Biodiversity can be explained as the variety of living organisms like plants, animals and microorganisms on earth. Irrespective of their dimensions and habits, each living organism tends to play an essential role in biodiversity.
Together, all living organisms increase the productivity of their ecosystem. For instance, a significant number of plants assure an increase in the variety of crops for consummation.
As a result, it ensures natural sustainability for every organism in the ecosystem. It further makes it all the more important to conserve the biodiversity from any harm.
In a broad sense, there are three levels of biodiversity, namely, genetics, species and ecosystems. Notably, the richest and maximum biodiversity is found in forests, especially the one located in the tropical and equatorial regions.
On that note, let’s proceed to find out more about the diversity of plants and animals and their importance for humans.
Fun fact: The term ‘Biodiversity’ was coined in1985 by Walter G. Rosenand is a compound word for ‘biological diversity’.
It is simply the collection of all floras within a specific area. Each of such flora differs in species composition, physical attributes and contributions to the ecosystem they exist in.
Plant biodiversity serves as a primary source of food, shelter and agriculture and includes varied types of trees, shrubs, grasses, herbs, bushes, ferns, vines and moss.
However, overexploitation, deforestation, use of chemical fertilisers and clearing forests for agriculture are some of the persistent threats to this biodiversity.
It is noteworthy that with plants being the only source of oxygen and the major source of carbohydrate, we need to conserve floras and their natural habitat at all cost.
The biodiversity of animals comprises several species of faunas, which differ significantly in their physical attributes, composition and functioning.
Over the years, human beings have trained and domesticated animals to meet several needs and requirements. Notably, animals have been used extensively in the production of food, as a means of transportation, etc.
Loss of habitat, hunting, poaching and over-exploitation are some of the several threats that animals are faced with for many years. Since the biodiversity of plants and animals are interdependent on one another, constant efforts must be made to maintain a healthy balance in biodiversity.
DIY: Write differences between flora and fauna and give suitable examples for each.
Importance of Plants and Animals in Human Life
These pointers highlight the scientific, aesthetic and economic importance of plants and animals in human life –
Serve as a food source ensuring food security.
They act as natural sources of medicine.
Helps to stabilise land against erosion.
Facilitates the degradation of waste.
True or False: a) Deforestation is the act of planting trees and sowing seeds.
Do You Know around 12% of bird species and 24% of mammals are currently under the threat of extinction? With that being said, let’s find out major threats on animal and plant biodiversity.
Threats to Biodiversity
Invasive Species and diseases
Overexploitation of Species
All these, coupled with other irresponsible human activities, can lead to the extinction of different species. In which, it hampers the balance and sustainability of the ecosystem.
DIY: Write 4 tips to conserve plant and animal biodiversity.
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1. What is the study of plants and animals called?
The study of plants and animals is called biology. Based on the subjects studied, biology is divided into three parts – botany, zoology and microbiology; the study of plants, animals and organisms respectively.
2. What is the role of animals in an ecosystem?
Animals play a vital role in maintaining the balance and sustainability of an ecosystem. Typically, some animals play a significant role in agriculture, while others facilitate pollination. Similarly, animals are also responsible for maintaining the nitrogen cycle.
3. What is the importance of plants and animals in our life?
Plants and animals coexist, and one cannot sustain in an ecosystem without another. While plants serve as the source of oxygen, food and shelter, animals are responsible for maintaining the balance of the food chain, among other things.