Why is Biological Diversity important?
Life on the Earth is moving around the nature for the sustenance, health, well-being and cultural growth. Food, fruit, seed, fodder, medicines and a host of other goods and services are provided by the biotic resources. The enormous diversity of life is of immense value, imparting resilience of ecosystems and natural processes. Biodiversity also has enormous social and cultural importance.
Importance of the biological diversity
The importance of the biological diversity can be studied into three head:
1. Ecosystem Services
Biological diversity provided enormous ecological services to maintain the ecosystem healthy. It is important for the maintenance and sustainable utilization goods and services not only for the ecological system but also for the individual species such as:
(a) Protection of water resources- It maintain the hydrological cycles, regulating and stabilizing water run-off and acting as a buffer against extreme events such as floods and droughts.
(b) Soil protection- It will help in the conservation of soil and retention of moisture and nutrients.
(c) Nutrient storage and cycling- It will help the ecosystem to perform function of recycling nutrients found in the atmosphere as well as in the soil.
(d) Pollution reduction- It plays an important role in maintenance of gaseous composition of the atmosphere, breakdown of wastes and removal of pollutants.
(e) Climate stability- It provides stability to the climate through vegetation at macro as well as micro level.
(f) Maintenance of ecological process- It will help to maintain food chain which can be defined as a linear sequence of organisms through which nutrients and energy pass as one organism eats another.
Therefore, lack of ecological services, it is not possible to get food, pure air to breathe etc.
2. Biological Resources
It has economical importance such as:
(a) Food, fibre, medicines, fuel wood and ornamental plants species
(b) Breeding material for crop improvement- Wild relatives of cultivated crop plants contain valuable genes that are of immense genetic value in crop improvement programmes.
(c) Future resources- The conservation of biological diversity has close affinity to the discovery of new biological resources because knowledge of the uses of wild plants by the local people is often a source for ideas on developing new plant products.
3. Social Benefits
(a) Recreation- Forest, wildlife, national parks, biosphere reserve, sanctuaries are the prime spot for ecotourism, photography, painting, film making and literary works.
(b) Cultural values- Plant and animal species are one of the important part of cultural life of humans. It has parallel existence because environment and biological diversity can be imparted a distinct cultural identity to the number of communities. For Example- Bishnoi Community. Plants like Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum), Peepal (Ficus religiosa), Khejri (Prosopis cineraria) are planted and considered sacred and worshipped.