All of us live in a world where we depend on each other for our needs. Almost all of our needs are met through biodiversity, directly or indirectly. Biodiversity refers to the variability among living organisms from all sources including terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part, this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems. Biodiversity in short is our whole environment including flora, fauna, microbes, gases and everything that constitutes our planet earth. It is the foundation of life.
Biodiversity is of great importance when it comes to its economic benefits. Here are some of the economic benefits of biodiversity.
(1) Biodiversity provides us with potential raw materials – Biodiversity provides a great diversity of materials for the construction and fuel including wood, biofuels and plant oils that are directly derived from wild and cultivated plant species.
(2) Food and fresh water – The most important services for the survival of human beings like food and water are provided by the biodiversity. Biodiversity regulates the flow and purification of water.
(3) Organic waste disposal – Biodiversity acts as an organic disposal ground for waste materials, as many things are naturally decomposed in the environment with the help of microbes present in the soil.
(4) Climate and air quality control – Trees provide shade while forests influence rainfall and water availability both locally and regionally. They also play an important role in regulating air quality by removing pollutants from the atmosphere.
(5) Nitrogen fixation – Nitrogen fixation is essential for plant growth and an insufficient quantity of it frequently limits biomass production in both natural and agricultural ecosystems. To increase production of crops, a process called biological nitrogen fixation is implemented through chemical uses, however natural biological nitrogen fixation proves to be healthier and more yielding than the commercial one.
(6) Moderates natural disasters – Extreme weather events or natural hazards include floods, storms, tsunamis, avalanches and landslides. Ecosystems and living organisms create buffer against natural disasters, thereby preventing possible damage. E.g. wetlands can soak up floodwater while trees can stabilize slopes.
(7) Species Habitat – Habitats provide everything that an individual plant or animal needs to survive. Each ecosystem provides different habitats that can be essential for species’ lifecycle.
(8) Medicinal Resources – Ecosystems and their biodiversity provide many medicinal plants used in traditional medicine and as well as provide raw materials for the pharmaceutical industry.
(9) Pollination – Insects and wind pollinate plants and trees, which is essential for propagation and development of fruits, vegetables and seeds.
(10) Biotechnology- Biodiversity has led to an important field of study in science known as biotechnology. Biotechnology refers to the technologies produced from animals, plants and microbes. Biotechnology is of utmost importance because it provides us with various beneficial products and inventions that lead to an advance in our economy and in human life.
(11) Tourism – Ecosystems and biodiversity play an important role for many kinds of tourism, which in turn provides considerable economic benefits and is a vital source of income for many countries.
These are only a few important economic benefits of biodiversity. Biodiversity as a whole has a lot more benefits and is our main sustainer of life. Therefore, we must strive to conserve our biodiversity.