The Importance of Biodiversity

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Transcript The Importance of Biodiversity

• “From the driest desert to the dripping
rainforests, from the highest mountain peaks
to the deepest ocean trenches, life on earth
occurs in a marvelous spectrum of sizes,
colors, shapes, life cycles, and
interrelationships. Think for a moment how
remarkable, varied, abundant, and important
the other living creatures are with whom we
share this planet. How will our lives be
impoverished if this biological diversity
Cunningham, 2003
Cunningham, 2003
“Biodiversity refers to the varieties of organisms and complex ecological
relationships that give the biosphere its unique, productive characteristics”
The number of species in a specific habitat or
Global Biodiversity
Patterns and Processes
as you move
southward from
the North Pole (or
northward from
the South Pole) –
Functional Diversity
The biological and chemical processes such as energy
flow and matter recycling needed for the survival of species,
communities, and ecosystems.
Genetic Diversity
The variety of genetic material
within a species or a population.
Ecological Diversity
The variety of terrestrial and
aquatic ecosystems found in
an area or on the earth.
Species Diversity
The number and abundance of species
present in different communities
Fig. 3-12, p. 48
Recent extinctions, endangered or threatened species in
North America, including Canada, go to:
the loss of a species from the Earth.
a species that no longer lives in the wild in a
specific area but lives elsewhere.
a species that are in imminent danger of going
extinct or becoming extirpated.
a species that is likely to become endangered if
current trends and conditions continue.
a species that may become threatened or
endangered because of a combination of
Hinterland Who’s Who – Species at Risk
Canada's (all categories above) Species
Causes of Extinction
Benefits of Biodiversity
Food and drink
Industrial materials
Ecological services
Leisurely, cultural, and
aesthetic values
Causes of Biodiversity Loss
Loss of tropical forest
Spread of urban areas
Large dam construction
Road building
Loss of traditional
Consequences of Biodiversity Loss
Loss of food
Decrease in biomass
Collapse of food web
Loss of keystone species
Reduction of ecosystem
efficiency and community
• Loss of medicinal supplies
• Increased vulnerability of
species to disease and
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