biodiversity

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biodiversity

(bī′ō-dĭ-vûr′sĭ-tē)
n.
1. The number and variety of species found within a specified geographic region.
2. The variability among living organisms on the earth, including the variability within and between species and within and between ecosystems.

biodiversity

The existence of complex flora and fauna in an ecosystem; the genetic diversity of natural organisms. Biodiversity increases the overall productivity of a plot of land, and maximises its resistance to disturbances—e.g., drought. In prairie ecosystems stressed by drought, recovery to a normal state of productivity was more rapid in experimental plots of vegetation with the greatest biodiversity, a finding that supports the need to maintain biodiversity.

Loss of biodiversity—i.e., a reduction in the number of species, subspecies and strains—will be disastrous for the planet's ecosystem. An example would be growing a crop food, e.g., corn or rice, from only one highly productive, rapid-growing, spoil-resistant strain—while seemingly having all the desirable features, if the strain became susceptible to a particular pathogen, all those dependent on the crop could face famine.

Marine biodiversity may be in a state of ecological crisis due to coastal development—e.g., destruction of estuaries, motorised marine vessels, ocean dumping, oil spills, overfishing with trawling of the ocean floor and subsequent disruption of bottom communities and coral reefs, overwhaling, pollutant runoffs, and toxic tides due to eutrophication.

biodiversity

see DIVERSITY.
References in periodicals archive ?
If the value of biodiversity or ecosystems lies in the functions it performs for the human economy, they might as well be replaced by some form of technology that does the job better (cf.
These include: incomplete scientific knowledge of the current status of biodiversity, a lack of effective tools to classify and map different types of ecosystems, lack of consistent methods for monitoring the changes in biodiversity, barriers to information sharing, lack of resources and capacity for the management of resources and biodiversity issues, and lastly, a lack of valuation methods with which to ascertain the true value of biodiversity to enable the development of incentive mechanisms to reward sympathetic management of biodiversity (Department of Conservation & Ministry for the Environment, 2000).
One very interesting proposal to alleviate and ultimately offset these costs is the habitat transaction method, discussed by market-oriented environmental consultant Todd Olson in his chapter.(17) Olson states: "[T]he common enemy of conservationists and landowners is an economic system that fails to take into account the social value of biodiversity -- and even creates incentives to destroy biodiversity."(18) Olson cites the example of the California Central Valley farmers who disk their inactive lands as an insurance policy against having the value of farmland taken away or diminished by the federal Endangered Species Act."(19) To correct this "perverse"(20) economic situation, Olson advocates a market-based conservation approach that attaches a transactional value to diversity.
Markets, hierarchies, and the value of biodiversity
The first provides a good summary of the value of biodiversity and some programs to conserve it.
The value of biodiversity to plant breeders is also growing.
He confides that reading Sand County Almanac as a graduate student "changed my whole life." Society heard and acted upon the wilderness ethic that Aldo Leopold put forth in that environmental classic, Babbitt believes, but a more subtle message about the value of biodiversity was missed.
The success of efforts to reverse unsustainable uses of the world's natural assets will require policymakers to reconsider the value of biodiversity for their people, environments and economies.
The indigenous Olympics were held in an open field surrounded by dense forest to remind the tribesmen of the value of biodiversity.
In the opinions, however, there is no discussion of the nature and value of biodiversity, or how to operationalise and measure it, or which aspects or understandings of biodiversity should be given priority over others (unlike, for example, naturalness on different levels).
The campaign will also have an educational dimension explaining the value of biodiversity and stressing the concept of the services ecosystems provide and the dangers of their decline.
Although we rely upon natural live resources derived from biodiversity for our daily needs, the value of biodiversity provides us more indirectly with many other essential services, such as the hydrological cycle.