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How does biodiversity contribute to the sustainability of an ecosystem?

Last updated date: 20th Jun 2024
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Hint: An ecosystem is a geographic area that involves the interaction of various abiotic and biotic components to form a stable community.

Complete answer:
A geographic area where the living or biotic components like- plants, animals, and other organisms interact with the abiotic or non-living components like- weather, climate, landscape, water, temperature to form a stable community or a bubble of life is called an ecosystem. The cycling of matter in the ecosystem occurs through a series of food chains, food webs, and nutrient cycles. The matter is transferred from one organism to another as all of them are interconnected with each other.

The cycling of the matter starts from the producers and ends with the decomposers from where it goes back to the environment. The cycling of matter is important in an ecosystem as it allows the transfer of the energy and substances that are essential for the growth, development, various metabolic processes, and survival of living organisms. It is responsible for maintaining the continuity of life.
Biodiversity is the variety and variability of life forms that are present on our planet Earth and includes diversity between and within species. The diversity in species is found in all the ecosystems- terrestrial, marine, aquatic, etc and ranges from the smallest organisms like bacteria to large animals.

Sustainability is the act of the maintenance of the ecological balance by avoiding the depletion and losses of natural resources or living organisms. A greater variety of life forms or biodiversity maintains the natural sustainability of all the living organisms present in the ecosystem. A large number of species ensures that the natural processes are carried out properly and the impact of any external stress is less. Larger biodiversity ensures that several organisms/ species perform a similar function and have a similar contribution to the ecosystem. If by any means, a particular species vanishes or disappears, an ecosystem with lesser biodiversity will be highly affected. Whereas, in a larger biodiversity-ecosystem, the function of that species will be carried out by other species and therefore, the ecosystem will not bear any heavy losses.

Thus, the cycling of matter and nutrients can be carried easily and efficiently in a high diversity ecosystem. A large number of living forms also produces a larger living biome and thus, a large amount of energy is stored in the ecosystem. Also, the competition between the species for food and survival is high and thus, the fit species are naturally selected and the sustainability of the species is maintained. Larger biodiversity also copes up with natural changes like- climate change, habitat change, etc.
Therefore, we can say that the sustainability of an ecosystem is directly proportional to its biodiversity.

Note: A sustainable ecosystem does not undergo any major changes when some disturbing cycles are introduced in the ecosystem and maintains its ecological diversity and characteristic features. The rate of productivity and cycles are also maintained.