You are on page 1of 15

WHAT IS BIODIVERSITY?

BIODIVERSITY = BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY



the variability among living organisms from all sources including terrestrial,
marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which
they are a part

diversity of all organisms, species and populations; the genetic variation among
these; and all their complex assemblages of communities and ecosystems
Concepts of Biodiversity:
1. Means life or wilderness or other conservation values. Also has served
on occasion as a catch-all for conservation itself.


2. functional and compositional perspectives.
functional concern with ecosystem and evolutionary processes
compositional organisms as aggregated into populations, species,
higher taxa, communities and other categories


3. As inevitably value-laden each having different values (ethics)


4. Corresponding to a dramatic transformation for biologists from a bits and
pieces approach to a much more holistic approach.
CONCEPTS of BIODIVERSITY:
THREE LEVELS OF BIODIVERSITY
Genetic diversity: all the different genes contained in all individual plants,
animals, fungi and microorganisms. It occurs within a species
as well as between species.



Species diversity: all the differences within and between populations of species,
as well as between different species



Ecosystem diversity: all the different habitats, biological communities and
ecological processes, as well as variation within individual
ecosystems
Distribution of biodiversity
Biodiversity is not evenly distributed, rather it varies greatly across the globe as well as
within regions. Among other factors, the diversity of all living things (biota) depends on
temperature, precipitation, altitude, soils, geography and the presence of other species.

Diversity consistently measures higher in the tropics and in other localized regions such
as the Cape Floristic Region and lower in polar regions generally. Rain forests that have
had wet climates for a long time, such as Yasuni National Park in Ecuador, have
particularly high biodiversity.


Latitudinal gradients

Generally, there is an increase in biodiversity from the poles to the tropics. Thus localities
at lower latitudes have more species than localities at higher latitudes. This is often
referred to as the latitudinal gradient in species diversity. Several ecological mechanisms
may contribute to the gradient, but the ultimate factor behind many of them is the greater
mean temperature at the equator compared to that of the poles.
How many species are there?
1758 Carolus Linnaeus 13,000

1995 Hammond 1.7 million (estimated 13.6 million)
Viruse
s
Bacteria Fungi Protozo
a
Algae Plants Arthro. Other
Animals
Describe
d
species
4,000 4,000 72,000 40,000 40,000 270,000 1,065,000 255,000
Estimate
d
species
richness
400,000 1 million 1.5
million
200,000 400,000 320,000 8,900,000 900,000
SPECIES COMPOSITION (Malaysia):
Up to date about 1.75 million species known to science

Malaysia: Flowering plants 15,000
Mosses 1,000
Mammal 286
Birds 736
Marine fish 4,000
Freshwater fish 449
Reptile 268
Insects 150,000
Species as equal unit
- must try to save all species
- more holistic
- knowledge is lacking about all species



Alternatives to Unit-species
- through a functional perspective focus to ecosystem processes
- seen at every level of biological variation
- shift from elements to processes
A biogeographic region with a significant reservoir of biodiversity that is under threat
from humans.

To qualify as a biodiversity hotspot, a region must meet two strict criteria: it must contain
at least 0.5% or 1,500 species of vascular plants as endemics, and it has to have lost
at least 70% of its primary vegetation.

Around the world, 25 areas qualify under this definition, with nine other possible
candidates. These sites support nearly 60% of the world's plant, bird, mammal, reptile
and amphibian species, with a very high share of endemic species.


Biodiversity hotspot
Hotspot conservation initiatives

Several international organizations are working in many ways to conserve biodiversity
hotspots.

1.Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) is a global program that provides
funding and technical assistance to nongovernmental organizations and participation
to protect the Earth's richest regions of plant and animal diversity including:
biodiversity hotspots, high-biodiversity wilderness areas and important marine
regions. CI works in more than 40 countries on four continents, with headquarters
near Washington, D.C

2.The World Wildlife Fund has derived a system called the Global 200 Ecoregions,
the aim of which is to select priority Ecoregions for conservation within each of 14
terrestrial, 3 freshwater, and 4 marine habitat types. They are chosen for their
species richness, endemism, taxonomic uniqueness, unusual ecological or
evolutionary phenomena, and global rarity. All biodiversity hotspots contain at least
one Global 200 Ecoregion.
Hotspot conservation initiatives

3. Birdlife International has identified 218 Endemic Bird Areas (EBAs) each of which
hold two or more bird species found nowhere else. Birdlife International has identified
more than 11,000 Important Bird Areas all over the world.

4. Plantlife International coordinates several the world aiming to identify Important Plant
Areas.

5. Alliance for Zero Extinction is an initiative of a large number of scientific organizations
and conservation groups who co-operate to focus on the most threatened endemic
species of the world. They have identified 595 sites, including a large number of
Birdlife s Important Bird Areas.

6. The National Geographic Society has prepared a world map of the hotspots and
ArcView shapefile and metadata for the Biodiversity Hotspots

including details of the
individual endangered fauna in each hotspot, which is available from Conservation
International.
Critiques of hotspots

The high profile of the biodiversity hotspots approach has resulted in considerable
criticism:

Do not adequately represent other forms of species richness (e.g. total species richness
or threatened species richness).

Do not adequately represent taxa other than vascular plants (e.g. vertebrates, or fungi).

Do not protect smaller scale richness hotspots.

Do not make allowances for changing land use patterns. Hotspots represent regions
that have experienced considerable habitat loss, but this does not mean they are
experiencing ongoing habitat loss. On the other hand, regions that are relatively intact
(e.g. the Amazon Basin) have experienced relatively little land loss, but are currently
losing habitat at tremendous rates.

Do not protect ecosystem services

Do not consider phylogenetic diversity.

What Is An Indicator Species?
are plants and animals that, by their presence, abundance, or chemical
composition, demonstrate some distinctive aspect of the character or
quality of the environment
Alternative definitions:

1.A species whose presence indicates the presence of a set of other species
and whose absence indicates the lack of that entire set of species

- when there was a prey there was always a predator around it

2. A keystone species, which is a species whose addition to or loss from an
ecosystem leads to major changes in abundance or occurrence of at least
one other species
Pisaster ochracceus (carnivorous
starfish) in intertidal zones
3. A species whose presence indicates human-created abiotic condition such
as air or water pollution
Hypogymnia physodes - air quality indicator
Tubiflex worm water pollution (freshwater)
What Is An Indicator Species?
6. A species thought to be sensitive to and therefore to serve as early warning
indicator of environmental changes such as global warming.








7. A management indicator species, which is a species that reflects the effects of
a disturbance regime or the efficacy of efforts to mitigate disturbance effects
Respond to environmental changes in forest
What Is An Indicator Species?
FROM SPECIES VALUES TO BIODIVERSITY VALUES
Species Values
- values of individual species
- commodity value and other direct use values (known values)

- species need to be preserved for reasons other than any known value
as resources for human use

- species have some intrinsic value in and for itself

- depend on a human-centered perspective

- preferences-based approaches to valuation can provide economic
(dollar) estimates of value.
- good way to protect species is to place an economic value on
them
- triage based on species prioritization