Biodiversity is when there are many species in an area. A species is a particular sort of plant or animal or insect. Natural forests which have never been cut down often have a lot of biodiversity.
Once the forest is cut down it is hard to get this biodiversity back. This is because it is hard to bring back all the species of plants, insects and animals that were there.
Natural areas of forest may also have rare trees that are not found in other places. Most of these rare trees might have been cut down already. These trees are called endangered because they are in danger of disappearing completely. If they disappear completely from an area, this harms its biodiversity.
As more natural forest is cut down more species of plant and animal will go extinct. This means that there are none of them left anywhere and they are gone forever. This means that more and more of the plants and animals that are special to Africa or maybe even to your area are being lost.
Saving areas of natural forest is good for biodiversity and helps to save endangered trees and animals. Often people want to clear the forest instead so that they can use the wood from the trees and grow crops on the land.
However, the biodiversity and the endangered species can also be good for people living near a natural forest. This means that it may be worth leaving the forest instead.
WHY BIODIVERSITY IS IMPORTANT FOR HUMANS
Some trees or areas of forest may not seem to be important for people living near them. However, they may be important in ways that are hard to spot. Many animals and insects which are useful to people in the area may depend on these areas. An example is that of pollination.
Flowers contain a dust called pollen. Many flowers need pollen from another flower to grow into fruits. Bees and some other insects transfer pollen from one flower to another. This is called pollination. Clearing the woodland in which some of these insects live will lower their numbers. This might lead to less pollination of your crops and so a worse harvest.
Tree products used by people nearby can be under threat if a forest is cleared. Some of these products may only come from some rare trees. This means that losing biodiversity may mean losing these products.
Some people think that if biodiversity is reduced then diseases will be able to spread more easily. This would mean that more people and animals would get ill.
Biodiversity can also be important for your soil. People have found that more biodiversity of plants makes the soil better for plants to grow in and less likely to be washed away.
DISTURBANCES TO BIODIVERSITY AND HE IMPACT ON MEDICINE
Living things depend on each other in many ways. If there is not much biodiversity then each species of living thing in an area will depend a lot on just a few other living things. This means that changes like a particular species disappearing or an area getting hotter can have more of an effect on the other species in the area. Changes like this are called disturbances.
This means that higher biodiversity can help these species to survive these disturbances. Many species are important to nearby people for food or buildings or other things like pollination. This means that it is better for nearby people when species can survive disturbances and so when biodiversity is high.
Some species of tree can contain stuff needed to make new medicines or to help fight pests. This means that a tree species disappearing completely is bad. A chance to make a new, valuable medicine that could save people from diseases may disappear forever. To make sure that this doesn’t happen it can be useful to leave endangered trees and patches of natural forest.
BIODIVERSITY AND JOBS
Tourists are visitors who travel to another area or country. Usually they will need to spend money at the places they go. Tourists may come to see natural forest because it may contain lots of interesting plants and animals. They may also come to see endangered species.
This means that leaving natural forest and endangered species can help to bring tourists to an area. The money from these tourists can then help to give jobs to people nearby.
If you work with other nearby people to keep biodiversity high in your area you may be able to get money from charities and other organisations to help you.