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What is Biodiversity? Biodiversity refers to the number of different species in a given area. First we have to catalog all the species. Thus far the species.

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Presentation on theme: "What is Biodiversity? Biodiversity refers to the number of different species in a given area. First we have to catalog all the species. Thus far the species."— Presentation transcript:

1 What is Biodiversity? Biodiversity refers to the number of different species in a given area. First we have to catalog all the species. Thus far the species known is about 1.7 million, most of which are insects. Scientists estimate that there are over 10 million total species.

2 A World Rich in Biodiversity

3 Benefits of Biodiversity Every species is either dependent on or depended upon by at least one other species in an ecosystem. Some relationships are not always obvious. Some species are so clearly critical to the functioning of an ecosystem that the are called keystone species.

4 Species and Population Survival Genetic diversity within populations is critical to species survival. Genetic diversity increases the chance of species surviving environmental changes. Small and isolated populations are less likely to survive such changes.

5 Importance of Biodiversity to Humans

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7 Saving Species Some regions of the world earn a majority of their income from ecotourism, a form of tourism that supports the conservation and sustainable development of ecologically unique areas.

8 Biodiversity at Risk Scientist believe that about 65 million years ago, a series of changes in the Earths climate and ecosystems caused the extinction of about half the species on Earth. The extinction of many species in a relatively short period of time is called a mass extinction.

9 Major Extinction Events

10 Species Prone to Extinction Species with small populations in limited areas. Species that migrate. Species with special habitat needs. Species exploited by humans.

11 AT RISK Endangered Species is a species that is likely to become extinct if protective measures are not taken immediately. Threatened Species is a species that has a declining population and that is likely to become endangered if it is not protected

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13 How Do Humans Cause Extinctions? Human population = extinctions

14 How do Humans Cause Extinctions? Habitat Destruction Fragmentation Invasive Exotic Species Harvesting, Hunting, and Poaching Pollution

15 How Do Humans Cause Extinction? Human CauseWhat Happens?Example Habitat Destruction & Fragmentation We use land for building homes & harvesting resources. This causes 75% of extinctions. Florida Panther

16 How Do Humans Cause Extinction? Human Cause What Happens?Example Habitat Destruction & Fragmentation We use land for building homes & harvesting resources. This causes 75% of extinctions. Florida Panther Invasive Exotic Species Species that are not native to a particular region move in & take over Fire ants of Southeastern US

17 How Do Humans Cause Extinction? Human Cause What Happens?Example Habitat Destruction & Fragmentation We use land for building homes & harvesting resources. This causes 75% of extinctions. Florida Panther Invasive Exotic Species Species that are not native to a particular region move in & take over Fire ants of Southeastern US Harvesting, Hunting, & Poaching Excessive hunting & harvesting (rare species are collected & sold). Poaching is the illegal hunting or harvesting of species. US – passenger pigeons & bison hunted to near extinction. Africa – elephants poached for ivory tusks.

18 How Do Humans Cause Extinction? Human Cause What Happens?Example Habitat Destruction & Fragmentation We use land for building homes & harvesting resources. This causes 75% of extinctions. Florida Panther Invasive Exotic Species Species that are not native to a particular region move in & take over Fire ants of Southeastern US Harvesting, Hunting, & Poaching Excessive hunting & harvesting (rare species are collected & sold). Poaching is the illegal hunting or harvesting of species. US – passenger pigeons & bison hunted to near extinction. Africa – elephants poached for ivory tusks. PollutionPesticides, chemicals, drugs, etc. are entering food webs. DDT (pesticide) weakens bald eagle eggs

19 Areas of Critical Biodiversity Some areas of the world contain a greater diversity of species than others. Endemic species are species that are native to and found only within a limited area. EX: Tropical Rain Forest – cover less than 7% of the Earths land surface, but half of the worlds species live in these forests. Coral Reefs & Coastal Ecosystems – reefs contain the majority of marine biodiversity, provide people with food & tourism revenue, protect coasts from waves, & harbor many migrating species. 60% of reefs are threatened by humans & there are limited protection laws.

20 Biodiversity Hotspots Areas with lots of endemic species but are also threatened by human activities.

21 Saving Species 1.Conserving Habitats 2.Captive-Breeding Programs – breeding species in captivity with the hope of reintroducing populations to their natural habitats. 3.Preserving Genetic Material – germ plasm (any form of genetic material) stored for future recovery efforts. 4.Zoos, Aquariums, Parks, & Gardens – living museums of a small fraction of the worlds biodiversity.

22 Legal Protections for Species United States 1.Endangered Species Act – US law designed to protect species in danger of becoming extinct. A) The US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) makes a list of endangered species B) Protects the listed animals from human harm (people who harm endangered species are fined). C) Federal government cannot do a project that may harm endangered species. D) USFWS makes recovery plans for each endangered species.

23 Legal Protections for Species International 1.International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) Proposed a worldwide ban on the trade of ivory in 1989, decreasing elephant poaching 2.Earth Summit (UN Conference on Environment and Development) Biodiversity Treaty that attempts to preserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable and fair use of genetic resources in all countries.

24 Private Conservation Efforts 1.The World Wildlife Fund – encourages the sustainable use of resources & supports wildlife protection. 2.The Nature Conservancy – helped purchase millions of hectares of habitat preserves in 29 countries. 3.Conservation International – identifies biodiversity hotspots and develop ecosystem conservation projects 4.Greenpeace International – organizes direct & sometimes confrontational actions to counter environmental threats


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