet.
The CBD (Convention on Biological Diversity) definition is the internationally accepted definition of biodiversity. It says, ‘Biological diversity’ means the variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are a part; this includes diversity within species, between species and within ecosystems.
According to reports, there are six major threats to biodiversity along with the actions that can be taken to address the situation.
Various main threats to Biodiversity and their Solutions
When habitats are lost due to deforestation and other environmental pollutions such as mining; the environment is unable to provide shelter, food, water, or breeding grounds for the living organisms. This dramatic alteration of habitats directly threatens biodiversity.
In other words, it leads to an unhealthy and unbalanced ecosystem which causes loss of biodiversity and extinction. In particular, deforestation is associated with the destruction of about 18,000,000 acres of forest habitats annually damaging the ecosystems on which countless species depend on for survival.
Solutions to Habitat Loss and Deforestation
Issuing laws and policies may cure the problem of deforestation and habitat loss. Corporations and companies can practice the reuse of paper and timber products that encourage deforestation.
Awareness should be spread so that customers do not support companies or manufacturers that use timber and paper to make their products. The government should take stronger forest production laws and Policies.
Individuals and organizations can also participate by supporting environmental conservation through charities and creating awareness.
2. Climate change
Global climate changes throughout the planet have modified life and ecosystems on the planet. As a result, crucial habitats have been destroyed and several species have gone extinct putting them on the verge of extinction.
This means if global temperatures continue to change drastically, especially due to Environmental pollution which accelerates the process. Additionally, threats to biodiversity will continue to expand as ecosystems and species will not be able to adapt to these temperature changes.
For example, the melting of ice on Arctic sea and the increasing ocean temperatures due to climate change are to be blamed for vegetation zones and deterioration of marine life. The ecosystems and species that cannot cope with drastic climate change eventually die.
Solutions to Climate Change
Climate change mostly takes place because of human activities such as destroying carbon sinks (forests) and dependency on using fossil fuels. If effective actions are to be taken to reduce the amount of carbon footprint, the world can be assured of a better tomorrow and can worry less about climate change.
Individual organizations and industries need to reduce their carbon footprints and should participate in awareness creation. The government can also charge for carbon emissions and enact policies that curtail activities destroying the carbon sinks of the world (forests).
3. Overexploitation of resources
With the ever-rising human population, there has been a drastic increase in demand for manufactured products including essential goods and services.
This has resulted in overfishing, overhunting, over-harvesting and excessive mineral resource extraction which has highly contributed to loss of biodiversity.
Poaching, manual extraction, excessive logging by the logging industries and other forms of resource exploitation for profit has heightened the risks of species extinction altering natural habitats, thereby, destroying food chains and interfering with the ecological balance of ecosystems.
Solution to Overexploitation of Resources
Continuous awareness and conservation are the main strategies for managing overexploitation, overfishing, over-harvesting, and poaching.
Environmental protection agencies and governments also need to implement rules stopping the practices that go overexploitation of resources. Individual effort should aim to words being mindful of the products we consume and buy.
4. Nutrients loading
With the rising agricultural sector, it has doubled its dependency on the use of fertilizers beyond limits, which has continued to increase the level of nitrogen and phosphorus nutrients in the natural ecosystem.
With the nutrients still existing naturally in the ecosystem, the manufacturing of artificial fertilizers with reactive nitrogen and phosphorus nutrients to increase crop productivity has altered the ecological balance over time, and therefore, threatened the survival of ecosystems.
The survival of species that flourish and prosper in nitrogen-free environments are increasingly threatened. Furthermore, leaches and entry into the water systems have resulted in high levels of oxygen-deficient zones in the marine habitats.
Solutions to Nutrient Loading
Improvements are needed to ensure the effectiveness of nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers used within the production systems. Artificial production of these fertilizers should not only aim at meeting the global food demand but also decreasing environmental problems.
Farmers should aim to reduce their dependency on fertilizers and adopt more sustainable approaches when it comes to farming such as the use of organic farming which outright stops the usage of artificial fertilizers and chemicals so that the crop produced is 100% organic without synthetic addition.
5. Environmental pollution
Environmental Pollution continues to harm the ecosystem by releasing toxic chemicals into the atmospheric, terrestrial and marine ecosystems. The chemicals released influence the species habitats disrupting the earth’s ecosystem.
The ozone layer is also depleted due to pollution creating dead zones in marine habitats due to toxicity and acid rain. This has altered species’ feeding and breeding habitats and caused the death of many species due to oil spills or the consumption of plastic or other toxic materials.
Solution to Environmental Pollution
There are many ways of stopping environmental pollution such as issuing anti-pollution laws and policies at the local, state and international levels.
Individuals can take measures, which limits the amount of pollution in our environment by:
- conserving energy at home,
- use of safe and non-toxic products
- using public transport.
Media can be a great helping hand in spreading awareness such as online forums and in various institutions to make the individuals realize the harmful effects and consequences of environmental pollution.
The use of renewable and green energy sources can also lower dependence on fossil fuels thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions that lead to global warming and the formation of acid rain.
6. Invasive species
Invasive species, which are foreign for a particular habitat invade the normal and healthy ecosystems and threaten the survival of the native species of that ecosystem, either by attacking them or competing for habitats’ resources.
They cause extinctions and a major threat to biodiversity by upsetting the native biota and ecosystems. Since the 17th century, there have been over 40% of all animal extinction associated with alien species, according to the GreenFacts Foundation. Similar reports also suggest that 80% of the threatened species in Fynbos biome of South Africa are endangered by the alien species as well.
According to those reports, the cumulative environmental biodiversity losses of more than $100 billion in the UK, US, South Africa, Brazil, India, and Australia are because of invasive pests.
Solution to Invasive Species
It requires intervention of the local, state and international levels as the problem of the invasive alien species is global. Prevention of invasive alien species through risk assessments as a strategy of predicting the possibility of species becoming invasive, for this reason, Local authorities and states need to establish systems.
The assessments should also aim at determining the potential ecological damages and put in place effective preventive measures to counter the likely environmental impacts.
Some of the most efficient strategies to prevent invasions are creating systems to stop the initiation of invasive alien species even before they start, immediately getting rid of newly detected invaders, and strongly monitoring new invasions.
Google street view and other advanced technological techniques are some of the ways through which scientists and international bodies can assist in research and information quantification.