Loss of Species

Topics: Biodiversity, Earth, Endangered species Pages: 10 (4058 words) Published: September 24, 2012
Loss of Species
Every year a new species gets placed on the endangered species list, extinction is a natural process but due to human activity there has been a rapid decline in the wild species population. Loss of habitat or alteration, hunting, introduction of foreign species, and disease are major culprits in the extinction rate. The protection of species is an important element to the survival of biodiversity as well as human sustainability. The loss of a species means humans will lose out on the benefits that nature provides: medical breakthroughs, recreations, agriculture, and ecological values, commercial and economical sustainability. Even though extinction is a natural process, the current rate of extinction is well beyond the normal historical rate; every species in the environment plays a role that provides beneficial resources for another species, when a species is depleted or eliminated it can offset the delicate balance of the ecosystem. Every species on this planet as an individual serves its own purpose, together they make up an ecosystem that is vital to the earths and humans sustainability These ecosystems provide a diverse food bank, pollination, clean water, flood control, pest control, waste decomposition, and climate stability; these resources are highly valuable to the sustainability of humans and the planet. Biodiversity is the variety of species that inhabit the earth, each species has a specific role that provides a healthy ecosystem; the rapid loss of biodiversity from the earths biomes is proving to be a threat to the sustainability of life on earth. Through a variety of human related issues the world’s biomes are becoming depleted. Over fishing, hunting urban and coastal development, logging, climate change, tourism, illegal harvesting and trade, and introduction of disease and foreign species are among the major reasons the world today is experiencing a loss of species. The rainforests, oceans, grasslands, and fresh water biomes contain a profuse number of species; these ecosystems contain services essential to humans. These ecosystems provide a diverse food bank, pollination, clean water, flood control, pest control , waste decomposition, biomass energy resource and climate stability, these resources are highly valuable to the sustainability of humans. According to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20 conference) held June 2012, it was established that there are 19,817 species on the endangered species list at risk of extinction; broken down 41 percent of amphibian species, 33 percent of reef-building corals, 25 percent of mammals, 20 percent of plants and 13 per cent of birds on this planet are at threat (Vancouver Sun, 2012). As areas of forest, wetlands, water ways and grasslands are being destroyed so are the homes to thousands of species. The human population currently inhabits 40 percent of the earth surface; at the current growth rate and human interference the earth could experience a mass extinction sometime in the next century (The Press, 2012). Unfortunately, many plant and animal species on Earth are facing severe threats to their survival and are disappearing at alarming rates. According to researchers 1.7 million species have been discovered and described, but scientists estimate that there are anywhere from 3 to 30 million unidentified species inhabiting the earth ( Wildlife Conservation, n.d) While extinction is a natural process species and ecosystems today are threatened with destruction at a rate rarely seen in history. Species are an important factor in medical advancements, a wide variety of species have been discovered to provide cures for disease, and with every species that goes extinct the opportunity for a cure could also disappear. Many of the plant species that are used in medical research are sought out to find a cure for cancer; 70 percent of the drugs currently used by cancer patients come from nature, but because 32 million acres...

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