Biodiversity conservation for a sustainable future

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ALL life forms ranging from bacteria to plants or animals play important roles in harbouring life
in the universe. These life forms have an unbreakable relationship with one another and it is
impossible for any life form to survive on earth without the direct or indirect support of other
organisms.
Biodiversity can be defined as all the different kinds of life found in one area, the variety of
plants, animals, fungi and small micro-organisms like bacteria make up our natural world.
Biodiversity supports everything in nature that we need to survive – that is food, medicine, clean
water and shelter.
Three quarters of the land based environment and roughly 60 percent of the ocean environment
have been altered, with climate change worsening the impact of other stressors on nature and our
well-being. Humans have overfished the oceans, cleared forests, polluted water sources and
created a climate crisis. These actions are impacting biodiversity around the world from the most
remote areas to our own backyards thus there is serious need of biodiversity conservation.

Importance of biodiversity conservation includes:
 Different species of animals and plants serve as the source of food for other animals and
living organisms. Thus conserving biodiversity helps to keep the food chain among the
living organisms.
 The decline in the variety of plants and animals would mean the decline in the variety of
food we eat, so this is likely to result in nutritional deficiencies.
 Plants and trees have a greater ability to purify the air and keep the atmosphere clean. As
there is a decrease in the number and types of trees and plants, this affects the quality of
air negatively.
 Fertility of soils is maintained by many insects. Organisms and micro-organisms work on
different levels so we have to maintain the level of micro-organism, which is better for
the cultivation of crops.
 For making different medicines, many species of trees and plants are used so as to cure
various diseases.

Methods to conserve biodiversity that can be used are:
 Educating people about the importance of biodiversity conservation increases the public
awareness of the issue. As public awareness increases people become more involved and
eventually influence their government representatives, pushing for more environmental
protection
 Sustainable living such as taking shorter showers, riding a bike or walking to work or
buying eco-labelled products helps reduce the amount of resources we use.
 Habitat restoration- after an area is damaged by human impacts, we can try to return it to
its natural state, and this means bringing back the plants and animals that are naturally
found there. This has been shown to be the promising way of returning biodiversity to a
region.
 Reducing the amount of invasive species such as lantana camara (Ubuhobe), opuntia
fulgida (uMayeqela).

Biodiversity conservation is the responsibility and obligation of every citizen in order to hand
over a lively planet to the future generation, which desperately needs the environment as much as
we do! TOGETHER, PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT.

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