Biodiversity and conservation
Biodiversity- variety of life on Earth
Convention of Biological Diversity definition- agreed upon by 150 governmental leaders at the 1992 UN conference for environment and development in Rio de Janeiro- "Rio Earth Summit".
"Variability among living organisms from all sources and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this included diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems".
Genetic- how coding of organisms varies between indviduals and populations- important for adaptations and evolution. Important for human exploitation of genetic resources for food, medicine etc through selective breeding, GM etc.
Organismal- Species used as the most recognisable and fundamental unit of biodiversity. But... what is a species? Some organisms fit outside our definitions of a "species".
Ecological- from populations to niches, habitats, ecosystems and biomes- way of breaking up a continua of phenomena to recognise and compare. e.g. Tundra vs. Rainforest. But...subjective.
Biodiversity= v.variable in different habitats
- Example: Coral reefs, Philippines- rainforests of the sea. Small area around one island: Palawan- 300species coral; 736 species fish.
- Example: Temperate coastal waters, UK- 60 species fish
- Example: Rainforest Bornea- 1175 tree species in 50ha plot
- Example: Boreal forest- 1/2 tree species in 50ha plot
- Lake Baikal, Russia- 580 benthic invertebrate species- largest freshwater lake in the world- v. high diversity despite the forests being low in diversity.
- Great Slave Lake, Canada- same latitude but only 4 benthic inverebrate species
What is driving this?
- Traditional- charismatic megafauna
- Biodiversity/modern- multiple species, patterns & processes- whole ecoystem approach.
Why do this?