Biodiversity loss: why it is a major problem, causes and solutions

Sushree Behera

Did you know that around 1 million plants and animal species face extinction? This is known as biodiversity loss. Every living being on earth is connected, and the unnatural loss of one disturbs the whole balance of the world.

Therefore, it is very important to take proper action against biodiversity loss. Keep reading this article to learn everything about biodiversity loss and how to stop it. 

Why is biodiversity loss a problem?

Biodiversity refers to the collection of every living organism in the world. Every human being and all other living beings in the world depend on the proper functioning of biodiversity for survival. We depend on nature for plant-based and animal-based food items. 

We are also dependent on nature for other economic benefits like tourism and social benefits like healthcare. Biodiversity is, therefore, very important for human beings as well as other living organisms. Thus, biodiversity loss is a major problem for human beings since it directly threatens our existence.

Causes of biodiversity loss

Both natural activities and man-made activities can cause biodiversity loss. Natural activities include natural calamities like forest fires, floods, droughts, etc. In contrast, man-made activities include habitat loss, invasive species, pollution, overexploitation, and, most importantly, climate change. Here are the causes of biodiversity loss explained in detail.

1. Natural activities 

Did you know that hundreds of acres of trees are burnt every year due to forest fires? Forest fires and other natural activities like floods, droughts, and soil erosion contribute to a huge amount of biodiversity loss. Therefore, natural calamities must be dealt with utmost caution since they can cause serious problems.

2. Habitat loss

Habitat loss refers to the destruction of natural habitat to the extent that it becomes unable to support its native species. The living being had to move to new habitats or die trying, which led to a drastic loss of biodiversity.

3. Invasive species

Every ecosystem is unique since it is formed after developing a perfect balance between all the living organisms and inanimate objects found in that ecosystem. The introduction of any non-native species in the ecosystem can acutely disrupt it. This leads to significant loss.

4. Overexploitation

Overexploitation is utilizing natural resources to the extent that it is beyond replenishable. For example, excessive fishing has led to the extinction of many species. Excessive cutting of trees, known as deforestation, has also led to significant biodiversity loss.

5. Pollution

This list wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t include pollution. This is because pollution, especially air, water, and soil pollution, is a major cause of biodiversity loss. Every living organism depends on air and water, and the trees also depend on the soil. So, if they are polluted, the living being will face difficulties in survival, leading to biodiversity loss.

6. Climate change

Lastly, the most alarming cause of biodiversity loss is climate change. Every species in the world can survive in a specific environment. And because of this, you can’t find all living species around the globe. But, the significant increase in global temperature, popularly known as global warming, has disturbed the balance of global environments. This can cause unanticipated deaths and drastic loss of biodiversity.

Solutions to prevent biodiversity loss

Since biodiversity loss is occurring rapidly, we need quick solutions to counter the terrifying problem. Also, most plants and animals need to be handled with care, and any significant change in their habitat can lead to unforeseen consequences. Therefore, every solution needs to be planned out carefully first. So, here are the solutions that are guaranteed to have positive change.

1. Put pressure on governments

There is no supreme authority than the local government within a particular territory. Thus, any measure to tackle biodiversity loss must first have the government’s approval. So, governments need to be pressured by the public to support and take active measures against the loss of it.

2. Restrict invasive species

You have already read about how devastating invasive species can be for an ecosystem. And the invasive species are mostly introduced in a native ecosystem through illegal trading. Therefore, special attention needs to be placed on illegal trading and any other accidental release of invasive species.

3. Habitat restoration measures

Successful restoration and maintenance of natural habitats should be specifically taken care of. Any unnatural migration of living beings should be prevented at all costs to maintain the ecological balance.

4. Dealing with the other threats to biodiversity 

Other threats to biodiversity, like forest fires, deforestation, pollution, floods, droughts, etc., also need special attention. More advanced technologies need to be utilized, and more planned policies need to be implemented to deal with these issues efficiently.

5. Making eco-friendly choices 

Lastly, none of those steps will work if humans don’t start making eco-friendly choices. Instead of using plastic items, you can use jute bags. Similarly, instead of cutting trees, you should plant some trees. At the individual level, steps like this will help prevent further biodiversity loss.

Can mankind combat biodiversity loss?

Yes, mankind can definitely combat biodiversity loss. In fact, it’s essential for us to do so – biodiversity is the foundation of all life on Earth, and we depend upon its health for our own survival. We can take a number of actions to preserve and replenish biodiversity.

Firstly, conserve existing species and habitats which are threatened by human activities, like habitat destruction and pollution. This can be done through legislation and by providing incentives for individuals and corporations to conserve land and resources. 

Secondly, create artificial habitats which recreate the natural environment. These might include parks or reserves with particular species of plant or animal life that have been lost from the area due to previous human activity. Thirdly, introduce species into an ecosystem that has become extinct in the area. This can be done to restore a balance between predator and prey populations or to help maintain genetic diversity within a species. 

Finally, educating people about biodiversity loss and its consequences is important. The more we understand our impact on nature, the better we can protect it. Through spreading awareness and creating education programs, we can encourage people to engage in activities such as sustainable farming and eco-tourism, which help conserve it. 

Read also: Vertical forests around the world, extraordinary examples of sustainable architecture and design

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