Concept and Importance of Biodiversity
Biological diversity or biodiversity is simply the full variety of life on earth – plants, animals and microorganisms – including genes, species and even the entire ecosystems, and the vital services these ecosystems provide to society.
Importance of Biodiversity
- Sustains our life support system on earth/ Contributes to environmental stability
- Provides options for the present and future in terms of bio-resources
Biodiversity is a concern that has direct linkage to poverty and development. The poor in the rural areas are directly dependent on biodiversity resources for food, fuel, shelter, medicines and livelihoods. This variety of living organisms together with its environment provide critical services that are necessary for survival such as air and water purification, soil conservation, disease control, and reduced vulnerability to disasters such as floods, droughts and landslides.
When these resources or its environment are subjected to pressures that exceed their capacity to be resilient or to bounce back to its original state, imbalance in the ecosystem is created. Examples of these pressures are over-exploitation, unsustainable practices and pollution which could result to less production, increased health risks and vulnerability to natural disasters, and loss of livelihood. When imbalance is created, degradation occurs. When situations like these arise, they make lives especially in the rural areas more difficult therefore making development efforts more challenging.
Status of Philippine Biodiversity
The Philippines is considered a mega-diverse country rivaled only by a few countries in the world when it comes to variety of ecosystems, species and genetic resources. Many of the islands comprising the archipelago are believed to have a very high degree of plant and animal endemism. The country hosts more than 52,177 described species of which more than half is found nowhere else in the world. On a per unit area basis, the Philippines probably harbors more diversity of life than any other country on the planet.
The country is also considered a biodiversity hotspot. This is because the Philippines continues to experience an alarming rate of destruction of these important resources brought about by overexploitation, deforestation, land degradation, climate change, and pollution (including biological pollution), among others.