How Biodiversity keeps pandemics at bay
International Biodiversity Day
Everything, from the air we breathe to the food that we eat and the water we drink, is derived from biodiversity. It is the total variety of all forms of life that exist on Earth.
Biodiversity is a unique amalgamation of ecosystem diversity, genetic diversity, and species diversity. Interwoven in a delicate balance, it is vital for sustaining life on Earth.
Why is Biodiversity vital for life?
From tall trees and dense forests that inhale carbon dioxide to release fresh air into the atmosphere to the tiny soil organisms that keep the food we eat in supply, or the coral reefs or mangrove swamps that protect our coasts or the strange plants that give us medicine, everything that we need to make life on this Earth possible is derived from our biodiversity, free of cost!
It is only when life on Earth is the most varied, vigorous, and biodiverse that the human species can thrive in it.
It’s now or never!
Over the last 5 decades, mindless activities at the hands of humans have drastically reduced Biodiversity across the globe.
We have destroyed natural habitats and distorted food cycles, rendering about 900 species extinct and 40% of the world’s animals on the verge of extinction.
This is catastrophic for nature and thus for ourselves. For, the loss of a single species can hamper the intricate balance of our ecosystem.
Thus, it’s highly imperative to save the planet’s biodiversity from getting lost, before it’s too late.
Biodiversity: the ‘safety net’ of our planet-
The future on planet Earth is highly unpredictable and volatile. One may never know how and exactly when an unknown virus can come and turn the entire country into ashes!
Biodiversity is the ‘safety net’ of our planet. It is the insurance policy that safeguards our survival.
The more, the merrier!
To have immense and diverse biodiversity is a boon for the human species. For the more biodiverse our planet, the more secure life on Earth will be.
India: Biodiversity hotspot for world’s most diverse & exquisite species
It is home to:
- about 7.6% of the world’s mammals
- 14.7% of amphibians
- 6% of birds
- 6.2% of reptilians, and
- 6.0% of flowering plant species.
India's forests nurture about 500 species of mammals & more than 2,000 species of birds.
How Biodiversity can protect us from pandemics?
In recent years, most infectious diseases have been transmitted to humans by animals. Such cases of animal-to-human transmission constitute 70% of the total cases of infection in recent time. According to scientists, it is due to the reduction in our biodiversity cover. Among its many advantages, one of the fundamental benefits of a dense biodiversity cover is protection against infectious diseases.
How it’s done?
It’s done using two simple mechanisms:
- Dilution: When the virus reaches an intermediary host in which it is unable to achieve optimal concentration to thrive. It means the chances of it continuing to spread get minimized.
- Buffer: When the virus reaches an intermediary host, whose genetic diversity allows it to adapt to the virus, thus it becomes resistant.
Therefore, it’s imperative to save our biodiversity to keep future pandemics at bay!