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BIODIVERSITY
Biodiversity atau keaneka ragaman hayati adalah berbagai variasi yang ada di antara mahkluk hidup dan lingkungannya. Melindungi keaneka ragaman hayati adalah salah satu tantangan yang terbesar yang harus dihadapi manusia. Biodiversity biasanya dibedakan dalam tiga tingkatan yakni:

1. keaneka ragaman genetik
2. keaneka ragaman spesies
3. keaneka ragaman ekosistem.

Keaneka ragaman genetik adalah tingkat paling mendasar yang mengacu pada varitas yang ada dari angota spesies-spesies.  Keaneka ragaman spesies adalah yang paling umum yang mengacu pada variasi spesies di satu tempat tertentu atau di antara sebuah kelompok mahkluk hidup khusus. Sebagian besar lingkungan tropis memiliki keaneka ragaman spesies yang lebih besar dibandingkan dengan daerah yang lebih dingin. Indonesia memiliki lebih dari 15.000 spesies tanaman termasuk diantaranya anggrek hitam dan bunga raflesia. Hanya beberapa spesies tertentu yang bisa hidup di daerah kutub.

Keaneka ragaman ekosistem mengacu pada variasi bentuk fisik suatu tempat seperti padang pasir, danau, karang, beserta populasi tumbuhan serta binatang yang ada. Suatu ekosistem terdiri dari mahkluk-mahkluk hidup di suatu lokasi tertentu dan unsur-unsur abiotik (air, tanah, udara, dll) yang penting bagi kelangsungan mahkluk hidup tersebut. Setiap jenis ekosistem memiliki campuran spesies yang unik yang berbeda dari setiap jenis ekosistem yang lain. Kombinasi tumbuhan dan binatang bisa berbeda meskipun sama-sama di hutan tropis di lereng gunung. Jika suatu ekosistem menghilang maka hilanglah pula spesies-spesies yang ada di tempat tersebut.

Dahulu sebelum diperkenalkan bibit-bibit tertentu untuk padi, sawah tradisional Indonesia kaya akan berbagai varitas padi yang tahan hama yang kini telah hilang. Namun dewasa ini dengan seragamnya tanaman padi dengan bibit yang sama menjadikan hama dan penyakit tanaman menjadi lebih luas, sehingga kegagalan panen secara total dapat terjadi.

Melindungi Biodiversity

Bumi memiliki beberapa periode kepunahan masal dimana sejumlah besar spesies punah. Planet bumi sekarang kembali memasuki era kepunahan masal. Jika dahulu kala kepunahan masal disebabkan oleh letusan-letusan gunung berapi atau perubahan cuaca, dewasa ini ulah manusia menjadi penyebab hilangnya biodiversity. Manusia memburu bermacam spesies untuk dihabisi atau merusak habitatnya dengan melakukan penebangan pohon. Manusia juga melakukan pencemaran bahan-bahan kimia, begitu juga dengan mendatangkan spesies baru yang dapat merusak spesies tanaman dan binatang asli.

Usaha-usaha konservasi diantaranya dengan membuat peraturan yang melindungi spesies yang terancam punah, juga program-program untuk membentuk taman nasional membantu memperlambat hilangnya biodiversity tetapi tidak dapat menghentikannya. Ada banyak alasan mengapa kita perlu menjaga keanekaragaman hayati.

Keaneka ragaman genetik memberikan jaminan dalam menghadapi perubahan lingkungan. Di beberapa tempat atau waktu, gen-gen di dalam organisme tertentu membuat individu-individu bisa beradaptasi lebih baik terhadap lingkungan dibandingkan dengan anggota lain dari spesiesnya. Sebuah spesies dengan ciri-ciri yang kaya akan variasi gen memiliki perlengkapan yang lebih baik untuk mengatasi perubahan, karena masing-masing individu memiliki kemampuan bawaan yang memungkinkannya untuk beradaptasi dengan kondisi yang baru.

Dahulu sebelum diperkenalkan bibit-bibit tertentu untuk padi, sawah tradisional Indonesia kaya akan berbagai varitas padi yang tahan hama yang kini telah hilang. Namun dewasa ini dengan seragamnya tanaman padi dengan bibit yang sama menjadikan hama dan penyakit tanaman menjadi lebih luas, sehingga kegagalan panen secara total dapat terjadi.

Keanekaragaman spesies adalah sangat penting untuk menyelamatkan potensi-potensi mahkluk hidup. Bahan-bahan obat baru atau bahan pangan baru bisa jadi menghilang sebelum sempat diketahui manfaat dan keberadaannya. Contoh potensi dari mahkluk hidup yakni, lebih dari 40 jenis pohon di hutan penyebaran bijinya sangat tergantung pada orangutan. Ular membantu mengendalikan populasi tikus. Burung madu, kupu-kupu dan kumbang membantu penyerbukan bunga.

Keaneka ragaman ekosistem membantu menjaga bumi sehingga tetap dapat dihuni mahkluk hidup, sebagai contoh hutan membantu menyerap karbon dioksida dari udara. Jika pohon-pohon dirusak maka terbentuklah karbon dioksida dan menambah efek rumah kaca yang dapat meningkatkan suhu global bumi yang dapat merusak berbagai jenis kehidupan. Di jakarta rawa-rawa atau situ-situ berperan untuk membantu mengendalikan banjir dan sebagai sumber resapan air tanah.

Keaneka ragaman juga membantu menjaga keindahan alam. Setiap jenis spesies dan ekosistem adalah berbeda satu sama lain dan menambah rasa cinta kita kepada alam. Betapa bahagianya kita masih dapat mendaki gunung yang berhutan dan dihuni oleh berbagai satwa liar.

What Business can do to save Biodiversity?

  1. Consider the impacts of your business on biodiversity.
  2. Develop a comprehensive environmental management system.
  3. Inform employees about biodiversity and what it means.
  4. Involve employees in environmental monitoring at your work site.
  5. Raise biodiversity awareness among contractors, suppliers and customers.
  6. Write biodiversity requirements into performance contracts and reporting guidelines. Work with your industry sector to develop a code of practice encompassing biodiversity.
  7. Contribute constructively to the public policy debate on biodiversity.
  8. Support research into environmental issues or problems of relevance to management on, or adjacent to land under company control.
  9. Fund and contribute to collaborative partnership with environmental and community groups.
  10. Make a donation to an environmental organization.
Biodiversity is the degree of variation of life forms within a given ecosystem, biome, or an entire planet. Biodiversity is a measure of the health of ecosystems. Greater biodiversity implies greater health. Biodiversity is in part a function of climate. In terrestrial habitats, tropical regions are typically rich whereas polar regions support fewer species.

Rapid environmental changes typically cause extinctions. One estimate is that less than 1% of the species that have existed on Earth are extant.

Since life began on Earth, five major mass extinctions and several minor events have led to large and sudden drops in biodiversity. The Phanerozoic eon (the last 540 million years) marked a rapid growth in biodiversity via the Cambrian explosion—a period during which nearly every phylum of multicellular organisms first appeared. The next 400 million years included repeated, massive biodiversity losses classified as mass extinction events. In the Carboniferous, rainforest collapse led to a great loss of plant and animal life. The Permian–Triassic extinction event, 251 million years ago, was the worst; vertebrate recovery took 30 million years. The most recent, the Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event, occurred 65 million years ago, and has often attracted more attention than others because it resulted in the extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs.

The period since the emergence of humans has displayed an ongoing biodiversity reduction and an accompanying loss of genetic diversity. Named the Holocene extinction, the reduction is caused primarily by human impacts, particularly habitat destruction. Biodiversity's impact on human health is a major international issue.

Distribution A conifer forest in the Swiss Alps (National Park).

Selection bias amongst researchers may contribute to biased empirical research for modern estimates of biodiversity. In 1768 Rev. Gilbert White succinctly observed of his Selborne, Hampshire "all nature is so full, that that district produces the most variety which is the most examined."

Biodiversity is not evenly distributed. Flora and fauna diversity depends on climate, altitude, soils and the presence of other species. Diversity consistently measures higher in the tropics and in other localized regions such as Cape Floristic Province and lower in polar regions generally. In 2006 many species were formally classified as rare or endangered or threatened; moreover, scientists have estimated that millions more species are at risk which have not been formally recognized. About 40 percent of the 40,177 species assessed using the IUCN Red List criteria are now listed as threatened with extinction—a total of 16,119.

Even though terrestrial biodiversity declines from the equator to the poles, this characteristic is unverified in aquatic ecosystems, especially in marine ecosystems. In addition, several assessments reveal tremendous diversity in higher latitudes.[citation needed] Generally terrestrial biodiversity is up to 25 times greater than ocean biodiversity.

A biodiversity hotspot is a region with a high level of endemic species. Hotspots were first named in 1988 by Dr. Norman Myers.  Many hotspots have large nearby human populations.[citation needed] Most hotspots are located in the tropics and most of them are forests.[citation needed]

Brazil's Atlantic Forest is considered one such hotspot, containing roughly 20,000 plant species, 1,350 vertebrates, and millions of insects, about half of which occur nowhere else. The island of Madagascar, particularly the unique Madagascar dry deciduous forests and lowland rainforests, possess a high ratio of endemism. Since the island separated from mainland Africa 65 million years ago, many species and ecosystems have evolved independently. Indonesia's 17,000 islands cover 735,355 square miles (1,904,560 km2) contain 10% of the world's flowering plants, 12% of mammals and 17% of reptiles, amphibians and birds—along with nearly 240 million people. Many regions of high biodiversity and/or endemism arise from specialized habitats which require unusual adaptations, for example alpine environments in high mountains, or Northern European peat bogs.

Biodiversity is the result of 3.5 billion years of evolution. The origin of life has not been definitely established by science, however some evidence suggests that life may already have been well-established only a few hundred million years after the formation of the Earth. Until approximately 600 million years ago, all life consisted of archaea, bacteria, protozoans and similar single-celled organisms.

The history of biodiversity during the Phanerozoic (the last 540 million years), starts with rapid growth during the Cambrian explosion—a period during which nearly every phylum of multicellular organisms first appeared. Over the next 400 million years or so, invertebrate diversity showed little overall trend, and vertebrate diversity shows an overall exponential trend. This dramatic rise in diversity was marked by periodic, massive losses of diversity classified as mass extinction events. A significant loss occurred when rainforests collapsed in the carboniferous. The worst was the Permo-Triassic extinction, 251 million years ago. Vertebrates took 30 million years to recover from this event.

The fossil record suggests that the last few million years featured the greatest biodiversity in history.[14] However, not all scientists support this view, since there is uncertainty as to how strongly the fossil record is biased by the greater availability and preservation of recent geologic sections. Some scientists believe that corrected for sampling artifacts, modern biodiversity may not be much different from biodiversity 300 million years ago., whereas others consider the fossil record reasonably reflective of the diversification of life. Estimates of the present global macroscopic species diversity vary from 2 million to 100 million, with a best estimate of somewhere near 13–14 million, the vast majority arthropods. Diversity appears to increase continually in the absence of natural selection.

Biodiversity supports ecosystem services including air quality, climate (e.g., CO2 sequestration), water purification, pollination, and prevention of erosion.

Since the stone age, species loss has accelerated above the prior rate, driven by human activity. Estimates of species loss are at a rate 100-10,000 times as fast as is typical in the fossil record.

Non-material benefits include spiritual and aesthetic values, knowledge systems and the value of education

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