The term ‘Biodiversity’, as defined by Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, is the variety of all forms of life, from genes to species, present throughout in the narrow to the broad scale of ecosystems.
“Biodiversity” was coined as a contraction of “biological diversity” in 1985 by the W.G. Rosen for the first planning meeting of the ‘National Forum on Biodiversity’ held in Washington DC (September 1986), the proceedings of which (E.O. Wilson and F.M. Peter, 1988) brought the notion of biodiversity to the attention of a wide field of scientists and others. But over the years, the new term arguably has taken on a meaning and import of its own.
Why is Biodiversity important? Biodiversity boosts ecosystem productivity where each species, no matter how small, have an important role to play. But, the present times (especially since the Industrial Revolution) have put nature under immense pressure. The rate at which we are exploiting the resources of nature far exceeds the rate at which nature can replenish itself. It is feared that human activity is causing massive extinctions. From various animal species, forests and the ecosystems that forests support, marine life, the costs associated with deteriorating or vanishing ecosystems will be high.
The global importance of biodiversity is now reflected in the widely accepted target to achieve a significant reduction in the rate of loss of biodiversity by declaring 2010 as International Year of BIODIVERSITY. Thus, its high time that everyone should be made aware of the results of even their most basic actions which might adversely affect the environment. We need to conserve our biodiversity and choose the pathway of sustainable development and reduced consumption which alone can help in averting the ecological problems that are knocking on our doors today.