BIODIVERSITY AND CONSERVATION – 01
In this Unit students you will be able to learn the following:
- The concept of biodiversity and its importance
- The pattern of biodiversity in earth and its organization
- The different types of species and its importance
- The increasing loss of biodiversity and various threats associated with
- The need to conserve biodiversity
- The various conservation efforts across various spheres in both national and international level
BIODIVERSITY – INTRODUCTION
“….Biodiversity is the shortened form of two words “biological” and “diversity”. It refers to all the variety of life that can be found on Earth (plants, animals, fungi and micro-organisms) as well as to the communities that they form and the habitats in which they live…”
Biodiversity is the divergence of all species on our planet such as different species of plants, animals and micro-organisms, including their gene pool, and different ecosystems. The term was defined as contraction of biological array by E.O. Wilson in 1985.
In our biosphere immense diversity (or heterogeneity) exists not only at the species level but at all levels of biological organisation ranging from macromolecules within cells to biomes.
According to the IUCN (2004), the total number of plant and animal species described so far is slightly more than 1.5 million, According to Robert May places the global species diversity at about 7 million.
THE CLASSIFICATION OF LIVING THINGS INTO FIVE KINGDOMS
The first person to divide living things into five broad kingdoms was North American ecologist Robert Whittaker.Whittaker’s theory was widely accepted and the scientific community thereby added a new group to the previous four-kingdom system, established by the American biologist Herbert Copeland in 1956.
In the most widely used system of classification these have been divided into 5 main kingdoms: Monera, Protista, Fungi, Plantae and Animalia based on certain common features and are further subdivided into many categories.