Conservation of biological diversity ensures economic prosperity and ecological sustainability and is also the tool to fight against climate change.
Biological diversity, very simply, refers to all of the different kinds of life on Earth. Also called biodiversity, biological diversity is often used to refer to the total number of different species on Earth. A collection of this biodiversity would include human beings, Bengal tigers, sugar maples, oyster mushrooms, bacteria, and the millions of other living organisms found on Earth.
Conservative estimates of the number of species on Earth range from 5 to7 million but some scientists estimate as many as 30 million! With only about 1.6 to 2 million of these species having been studied (many only at the most basic level) and given a name, much still needs to be learned about the diversity of life on Earth.
Much of the Earth’s biodiversity is concentrated in the tropics. Some scientists estimate that 50 percent of all species on the planet are found in tropical rainforests that comprise only 6 to 7 percent of the Earth’s land surface. Given the rapid rate at which tropical rainforests are being cut, it is estimated that up to 20 percent of the Earth’s biodiversity may become extinct in our lifetime!
However, over exploitation and unsustainable use patterns are depriving ecosystems to deliver vital functions and services as well as its ability to withstand climate change.
It is the need of hour to live sustain ably with our biological capital and progress in various sectors of economic and human development, including agriculture, forestry and fisheries.