The Existence of life is a unique feature of Earth while it’s the most extraordinary feature of life in its diversity. Approximately 10 million types of animals, plants, fungi, and protists inhabit the earth as well as 8 billion people. Decades ago, it was suspected that human actions were dismantling the ecosystem, eliminating biological traits, species, and genes at an alarming rate (Newton ; Adrian, 18). Biodiversity loss is the extinction of species or reduction of individual species in their habitats, this essay will focus on the loss rate, processes of biodiversity loss, potential impacts of biodiversity loss on humans, responses to mitigate Anthropogenic driven biodiversity loss, synthesis, and future challenges.
The rate of global diversity loss is estimated to be 200 to 1000 times higher than the background extinction rate (Morand ; Serge, 135). It is expected to grow in the upcoming years. The losses can be measured using its variation over time and species richness. Besides evenness, heterogeneity and richness are taken as the main dimensions for measuring diversity. Biodiversity is not a single theory but can be split into other various concepts which include biodiversity vs. habitat or Ecosystem diversity vs. habitat. Other different subcategories include species diversity, nucleotide diversity, species diversity, and phylogenic diversity. The significant factors that have contributed to diversity loss include degradation and habitat loss. This is through direct effects resulting to loss of ecological services, climate change through drought stress and heat stress, excessive nutrient load, overexploitation such as excessive fishing and lastly invasion of alien species replacing indigenous species since they compete for a niche.
Processes of Biodiversity Loss
There is a high growing concern about Biodiversity loss to human health. It occurs mainly through natural means and mostly acceleration by humans. The natural process involves biodiversity loss occurring without human intervention. Sexual and natural selection results in loss of adaptive genetic variation but mostly it happens temporarily. During geological periods, biodiversity loss rates have exceeded background rates. Most notable events to explain this are the major extinction happenings namely end Cetaceans, late Permian, and late Devonian ages.
These events occur as a result of climatic conditions which include rapid cooling and global warming, asteroid impacts, volcanic explosions, ocean stagnation where there is reduced upwelling, sea level changes and lastly huge deposition of methane. Asteroids are the most significant contributors where results show around 66 million years ago, they were responsible for mass extinction in the past periods (Hames ; Rachael, 203). However, research shows dinosaurs existence had reduced through speciation rates dropping below other rates ten million years ago before the catastrophic loss occurring. The late Permian event was the most shocking diversity loss where it wiped out 49% of the marine life and 50% of terrestrial life. With the above events, diversity has tried its recovery though in vain because of the likelihood of evolutionary taxa being altered significantly.
Acceleration of Diversity Loss by Humans
Human activations have accelerated diversity loss. Various species are seen to be in a threat of extinction soon. 23% of the world’s mammal species and 42% of amphibian species may get extinct or are in danger. Destruction relies on species traits, phylogeny, and research aiming at knowing the vulnerability of these species. For example, big animals like huge bird breeds, mammals, and reptiles are higher risk of extinction than small-bodied organisms. Plants with low fertility preference are likely not to grow under nitrogen deposition. In the water body sector, mangroves reefs are prone to be highly threatened due to acidification of the ocean. This is because not all oceans are acidified. Amphibians are more threatened compared to reptiles and mammals, and birds flying at a lower level are a higher threat compared to insects. Insects have been poorly researched hence no basic knowledge of their decline, but recent research has shown that there is a 33% chance of them declining. Patterns of a threat of extinction of species occur depending on geographic regions. Areas with high biodiversity (availability of endemic species) such as Jamaica, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic, amphibians appear as a threat.
Anthropogenic activities erode the loss of existence though this information is poorly reported and studied where genetic studies have focused mostly on fisheries, crops, and livestock. In fish, diversity has been created through overfishing, livestock is threatened through much slaughtering in slaughterhouses and crops through much usage of fertilizer making land more acidic, yet acidic soils endanger some plants. In livestock, various inborn breeds are mostly replaced by less breeding animals. Genetic diversity has reduced recently while in other researches it has retained.
The Potential Impact of Biodiversity Loss on Humans
Human health entirely relies on biological life. Ecology provisions comprise how natural ecosystem sustains itself from the benefits, reliability to humans, human wants and needs. The mostly include direct provision of building materials and food. For instance, trees provide timber that is used in making furniture. Ecosystem services provide control systems such as pollination and climate regulation. Different species provide social services that enhance aesthetic, recreation and mostly religious benefits of using nature. For example, people use shrines and parks planted many trees as places of worship. Because of humans relying on this species, diversity loss can cause adverse impacts on human performance, human health, and prosperity. Ecosystem services offer critical support for work, institutes, technology, and energy. A mixture of species can enhance more services described above a low threshold. These mechanisms conclude that a loss of a species determines the extent and type of lost function. This adds up to identifying ways to improve scientific knowledge of any surrounding risk to enlighten people about the control of biodiversity in relation with meeting human needs.
The Role of Genetic Diversity in Ecosystem Services
Species that remain after genetic extinction affect human welfare and ecosystem services. It is a primary cause of variation in individuals. This variation comprises morphological, psychological and behavioral changes. In turn, phenotypic variations affect the contribution of ecosystem services and ecological services. In a situation where there is less genetic diversity, ecological functions are less resistant. For example, plants with high-level genetic diversity produce more consistent yields because herbivores and diseases likely damage them. This kind of mechanism is similar to that of species where a population with a more extensive genetic diversity contains genotypes that steady for a particular function (Gibb, et al, 148). Diverse community exploiting a specific resource is an example of complementarity effect. Through the variety of genotypes, different ecosystem functions are carried out.
Responses to Mitigate Anthropogenic Driven Biodiversity Loss
CBD is an international treaty that was signed ten years ago as a reactor concerning the global biodiversity loss and about 170 countries worldwide confirmed over the settlement. Over the years, the agreement is known to set targets to curb the loss where many are the times they have failed to reach the destination. In 2010, the treaty was reviewed with some of 2020 goals which was the erosion of well-known species threatened to be protected especially in their current information status. The convention was reviewed, and shockingly the goal is being achieved. CBD has concentrated too on developing strategies to reduce genetic extinction. It has enhanced safeguarding the species’ genetic diversity. The lack of achievement of some of the set targets is a black mark against the entire human society.
To address biodiversity loss, it means bringing down initiators of the decline. For example, anthropogenic biodiversity is a known phenomenon that has been in existence since the existence of homosapiens all over the planets. Some of the anthropogenic traits include hunting and change of habitat for humans. They no longer live in caves neither do they hunt in the forest to achieve their physiological needs. Since then, anthropogenic drivers have been set up such as phosphorus and nitrogen pollution hence biodiversity declines accelerating. Species invasion and land utilization changes have enhanced driving economic species losses. Nutrient addition, habitat losses, and increased temperature have also contributed.
Synthesis and Future Challenges
In order to manage the increased rate of biodiversity loss initiated by human activities, it is essential to monitor and understand biodiversity changes. This involves understanding interactions between genetic diversity, and species, understanding the drivers of biodiversity including systems generating biodiversity loss (Loreau ; Michel, 97). Researchers predict future disastrous extinctions in population abundance, species diversity, and genetic diversity. Many fear that this will contribute to the ethical implications of biodiversity and have dangerous influences on humans. Only by increasing knowledge of dynamic biodiversity can people be able to manage ecosystems in a way that ecosystem services that degrade human well-being can be safeguarded from interfering with future generations.