Throughout history, humans have often regarded themselves as the center of life on Earth. However, the truth is that our existence is intricately interconnected with the natural world. The diversity of plant and animal species, known as biodiversity, plays a crucial role in maintaining the health and stability of our planet.
What Is Biodiversity, and Why Does It Matter?
Animals, from the smallest plankton to apex predators like lions, play a critical role in maintaining environmental stability. Through their actions, they contribute to the dispersal of essential elements, such as fungi, bacteria, nutrients, and water vapor, which enable ecosystems to function properly. They help in the pollination of plants, seed dispersal, and nutrient cycling, and keep food webs in check.
This environmental stability requires a delicate balance between all species. WildAid’s campaigns help keep species on the brink of extinction—and the vital roles they play—from disappearing entirely by reducing the demand for wildlife products.
Let’s dig into some of the ecosystem services we stand to lose with the decline of biodiversity:
The Power of Pollination
Do you like strawberries, avocados, bananas, or chocolate? These foods all come from plants that rely on pollinators to reproduce. In fact, 35% of all agricultural crops require animal pollinators in order to produce the food we eat. And three out of every four flowering plants need pollinators in order to reproduce, too! Put another way, without pollinators, we’d lose one-third of our food and 75% of the flowering plants in the world, which other species depend on, too.
So how do pollinators help plants reproduce? Pollinators need to visit numerous flowers in order to find enough to eat. As they move over the flower, pollen collects on their bodies and is transferred to the next flowers they visit. This fertilizes the flower, and the plant is then able to produce fruit and seeds.
Pollinators depend on being able to visit a large number of flowers in order to consume enough food. Without an adequate supply of flowers, pollinators quickly die. For example, if hummingbirds can’t find enough to eat, they have the potential to starve to death in as few as two hours. And some pollinators rely on specific plants in order to survive. Monarchs, for instance, must lay their eggs on milkweed and consume it during their larval stage. The plant contains toxins that are stored in their bodies and protect them from predators. Without milkweed, we would have no monarch butterflies. And without monarch butterflies, we may not have many of the flowering plants that depend on them to reproduce.
Here are some more important pollinators:
- Honey possums
- Black and white ruffed lemurs
Singing the Praises of Seed Dispersal
Once plants produce seeds, they need a way to spread them to new areas. Many animals fill this vital role by helping to disperse seeds as they move from one place to another. In some cases, plants produce seeds with burrs, hooks, or spines that stick to animals, who then transport the seeds to other places as they travel. Other plants enclose their seeds within tasty fruits that are eaten by animals. The seed is later excreted by the animal in a different area. Some seeds are even eaten twice, first when the initial animal eats it, and then when that animal is eaten by a predator. Passing through the digestive tract of an animal is often vital to plant reproduction because in addition to dispersing the seed, the outer layers or coatings of the seed are often removed, preparing it for germination.
Certain animals, like elephants, play such a critical role in seed dispersal, they are considered keystone species within their ecosystems. Furthermore, some species of plants rely on specific animals to disperse their seed. For example, one species of tree, the Omphalocarpum procerum, relies entirely on African Forest elephants for seed dispersal. Because of its extremely hard shell, no other species of animal is able to eat the donut-shaped fruit the tree produces. Similarly, yew is toxic to many mammals, including humans. However, European badgers are able to eat yew berries and disperse their seeds, helping yew trees grow in new places.
Many other animals also help biodiversity through seed dispersal. Here are just a few:
- Flying foxes
- Galapagos tortoises
Predation Keeps Things in Check
Balance is also important to maintaining biodiversity. If some species become too abundant, they may overconsume resources, resulting in depleting numbers of competing species. As such, predation plays a very important role in biodiversity. By keeping the populations of prey species in check, along with altering their behavior, predators help maintain the balance of the ecosystem and ensure more species are able to thrive in a given environment.
For instance, kelp forests are typically rich in biodiversity, supporting a multitude of species like sea lions, abalones, snails, sponges, giant sea bass, and horn sharks. However, that biodiversity is easily destroyed if just one species is left unchecked–sea urchins. In a healthy ecosystem, otters eat sea urchins, preventing them from overpopulating. However, if otter populations drop, sea urchins are free to overgraze the kelp forest, creating barren areas, and putting other species at risk. This happened in Alaska, where overfishing pollock led to a cascade of changes in other species. Sea lion populations dropped due to the lack of pollock, and killer whales, which normally feed on sea lions, began eating otters instead. As a result, sea urchins overgrazed the kelp forests, leading to loss of habitat and a decline in biodiversity.
Importantly, predators don’t only help biodiversity through eating other animals. They also change the way other species behave. For example, when wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park, an increase in biodiversity was observed. Wolves prey upon elk, which reduces elk populations and helps prevent the elk from overgrazing vegetation. However, scientists believe the change in elk behavior in response to the presence of wolves also plays a large role in increasing biodiversity. That’s because elk now move more frequently and avoid meadows when wolves are present. As a result, aspen and willow stands have recovered and support other species like beavers and songbirds.
Examples of other predators that play important roles in their ecosystems include:
- Mountain lions
- Sea stars
Nutrient Cycling is Critical
Have you ever thought about how nutrients move from one area to another? Nutrient cycling is vital to biodiversity, and many animals play a role in this critical process. If you’ve ever tried to grow a garden and struggled with poor soil or observed a pond becoming overgrown with algae, you’ve witnessed how important nutrient cycling is to the balance of the ecosystem. Both insufficient and excessive amounts of nutrients harm biodiversity by preventing many species from surviving. Animals help increase biodiversity by consuming and excreting nutrients, which then fertilize the environment and support the growth of other species.
For example, phosphorus is essential to plant growth and therefore to the survival of species that depend on that plant growth. Historically whales have played a critical role in moving phosphorus from the ocean to the land. Whales feed deep within the ocean and then swim to the surface to defecate. The nutrients in their waste are then carried to the land by seabirds and migrating fish, like salmon. However, scientists estimate that because of the decline in whale populations driven by hunting, whales now move only about 23% of the phosphorus they once transported. This change in nutrient cycling could mean that within 50 years, we will run out of easily accessible phosphate for use in fertilizers.
Decomposition is another important part of nutrient cycling. When animals die, for instance, scavengers like vultures consume their bodies, including parts like bones and hair that other animals have difficulty digesting. When the vultures later defecate, nutrients are spread to new areas. Scientists believe vultures even play a role in preventing disease by removing bacteria and viruses from the environment. When vultures digest the carrion they eat, bacteria and viruses are destroyed by their stomach acid. This, then, stops disease from spreading to other animals.
This Year’s Theme Reflects Recent Progress
The UN has designated the theme of this year’s International Day for Biological Diversity as “from agreement to action: build back biodiversity.” That’s to reflect the progress that was recently made with the adoption of the Kunming-Montreal Biodiversity Framework. This agreement aims to both stop and reverse the loss of biodiversity by 2050 through the achievement of specified goals. However, in order for those goals to be achieved, nations around the world must take action on all the measures specified in the agreement by 2030.
It is crucial that we all let our elected officials know we care about protecting biodiversity through implementing the Kunming-Montreal Biodiversity Framework. So as you celebrate this International Day for Biological Diversity, don’t forget to reach out to your representatives. A phone call, email, or letter will let them know biodiversity matters to you!
Everyday Ways You Can Help Our Planet’s Biodiversity
By understanding and valuing the importance of biodiversity and the role animals play, we can strive to protect and conserve the rich tapestry of life that supports us. For example, planting trees and other plants that are native to your area creates vital habitat and food sources for other species. So choose native plants for your landscaping, add native trees to your yard, or ask about planting native trees in your local parks.
Take steps to protect the environment by making sure things like pet waste, fertilizer, trash, plastic, and motor oil don’t enter the water. Recycling as much as you can helps keep waste out of the environment, too. And consider volunteering to help clean up natural habitats so more species can survive.
Remember to say no to products that harm biodiversity, especially anything made from endangered species like pangolins and elephants. Don’t capture or keep wild animals. And prevent pets like cats from roaming freely, so they don’t kill native species.
Finally, consider supporting organizations like WildAid that are working to protect endangered species and vital habitats. You can learn more about the work we are doing to help species like elephants,sea turtles,pangolins, andtigersby visiting ourProgramspage.
WildAid is also working to protect the biodiversity and delicate ecosystems of our oceans through our BLUEPRINT for Marine Protection program. This program empowers local leaders to strengthen law enforcement and conservation of vulnerable marine areas. To date, we have helped improve protections for more than 8,500 marine species.
Just as every animal species plays an important role in the earth’s biodiversity, every person has the potential to positively impact our planet’s biodiversity. If we all make simple changes like these, we can help other species and restore the earth’s biodiversity.
Stay in touch and get the latest WildAid updates.
WildAid is a non-profit organization with a mission to protect wildlife from illegal trade and other imminent threats. While most wildlife conservation groups focus on protecting animals from poaching, WildAid primarily works to reduce global consumption of wildlife products such as elephant ivory, rhino horn and shark fin soup. With an unrivaled portfolio of celebrity ambassadors and a global network of media partners, WildAid leverages more than $308 million in annual pro-bono media support with a simple message:When the Buying Stops, the Killing Can Too.
Journalists on deadline may firstname.lastname@example.org
Why do we celebrate the International Day of Biological Diversity? ›
Now is time to act for biodiversity! The United Nations has proclaimed May 22 The International Day for Biological Diversity to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues.What is the theme of the International Day of Biological Diversity? ›
To mark this incredible and historic achievement, the proposal for this year's theme is “From Agreement to Action: Build Back Biodiversity" which builds on the results of COP 15.What is the theme of the International Day of Biological Diversity 2023? ›
The theme for International Day for Biological Diversity 2023 is “From Agreement to Action: Build Back Biodiversity.” This theme reflects the urgent need to move beyond commitments and translate them into tangible actions to restore and protect biodiversity.What are the 3 pillars of biodiversity? ›
Usually three levels of biodiversity are discussed—genetic, species, and ecosystem diversity.What is the value of biodiversity? ›
The biggest impact of biodiversity is on the environment. Healthy ecosystems help to maintain the Earth's natural processes. Soil turnover, water purification, pest control, and other processes wouldn't be possible without the species that support them.How do you celebrate Bio Diversity Day? ›
Visit your local library or museum library. Look for books about nature, animals, plants, ecosystems, and more.What are the quotes of International Day for Biological Diversity? ›
- A lifetime can be spent in a Magellanic voyage around the trunk of a single tree. ...
- In planting trees, aim to perpetuate an ecosystem, not a plantation. ...
- The purpose of all diversity is companionship.
The benefits of conserving biodiversity
Preserving genetic diversity ensures the continuing existence of a wide-range of crops that may be able to withstand disease, and potentially useful biochemicals such as those used in healthcare. It also means availability of species for pollination and pest control.
That is why the theme of the International Day for Biological Diversity is from agreement to action: build back biodiversity. The slogan promotes the idea that, now that we have an action plan agreed upon at a global level, we must implement all the measures that the agreement contemplates before 2030.What is the message from the Convention on Biological Diversity? ›
Its overall objective is to encourage actions, which will lead to a sustainable future. The conservation of biodiversity is a common concern of humankind. The Convention on Biological Diversity covers biodiversity at all levels: ecosystems, species and genetic resources.
What is biodiversity in biology? ›
Biodiversity — short for biological diversity — is the variety of all living things and their interactions. Biodiversity changes over time as extinction occurs and new species evolve. Scientists often speak of three levels of diversity: species, genetic, and ecosystem diversity.What is Diversity Day? ›
Held every year on 21 May, the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development celebrates not only the richness of the world's cultures, but also the essential role of intercultural dialogue for achieving peace and sustainable development.What are the major threats to biodiversity? ›
Threats to biodiversity include the burning of fossil fuels and clearing forests and other wild lands for industrialized agriculture. More direct human interventions such as poaching and hunting can also have a serious effect.Which country has the largest biodiversity? ›
Brazil. It is the country with the greatest biodiversity of flora and fauna on the planet. Brazil has the highest number of species of known mammals and freshwater fish, and more than 50,000 species of trees and bushes, it takes first place in plant diversity.What are 3 ways biodiversity is important? ›
Utilitarian values include the many basic needs humans obtain from biodiversity such as food, fuel, shelter, and medicine. Further, ecosystems provide crucial services such as pollination, seed dispersal, climate regulation, water purification, nutrient cycling, and control of agricultural pests.Why is biodiversity so valuable to us? ›
Biodiversity is essential for the processes that support all life on Earth, including humans. Without a wide range of animals, plants and microorganisms, we cannot have the healthy ecosystems that we rely on to provide us with the air we breathe and the food we eat.What are the 5 values of biodiversity? ›
- Environmental values.
- Social values.
- Ecosystem services.
- Economic values.
- Value of consumptive use.
- Value of productive use.
- Moral and ethical values.
- Aesthetic values.
- Consumptive use Value: ...
- Productive use Values: ...
- Social Value: ...
- Ethical Value: ...
- Aesthetic Value: ...
- Option Values: ...
- Ecosystem Service Value:
What are the causes and why does biodiversity matter? Biodiversity, or the variety of all living things on our planet, has been declining at an alarming rate in recent years, mainly due to human activities, such as land use changes, pollution and climate change.What is a powerful quote about Diversity? ›
“Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.” – Stephen Covey. “We need diversity of thought in the world to face the new challenges.” – Tim Berners-Lee. “Learn to enjoy and respect each other's differences.” – Fred Meijer. “In diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” – Maya Angelou.
What are four slogans on biodiversity? ›
2) Biodiversity we should keep, so in the future, we don't weep. 6) We are all part of the circle of life and let's live in peace and not in strife. 7) Flora and fauna all are co-related and animals and flowers need not be hated.What is a meaningful quote about Diversity? ›
“I can tell you, without diversity, creativity remains stagnant.” “The greater the diversity, the greater the perfection.” “The path to diversity begins with supporting, mentoring, and sponsoring diverse women and men to become leaders and entrepreneurs.” “Diversity is the one true thing we all have in common.What are 5 reasons why biodiversity is important? ›
- Biodiversity protects against climate change. Healthy ecosystems mitigate climate change. ...
- Biodiversity ensures food security. © Naude Huenis. ...
- Biodiversity fights disease. ...
- Biodiversity supports communities. ...
- Biodiversity yields economic benefits.
Biodiversity supports human and societal needs, including food and nutrition security, energy, development of medicines and pharmaceuticals and freshwater, which together underpin good health.What are 10 benefits of biodiversity? ›
- #1. Biodiversity is linked to cleaner water.
- #2. Healthy soil is diverse.
- #3. Biodiversity is vital for healthy plants and animals.
- #4. Biodiversity means better food security.
- #5. Biodiversity protects medicinal plants.
- #6. Less biodiversity means more zoonotic disease.
- #7. ...
2. Truth be bold, biodiversity is worth more than gold. -In Situ conservation : is the most appropriate method to maintain species of wild animals and plants in their natural habitats.What is the most effective way to protect biodiversity? ›
Support local and regional projects aimed at tackling biodiversity loss. Buying fewer products and making sure the products you do buy minimise the impact on biodiversity. Investing in ways that promote biodiversity. Reducing waste of consumer goods: food, clothes, electrical appliances, etc.How the Convention on Biological Diversity promotes nature and human well being? ›
The Convention establishes three main goals: the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits from the use of genetic resources.What is the explanatory note on conservation of biological diversity? ›
Conservation of biological diversity leads to conservation of essential ecological diversity to preserve the continuity of food chains. The genetic diversity of plants and animals is preserved. It ensures the sustainable utilisation of life support systems on earth.What are some fun facts about biodiversity? ›
There are an estimated 8.7 million species of plants and animals on Earth, with only about 1.7 million identified. Scientists believe millions of species have yet to be discovered. The planet's highest levels of biodiversity can be found in the tropics.
What is the difference between biodiversity and biological diversity? ›
Biological diversity, often shortened to biodiversity, is the variation of life at all levels of biological organization, referring not only to the sum total of life forms across an area, but also to the range of differences between those forms.Why is diversity important? ›
Studies have shown that groups of people that are diverse in gender, race, and age perform better, make better decisions, and experience more profitability.What is the purpose of diversity? ›
Benefits of workplace diversity
Increased productivity: A diverse workplace allows for more ideas and processes. This diversity of talent means a broader range of skills among employees, as well as a diversity of experiences and perspectives which increases the potential for increased productivity.
Diversity means having a range of people with various racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and cultural backgrounds and various lifestyles, experience, and interests. Having a variety of individuals and points of view represented in the department. Diversity is a group of people who are different in the same place.What are the 3 biggest threats to biodiversity right now? ›
According to the UN's Convention on Biological Diversity there are five main threats to biodiversity. In descending order these are: changes in land and sea use; direct exploitation of natural resources; climate change; pollution and invasive species.What state has the most biodiversity? ›
Alaska is the most biodiverse state with 15 ecoregions across 3 biomes in the same realm. California comes in a close second with 13 ecoregions across 4 biomes in the same realm. By contrast, Rhode Island is the least biodiverse with just one ecoregion - the Northeastern coastal forests - encompassing the entire state.Is the US the most biodiverse country? ›
Brazil is, by far, the most biodiverse country in the entire world. It has an incredible array of birds, amphibians, mammals, fish, and reptiles, not to mention an astronomical amount of plant species.What is the least biodiverse place on Earth? ›
The tundra does not have much biodiversity and vegetation is simple, including shrubs, grasses, mosses, and lichens. This is partly due to a frozen layer under the soil surface, called permafrost.What happens when there is no biodiversity? ›
Without biodiversity, our entire support system for human, as well as animal life, would collapse. We rely on nature to provide us with food and clean water, for a lot of medicines, and to prevent flooding and other extreme weather effects.What is the most important cause of biodiversity? ›
Biodiversity loss is caused by five primary drivers: habitat loss, invasive species, overexploitation (extreme hunting and fishing pressure), pollution, climate change associated with global warming.
What most important thing did I realize about biodiversity? ›
Diversity in all living things enriches our lives, but more importantly, biodiversity is essential to life on earth. Biodiversity not only maintains a functional environment; it is a resource for food, shelter, clothing and other materials.What is the history of World day for Cultural Diversity? ›
The Origins of Cultural Diversity Day
On November 2, 2001, UNESCO adapted the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity in an effort to recognize the need to unite global cultures in a way to achieve ongoing prosperity, sustainable development, and global peaceful coexistence.
International Cello Day
Join us in celebrating Pablo Casals — the greatest cellist of all time.
31 March 2022 – With the aim of highlighting the importance of biodiversity for many sustainable development issues, this year's slogan for the International Day for Biological Diversity, celebrated each year on 22 May, is “Building a Shared Future for all Life.”What is cultural diversity and why is it important? ›
Essentially, cultural diversity is about bringing people together from a diverse set of backgrounds and cultures, then creating an environment that not only recognizes the differences between those cultures and backgrounds, but celebrates them. It helps create a space for people to be authentically themselves.Why is cultural diversity important? ›
It helps dispel negative stereotypes and personal biases about different groups. In addition, cultural diversity helps us recognize and respect “ways of being” that are not necessarily our own. So that as we interact with others we can build bridges to trust, respect, and understanding across cultures.Why is December 29th important? ›
This Day in History: December 29
The annexation of the Republic of Texas by the United States, approved by the U.S. Congress this day in 1845, sparked the Mexican War because land between the Rio Grande and the Nueces River was disputed territory.
2023 Daily Holidays that fall on December 19, include:
National Emo Day. National Hard Candy Day. National Oatmeal Muffin Day.
The deadly mud slides that washed out a church camp near San Bernardino, Calif., and killed several children also washed away the soil protecting a 300-foot section of pipeline carrying gasoline from California to Nevada. 11:49 a.m.What are some catchy future phrases? ›
Some unique future slogan examples include: "Change your life today. Don't gamble on the future, act now, without delay" by Simone de Beauvoir, "The best way to predict the future is to create it" by Abraham Lincoln, and "Study the past if you want to define the future" by Confucius.
What are two slogans to support healthy life style? ›
Eat Good or Die Bad. Put it in the waste – not on your waist. Eat fruits plenty, keep your body healthy. An apple a day does keep the doctor away.What is a good life slogan? ›
Don't take life serious, enjoy it. Be happy and make others happy too in your life! Eat healthy and live a healthy happy life. Life is a game, play it happily.