Biodiversity Environmental Impacts

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1. Introduction
1.1 Background
Biodiversity is the term used to encompass the variety of all living organisms on Earth, including their genetic diversity, species diversity and the diversity of ecosystems. Biodiversity plays an important role in ecosystem functions, which provide supporting, provisioning, regulating, and cultural services. The services that humans derive from ecosystems include food, fuel, clothing, structural materials, medicines and genetic resources. The depletion of biodiversity will have profound consequences for the functioning of ecosystem services. For example, the loss of tropical forests will probably result in a reduction in carbon storage, an increase in atmospheric pollution and reductions in human health (Mace
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Biodiversity is threatened by several human-induced processes, among which are land use changes, invasive species and climate change (Trakhtenbrot et al., 2005). Land use changes, such as landscape modification and habitat fragmentation, are believed to have a negative impact on almost all taxonomic groups (Fisher & Lindenmayer, 2007). Invasive species, usually introduced by human activity, outcompete or consume native species (Chapin et al., 2000). Climate change will alter species distributions, trophic networks and ecosystem functioning (Bellard et al., 2012). Unless human behaviour and policies are changed, our effects on the environment will continue to alter biodiversity. As a consequence, biodiversity conservation has become more important, as it is essential for human survival and the maintenance of ecosystem processes (Rands et al.,…show more content…
Indigenous knowledge has long been disregarded by outsiders as it was seen as simple and primitive. However, indigenous peoples have complex and sophisticated knowledge related to several different activities, such as hunting, medicinal collection and preparation for spiritual ceremonies (Drew, 2005). Indigenous groups have carefully managed their environments for millennia and their detailed knowledge has played an essential role in biodiversity conservation.

In remote areas where the flora and fauna is not well studied, indigenous peoples can have knowledge of species or interactions not documented in the scientific literature. Their knowledge about the environment is a result of a long-term association with their land and may not be immediately obvious to those not intimately familiar with the area. Indigenous peoples may be the only source of local biological information and they can help researchers by providing them with more information about for example species presence and distribution. (Drew,
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