Biodiversity by definition is the variety of animal and plant life ranging from all habitats, its organisms and ecological processes they are part of. This involves diversity within species and between species. Biodiversity forms the foundation of the vast array of eco – services that contribute to human wellbeing and the sustainability of the environment. Diversity in living things enhances our lives, but more essentially, biodiversity is indispensable to life on earth. It is a reserve for food, housing, clothing and other resources. The economy counts on biodiversity since it offers renewable economic resources and ecosystem services, therapeutic and scientific benefits, and is inestimable in terms of national and aesthetic values.
Furthermore, biodiversity is imperative to humans. Plants, for instance, support humans by giving off oxygen. They also provide food, shade, building material, medicines, and fiber for clothing and paper. The roots of plants help avert flooding, purifying air and water. Meanwhile, biodiversity provides a variety of ecosystem services, which are critical to human survival and the economy. Different organisms are responsible for controlling invasive or pest species, preserving soil fertility, pollinating and thereby retaining various vegetation, detoxifying and decomposing wastes, and regulating climate. These ecosystem services are intricate natural processes that are connected in ways that are not fully understood. Therefore, the impact of losing any one of these processes could be disastrous or catastrophic.
Again, biodiversity enlivens our tourism industry and allows us to explore a vast array of voyage and ecotourism experiences. In addition, since most pharmaceutical drugs are gotten directly and indirectly from plants and animal species, Medicine depends on biodiversity. However, only roughly 2 percent of the flowering plants in the world have been studied for their possible pharmacological effects. New discoveries, often in unexpected areas, are ongoing. For example, Taxol – an anticancer drug, was discovered in the bark of Pacific Yew trees Taxus brevifolia.
All Living species are intertwined. They depend on one another. Forests provides habitat for animals. Animals feed on plants. The plants need healthy soil to grow. Fungi help in putrefication to enrich the soil. Insects and other animals carry pollen from one plant to another, which allows the plants to reproduce. When biodiversity becomes less, these connections wanes and sometimes break, harming all the living species in the ecosystem including humans.
Despite the aforementioned roles, biodiversity plays, there are quite a number of threats facing planet’s earth biodiversity. From climate change to pollution (such as plastic pollution), deforestation and habitat loss to over exploitation, invasive species to countless number of other factors, threaten biodiversity leading to decline and in extreme cases extinction with dire consequences to our survival and environmental sustainability.
What can we do? We can take various steps to reduce our carbon footprints, promote education, adopt and implement relevant policies to prevent deforestation, enforce relevant conservation policies, engage sustained and continued awareness surrounding the danger of overexploitation, create systems to prevent introduction of invasive species in the first place and effectively monitor for new infestations and swiftly eradicate newly detected invaders. Furthermore, vigorously create awareness, sensitize young children and adults in schools and communities on the rich value of plastic waste, and effectively engage the four R’s; Rethink, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
At LUFASI, we actively engage in the protection of biodiversity by promoting awareness of the natural environment
and biodiversity conservation to the public through various workshops (Climate Change and Plastic Pollution), advocacies, nature tours, bird watches and others. Furthermore, we actively commemorate each year’s International Day for Biodiversity to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. LUFASI, a 20-hectare urban forest isolated in the midst of a densely populated Lekki Peninsula of Lagos, Nigeria is one of the last remaining green belts in the state and is home to numerous species of wildlife, birds, insects and trees including the Critically Endangered (IUCN) Hooded Vulture Necrosyrtes monachus, Ekki Tree – Lophira alata and others.