Genetic resources are the blueprint for life on earth. The importance of preserving biodiversity and ecosystems lies in the fact that they can ensure that nature stays in balance, along with the protection of threatened species and the communities that depend on them.
Habitat Loss: the Loss of Ecosystems and Biodiversity
Fragmentation of an ecosystem’s soil, plants, hydrologic, and nutrient resources can lead to the loss of individuals or entire populations, resulting in a lack of genetic diversity. Additionally, habitat loss can result from land development, agriculture, pollution, and climate change. Primarily, human activities like constructing buildings and using natural resources, such as trees for paper production, contribute to this loss. Loss of habitat can be overcome by spreading awareness regarding the importance of biodiversity and protecting natural resources by keeping a limited area for human use.
Climate Change is A Major Threat to Ecosystems
Changes in rainfall patterns lead to severe water shortages and flooding. This causes a rise in temperature, leading to soil erosion and a change in crops growing seasons, affecting food security. Moreover, increased temperature leads to changes in the distribution of disease vectors and the extinction of habitats. Agricultural production is more vulnerable to changes in the weather, which ultimately affect global food production. This can be overcome through the cultivation of crop varieties that are adaptable to various environmental stresses.
Detrimental Effects of Population Growth and Urbanization on Ecosystems and Biodiversity
As population increases, modifications are being made to the natural environment to combat the increased need. This inhibits pressure on land and other natural resources for industries, food, agriculture, and shelter, leading to the loss of plant genetic resources (PGR). Furthermore, wars and poverty pose an additional threat to natural resources, exacerbating the overexploitation of PGR. To meet the demand of an increased population, a new food system must be introduced based on a more sustainable agriculture that conserves and uses biodiversity to provide nutrition security.
Effects of Pollution on Biodiversity and Ecosystems
Furthermore, atmospheric and soil pollutants pose the greatest threat to PGR. These harmful pollutants significantly impact the preservation of genetic resources. Industrialization or vehicles mainly release gases, ionizing radiation, and noise, which are the primary forms of pollution. These pollutants can have a direct toxic effect on plants or can change the pH of soil, followed by the solubilization of toxic metal salts. This causes a loss of biodiversity, including microbial and pollinator diversity. This loss of diversity is causing food insecurity. Smog damage to trees is most common these days.
Significant Impacts of Diseases on Biodiversity and Ecosystems
Human-mediated transport of diseases has the greatest impact on biodiversity. Introduced diseases have eliminated many species or pose a threat of extinction to them. Plant pathogens destroy large areas planted with food crops. Furthermore, due to their variability in time, space, and genotype, these pathogens present a substantial challenge when it comes to contro At the biological level, to combat the losses they cause, the requirements are to accurately identify the severity of the disease, the causal organism, its virulence mechanisms, and its effect on yield.
Detrimental Effects of Alien Invasive Species on Biodiversity and Ecosystems
Moreover, humans are both drivers and victims of invasive species. Alien invasive species, being a major cross-cutting issue, have significant impacts on all major economic sectors of countries, including agriculture, the environment, and trade. Lack of management in this issue extends the unprecedented introduction of new invasive plant species. Furthermore, it is having a negative effect on the livelihood of people, especially in rural areas. In some cases, it even causes them to abandon land. However, despite efforts by some communities to utilize invasive plants, it rarely worked.
Preserving Genetic Diversity is Crucial for Maintaining Ecosystem Resilience and Biodiversity.
Genetic erosion is the loss of genetic diversity in plant genetic resources. High-yielding varieties and habitat loss contribute to tree loss and declining biodiversity. Conserving evolving plant and animal species is crucial for future preservation. Controlling genetic vulnerability is vital to prevent potential disasters from pests, pathogens, or environmental hazards.
The importance of preserving genetic resources is undeniable for maintaining ecosystems and biodiversity.
Interactions between humans and the environment provide essential resources and ecosystem services for sustaining life. Preserving genetic resources maintains nature’s balance and sustains food production, water and air purification, and climate stabilization. In this way, biodiversity directly supports human activities and underpins human well-being and livelihoods. Moreover, it provides ethical and economic benefits, and additionally, it adds aesthetic value.