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Biodiversity Crisis Affects Many Organisms that Rely On Other Wild Species

By: Catherine Wang

What is “biodiversity”? Biodiversity refers to having many different types of living organisms in one place. And did you know that billions of people globally rely on at least 50,000 species for food, energy, medicine, and even their paychecks? Well, now you do! But recently, scientists have found that biodiversity is slowly decreasing.

Why does that even matter? Well, in order for one organism to survive, they need other living organisms to help it thrive and survive by providing food and shelter. Marla R. Emery, Co-Chair of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services even stated that, “Half of humanity benefits from and makes use of wild species, and often without even knowing that they’re doing so.”

Another thing is living organisms often make sure that other species don’t get overpopulated. For example, bark beetles eat tree bark so they can survive, and woodpeckers eat the bark beetles to make sure that they don’t overpopulate and eat all of the tree bark. This also saves room for beavers and squirrels to build homes with the extra bark, so they don’t go extinct in that area.

So, what happens if one of the organisms in an ecosystem suddenly goes extinct? Well, if the woodpeckers go extinct in an area, then the bark beetle population will grow. This means tree bark would become less and less populated. Then beavers and squirrels would have to leave too. So, this makes the area not so biodiverse anymore and can make the populations of the animals that were forced to migrate decrease.

Sadly, it has become a reality that many areas aren’t biodiverse anymore. This is because people are hunting more, and they have started clearing the natural habitat of these animals.

In order to stop more areas from becoming non-biodiverse, people decided to turn to Indigenous people for help. Why? Because Indigenous people are very resourceful, and many of their resources rely on wildlife without harming the biodiversity of the areas they’re in. Viviana Figueroa, who is an Argentine Indigenous lawyer, said that “If wildlife disappears, our culture is at risk, our lifestyle and our livelihood is at risk.”

In order to make change, people have brought up a few ways to reduce the increase of non-biodiversity. The first way is to stop illegal fishing, hunting, killing, and to stop overfishing and supporting small, scaled fisheries. The second way is to reduce the number of trees we are chopping down.

Now that areas are becoming less and less biodiverse, many animals have to leave their destroyed habitat. But because of this, their chances of survival are rock bottom, which would get them easily killed. And if that keeps happening in every place that this organism has to escape, then they would quickly be put on the endangered list. Or even worse, go extinct.

And even though there has been only a little progress made, we will have to continue to go one step at a time towards protecting the Earth’s biodiversity.

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