Reality of Biodiversity: Focusing on the Effects

The effects of biodiversity loss is far more than merely the disappearance of a few species. The destruction of certain organisms, especially those lower on the food pyramid, creates a domino effect, where producers and consumers alike are affected. The reduction of honeybee numbers is a good illustration of the impacts species loss brings. Bees are not only commercially valuable as producers of honey, but are also ecologically important in sustaining plant reproduction. As the main pollinators in much of North America, honeybees contribute to the pollination of a variety of American crops such as pumpkins, blueberries, and tomatoes. Unfortunately, studies have shown that bee populations across the world have decreased by roughly 250 billion due to human activities. Consequently, fruit and vegetable yields are diminishing. This causes concerns to daily lives. Less food would mean that an even greater number of people would starve or experience nutritional deficiencies. In addition, limited harvests would drive up food prices in both fresh produce and meat goods. Overall, the quality of life decreases.

For many countries, nature also provides them with resources that are economically beneficial. The export of honey, for instance, provided China with 288.7 million dollars in 2015. However, as discussed earlier, decreased bee populations will have devastating effects on future exports. For one nation, China houses more than 10 percent of the world’s known species, many of which have economic or medicinal values. Nevertheless, recent booms in the country’s industrial and manufacturing sectors have caused greater exploitation of local resources. This is often done with little concerns for local environments and species. While China is currently experiencing rapid growths in its economy, such trends may cease to exist when depletion of valuable stocks occur. It has been estimated that species extinction and threats to ecosystems could cost China as much as $33 trillion. Similar situations are happening all around the world. Many Caribbean countries that rely heavily on tourism will experience lower incomes with deteriorating coral conditions.

Lastly, decreased biodiversity could potentially eradicate keystone species within an area. These are species that play such vital roles in their respective ecosystems that if they were removed, drastic changes would occur. The beaver is a well-known example of keystone species. As nature’s engineers, beavers create dams that alter the circulation and flow of water in ponds and rivers. Records have shown that in beaver ponds, the number of plankton is 5 times as large as that of unaltered flowing streams. Hence, the density of fish and wildlife around beaver ponds are significantly higher than other areas. Primates are another type of keystone species crucial to the environment. As primates disperse seeds and pollen through eating and defecation, they help grow trees in rainforest areas that influence global rainfall patterns. As seen, landscapes and ecosystems are susceptible to the presence or absence of certain organisms. When environments undergo drastic alterations, existing species are at risk.