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Environmental Science
Environmental Science 1021F/G
Geoff Stewart

CHAPTER 9: BIODIVERSITY BIODIVERSITY BEENFITS HUMANS AND OTHER SPECIES -tropical regions (warm, lush, close to the equator) contains the greatest concentration and variety of plant and animal life forms on Earth -BIODIVERSITY: the variety of life on Earth; it includes species, genetic and ecological diversity -SPECIES DIVERSITY: the variety of species, including how many are present (richness) and their abundance relative to each other (evenness) -GENETIC DIVERSITY: the heritable variation among individuals of a single population or within the species as a whole -ECOLOGICAL DIVERSITY: the variety within an ecosystem’s structure, including many communities, habitats, niches, and trophic levels -it is IMPOSSIBLE to know the amount of species that exist on Earth – estimated between 3 to 100 million -humans have yet to discover to identify about 86% of the species on Earth -ECOSYSTEM SERVICES: benefits that are important to all life, including humans, providing by functional ecosystems, includes such things as nutrient cycles, air and water purification, and ecosystem goods, such as good and fuel -mahogany trees are key players in carbon cycling and soil stabilization, and serve as a windbreak in coastal areas -we have identified about 1.8 million species so far -of the species known, insect species far outnumber other types of species -vertebrates (the group that humans belong to), only make up 1% of all creatures on Earth -plants and vertebrates are among the most threatened or endangered -biodiversity supplies cultural benefits as well – whether it is the enjoyment of natural area for recreation or aesthetic appreciation, or a societal tradition rooted in nature -biodiverse ecosystems have economic value as well -the growing appreciation for the value of ecosystem services provided by species highlights the importance of species as members of an ecological community -INSTRUMENTAL VALUE: an object’s or species’ worth, based on its usefulness to humans -INTRINSIC VALUE: an object’s or species’ worth, based on its mere existence; it has an inherent right to exist -ECOSTEMS SERVICES: 1. CULTURAL BENEFITS: aesthetic, spiritual, educational, and recreational 2. HUMAN PROVISIONS: food, fibre products such as cotton/wool, fuel, pharmaceuticals 3. ECOSYSTEM REGULATION AND SUPPORT: nutrient cycling, pollination and seed dispersal, air and water purification, flood control, soil formation and erosion control, climate regulation, and population control PLANTS GAIN MEDICINAL QUALITIES AS THEY ADAPOT TO OTHER SPECIES -ETHNOBOTANY: the study of how different cultures make use of the plants that surround them -plants employ two main anti-predator strategies: physical defence structures like thorns, thick seed coats, or bark, and chemical weapons like the lines that ultimately find their way to our medical cabinets -more than 90% of the native species on the Hawaiian islands are found nowhere else -in the Pacific islands like Samoa and Hawaii – the region has the highest percentage of threatened or endangered species of any region on Earth – these species are often specialists that occupy specific niches -this area also contains a high proportion of ENDEMIC plants -ENDEMIC: describes a species that is native to a particular area and is not naturally found anywhere else -BIODIVERSITY HOTSPOT: an area
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