Major Threats to Biodiversity

What is Biodiversity?

“Biological diversity indicates the variety amongst living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other marine environments and the eco-friendly complexes of which they are a part; this consists of diversity within species, in between species and of ecosystems”.

Biodiversity is fundamental as it guarantees the natural sustainability of all life in the world not only for the current population however likewise for future generations. Nevertheless, biodiversity continues to be threatened and in consequence, it impacts the survival of humans.

Various concerns have been raised by ecological supporters and companies such as the UNEP, WWF, Green Facts Foundation, and EPA with regards to the hazards presented on many of the world’s ecosystems which are increasingly degrading in the state by ending up being unhealthy and out of balance.

Human activities are causing a loss of biological diversity among animals and plants globally approximated at 50 to 100 times the average rate of species loss in the absence of human activities. The rate of decrease would represent 1000 to 10,000 times the expected rate of extinction without logging by people. Some studies recommend that, internationally, as lots as one-half of all mammal and bird species may become extinct within 200 to 300 years. Here are explained a few of the significant risks to biodiversity.

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1.Habitat loss and deforestation


The significant change of environments directly threatens biodiversity. When such environments are lost due to habitat loss and deforestation and other anthropogenic activities such as mining, the respective environments are unable to offer shelter, food, water, or breeding grounds for the living organisms.

In other words, it causes unhealthy and out of balance communities that result in the loss of biodiversity and termination. Deforestation, in particular, is associated with the destruction of about 18 million acres of forest habitats annually, damaging the environments on which numerous species depend on for survival.

2.Global Climate Change

CO2 released from the burning of nonrenewable fuel sources and biomass, deforestation, and agricultural practices contribute to greenhouse gases, which prevent heat from getting away from the earth’s surface. With the boost in temperature level expected from increasing greenhouse gases, there will be greater levels of air pollution, higher irregularity in weather patterns, and changes in the distribution of vegetation in the landscape.


Some species will not have the ability to adapt to these modifications in the environment and will end up being extinct. However, it is expected that numerous plant and animal species will try to distribute to higher latitudes and elevations as the temperature level boosts. For that reason, any barriers in the landscape, such as highways and metropolitan areas that prevent movement to more hospitable environments, will result in loss of biodiversity.

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Desertification and deforestation are the primary causes of biodiversity loss. Both procedures are decisively affected by the extension of farming. The direct cost of deforestation is shown in the loss of valuable plants and animal species. Desertification procedure is the outcome of poor land management which can be exacerbated by climatic variations. Converting wildlands to agriculture typically includes ploughing the soils which lead in temperate areas to an average decrease in soil organic matter between 25 and 40 percent over 25 years.


Reducing soil organic material is always a clear indication of soil deterioration, and frequently is accompanied by decreases in water seepage, fertility, and ability to keep fertilizers. Ploughing also exposes soils to wind and water erosion, resulting in large-scale pollution of freshwater resources.


From the burning of fossil fuels (releasing unsafe chemicals into the atmosphere and, sometimes, diminishing ozone levels) to discarding 19 billion pounds of plastic into the ocean every year, pollution completely interferes with the Earth’s environments. While it may not necessarily cause extinction, contaminants do have the potential to influents species habits.


For example, acid rain, which is generally caused by the burning of fossil fuels, can acidify smaller bodies of water and soil, adversely affecting the species that live there by changing breeding and feeding practices.

5.Invasive or Alien species

The deliberate and inadvertent introductions of a wide range of species to communities in which they do not belong have actually resulted in communities that differ radically in structure and function from those originally present. Exotic types are usually introduced into communities without their co-evolved predators and parasites, which enables an alien invader to out-compete native species with comparable ecological requirements.

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In British Columbia, plants such as Knapweed introduced to arid meadows, and Purple Loosestrife, introduced to the marsh and riparian areas, are rapidly becoming dominant plant species in their particular communities. The interactions between native species are altered or ruined by these exotic species and can lead to the loss of native biodiversity.

6.Increasing Wildlife Trade

The illegal trade is accusing severe hazard to biodiversity. Global trade includes a minimum of 40,000 primates, ivory from at least 90,000 African elephants, 1 million orchids, 4 million live birds, 10 million reptile skins, 15 million furs, and over 350 million tropical fish.


Overhunting, overfishing, and over-harvesting contribute significantly to the loss of biodiversity, killing off various species over the past number of a century. Poaching and other kinds of hunting for profit increase the risk of extinction; the extinction of an apex predator– or, a predator at the top of a food chain– can lead to catastrophic effects for communities.