The term Biodiversity, short for biological diversity, refers
to the diversity of life forms, species, genetic variation, and
ecosystems. Biodiversity is a crucial component of the
environment within which human society exists. Economically
disadvantaged communities in developing nations, particularly those
inhabiting areas of low agricultural productivity, are heavily
dependent upon the genetic diversity of the
Anthropogenic pressures caused by human population growth,
overexploitation of natural resources, and environmental
degradation have resulted in a decline in global
biodiversity. Populations of many species are dwindling,
pushing many organisms close to extinction, and ecosystems are
being destroyed, degraded and fragmented, and are disappearing as a
Some of the main drivers of biodiversity
- Human population growth has resulted in
increased demand for space for habitation and food production.
- Urban sprawl and intensive agriculture
and forestry have encroached upon natural habitats.
- Extension of infrastructure has lead to the
fragmentation of natural landscapes and habitats,
disrupting natural processes and negatively impacting upon
- Overexploitation of natural resources means
that the human population has begun to consume more than the
planet’s ecosystems are able to provide.
- Increased incidences of pollution have
negatively affected the health of flora and fauna, as well as human
- Global climate change may lead to increased
extinction rates as species are unable to adapt or migrate in
response to changing temperatures.
- Invasive alien species are increasingly
entering ecosystem where they outcompete endemic species causing
the extirpation of some organisms, resulting in changes to
ecosystem properties, function and processes.
Conservation refers to sustainably managing
the ways in which humans utilise nature so that it may yield the
greatest sustainable benefit to current generations while
maintaining its potential to meet the needs and aspirations of
future generations. Conservation of
biodiversity is the management of human interactions with
genes, species, and ecosystems and encompasses elements of saving,
studying, and using biodiversity. Conservation is one of the
key elements of ensuring sustainable development.