Species Diversity

What is Species Diversity: 

It is defined as the number of species and population of species that lives in that particular environment. The population of species of that particular location is called species richness. There are approximately 1.8 million different species classified on Earth. Of all the total species about one million belongs to insects. New species are being discovered each year. Scientists estimate that there may be between 5 to 30 million species that actually live on Earth. Due to this wide diversity there is different species diversity in different locations as different species are present in different locations depending upon their ability to adapt in that particular environment.

There are Two different Terms Regarding Species Diversity:

  • Species Richness: Number of different species present in an ecosystem. Different areas have different populations as per their adaptive capability. Tropical areas have greater species richness as the environment is suitable and adaptable for a large number of species

  • Species Evenness: Relative abundance of individuals of each of those species. If the number of particular species are constant across the communities then they are called to have a high evenness and if the number of individuals varies from species to species, it is said to have low evenness. High evenness always  leads to greater specific diversity.

With change in adaptive ability and geographical distribution there are two types of species diversity, they are:

  1. Geographical location where there is high species richness but low species evenness.

  2. Another is a geographical location where there is high species evenness and low species richness.

 Importance of Species Diversity:

There are so many positive reasons behind species diversity. Each species has a crucial role in ecosystem management . Example: Saprophytes act as a decomposers, imagine if these saprophytes are not present in the ecosystem there will be no composting which will lead to several environmental problems like disruption of various ecosystem chains. 

Some of the major importance are listed below:

  1. Various species are helpful in purification of water, purification of air, enhance fertility of soils, maintain climatic stability and various other environmental factors.

  2. It contributes to a healthy ecosystem. As each species has a specific link with a wealthy ecosystem. 

  3. More the species richness will be the productivity in the ecosystem which will form a stable ecosystem.

  4. More the specific reason more will be the ability to fight against any disaster.

  5. More the diversity among species more will be their ability to respond against natural disasters like drought.

  6. Because of high species diversity people get various products like fruits, cereals, meat, wood, fibre, etc.

  7. The Amazon forest contributes 20 percent of total oxygen in the earth’s atmosphere.

  8. They maintain soil fertility of ecosystems.

  9. Pollination, symbiotic relationship, decomposition play a very unique role in the ecosystem.

  10. Good biodiversity is necessary for the survival  of mankind.

  11. Apart from these, there are other benefits such as recreation and tourism, education and research

  12. They are also prime destinations for tourists.

Threats on Species Diversity: 

Today's ecosystem is witnessing a large number of extinction of species due to several human activities which are harming our ecosystem. Some of the major loss of biodiversity are listed below: 

  1. Over Exploitation: over harming or exploiting natural resources leads to extinction of many species of biodiversity. Example: Many marine fishes are overharvested which leads to their extinction. 

  2. Loss of Habitat: Due to industrialization, urbanisation various species lost their shelter and food which ultimately leads to extinction of various species. Example: amazon rainforest which is also called as lungs of earth is cut for various purposes. Tropical rainforest which is habitat for millions of species is cut for industrial profits.

  3. Introduction of New Species: When new species are being introduced they start harmfing previous species which causes their extinction. Example: Introduction of catfish in water reservoirs lead to extinction of various existing species.

  4. Co-extinction: when species are interdependent on each other extinction of one species leads to extinction of another also. Example: when a host fish extinct parasites which are dependent on them also get extinct.

Steps Taken for Conservation of Biodiversity: 

There are several steps which are taken by the government to conserve biodiversity as they are getting depleted day by day. Some of the major steps taken by the government are listed below.

  1. Rich biodiversity areas are protected as biosphere reserves, national parks and sanctuaries and this type of conservation are called in-situ conservation. Here endangered species are protected from getting extinct. Example: royal bengal tiger.

  2. Hotspot biodiversity areas are identified which are rich in species population. All over the world there are a total 34 hotspots. Example: Western ghat, Himalaya, etc.

  3. India has various celebrations on protecting and planting trees. One of the famous among them is the Chipko movement.

  4. In various lab and research areas gametes of threatened species are preserved by cryopreservation technique.

  5. Ex-situ where endangered species are identified and are given full protection and care for their conservation.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Explain Species Richness and Species Evenness?

Species Richness: Number of different species present in an ecosystem. Different areas have different populations as per their adaptive capability. Tropical areas have greater species richness as the environment is suitable and adaptable for a large number of species

Species Evenness: Relative abundance of individuals of each of those species. If the number of particular species are constant across the communities then they are called to have a high evenness and if the number of individuals varies from species to species, it is said to have low evenness. High evenness always  leads to greater specific diversity.

2. Explain Various Conservation Acts of Biodiversity?

Some of the major steps taken by the government are listed below.

1. Rich biodiversity areas are protected as biosphere reserves, national parks and sanctuaries and this type of conservation are called in-situ conservation. Here endangered species are protected from getting extinct. Example: royal bengal tiger.

2. Hotspot biodiversity areas are identified which are rich in species population. All over the world there are a total 34 hotspots. Example: Western ghat, Himalaya, etc.

3. India has various celebrations on protecting and planting trees. One of the famous among them is the Chipko movement.

4. In various lab and research areas gametes of threatened species are preserved by cryopreservation technique.

5. Ex-situ where endangered species are identified and are given full protection and care for their conservation.