Every ecosystem is bursting with life- just look at this rainforest!
Reminder: An environment is where beings live, but an ecosystem describes living things interacting with non-living things!
Everywhere you look, you can see a community of different species sharing a habitat and relying on each other for resources to survive.
This is called biodiversity: when many different species live together in an ecosystem- this includes plants too!
The higher the biodiversity, the more types of species coexist and the more stable the ecosystem.
If an ecosystem wants to be healthy, it needs the following:
FOOD + SHELTER + a HEALTHY AND SAFE PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT= A STABLE ECOSYSTEM
As the Earth is one large ecosystem, this applies to us too, meaning human survival depends on protecting our environment so it stays stable and extinction is avoided!
So let’s put all these pieces together:
The smallest change to one creature can affect everyone, like in a food chain, so preserving nature is a key responsibility among humans.
The more habitat damage and the more disruption between native species, the more inevitable extinction seems.
But, while environmental awareness is increasing, humans have already damaged the world in 3 major ways:
Deforestation provides land for farming and housing, but fewer trees mean fewer habitats and less carbon dioxide gas being absorbed from the atmosphere, destabilising the planet.
Next, the increasing population is stressing biodiversity, as more people means more waste, and unfortunately, humans are not very good at managing their rubbish!
Sewage and fertilisers have dirtied our water, toxic gases and smoke are causing air pollution and landfills are damaging land along with toxic chemicals.
And the one we’re all feeling- global warming! More CO2 and methane in the atmosphere is heating the planet through the greenhouse effect. The hotter the planet gets, the more biodiversity suffers- just think about the polar bears!
We are getting better at helping the planet, but money, the rearrangement and potential loss of jobs, and the increasing population needing housing developments are all barriers to global improvement.
So in summary:
COSTS + UNEMPLOYMENT + DEVELOPMENTS= BARRIERS TO CHANGE
It is not all bad news though, as Ecotourism has been successful in helping to restabilise ecosystems by minimising the effect of tourists on biodiversity.
The big bonus is that it’s sustainable, meaning it can replace resources as fast as it uses them!
Ecotourism involves reducing exploitation and strives to make any future developments useful for natives as well as tourists.
Now click next to have a go at answering some questions on biodiversity!