Biodiversity is a very important part for the integrity of life; actually, it is life itself, as the word “biodiversity” defines: “bio” means life and “diversity “means variety on earth. A very beautiful quote by Thomas Eisner describes it as “biodiversity is the greatest treasure we have. Its diminishment is to be prevented at all costs”. Biodiversity is a form of web or network of life on which we are dependent for everything, including food, water, wood or timber, climate stability, medicines, and the economy, as well as all the other little or big things we need for our survival. Climate change is today’s hot topic; greenhouse gases, carbon emissions, and global warming are all causing a serious rise in the earth’s temperature. On the other hand, we are also losing our biodiversity due to various reasons, such as human land use, which is forcing a number of species to move from their natural habitats and go extinct. But one should focus on the fact that both climate change and biodiversity are interconnected, so for sustainable development goals, these two aspects should stay under consideration altogether. It is also said by Elizabeth Mrema, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, that “climate change is a primary driver of biodiversity loss. And climate change depends on biodiversity as part of the solution. So clearly the two are linked and cannot be separated”. So, the most important gift that biodiversity is offering us is “climate stability.”
Around 50% of the greenhouse gases produced by human resources are absorbed by ecosystems on land and in the ocean, which provide natural carbon sinks and can be called a biodiversity solution to the climate change problem. Protection and restoration of forest covers help in the mitigation of greenhouse gases. Marshes and swamps are the ecosystems that present as wetland and cover 3% of the world’s land, but they are highly efficient in absorbing and storing carbon, roughly twice as efficiently as forests. Ocean ecosystems, including mangroves and seagrasses, also help in the sequestration of carbon from the atmosphere; they absorb carbon four times faster than forests, so they need to be used as a valuable tool against climate change.
Highly diverse ecosystems are more resilient and adaptive in nature, so the impacts of natural disasters such as drought, floods, and extreme weather events can be absorbed by the biodiversity-rich ecosystem. Disturbances are recovered more quickly in a diverse environment that helps in maintaining functions and services.
Climate change is also affecting food security, for which biodiversity plays a crucial role. A diverse range of crops and livestock can adapt better to the changing climate conditions, providing great insights for food security. Nowadays, wild species of crops are also studied for the exploration and identification of promising wild cultivars that can better adapt to changing climatic conditions.
In conclusion, biodiversity is our strongest natural defence against climate change and must be our priority to reduce and adapt to the impacts of climate change.