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Why biodiversity matters for Climate Change

Studies show that biodiversity is the sum total of life on Earth. It includes every individual living being, from the tiniest mosses to the largest whales, and the resulting benefits produced by this web of life. Earth’s climate patterns are, in part, a direct consequence of its biodiversity.

Why biodiversity is important

Biodiversity, the diversity of life on Earth is essential to the healthy functioning of ecosystems. Habit loss and overexploitation, driven by our rapid population growth and unsustainable consumption patterns are the primary causes of biodiversity loss which is now happening up to 10 000 times faster than for millions of years before.

“We are in a bottleneck of overpopulation and wasteful consumption that could push half of Earth’s species to extinction in this century” E.O Wilson

Healthy ecosystems, interdependent webs of living organisms, and their physical environment are vital to all life on Earth. Our ecosystems provide us with clean air, fresh water, food, resources, and medicine. Biodiversity, the variation of life on Earth, is a major factor in nature’s resilience. In a diverse ecosystem, if the environment changes and some organisms can no longer thrive, others can take their place and fulfill essential functions. It is often the most overlooked species that are the most important to a healthy ecosystem. Insects, for instance, play an essential role in pollinating flowering plants-third of the food we eat depends on animal pollinators.

Human activities such as a change in land-use patterns, the degradation, modification, and fragmentation of ecosystems, exploitation of species, and the introduction of invasive species have aggravated climate change impacts. However, the relative impacts of climate change are likely to vary regionally due to variations in land use, biotic invasions, pollution, human activities, fire, and ecosystem types.

How Climate Change affects food security

Biodiversity is a key source of food. If biodiversity is negatively affected by Climate Change it goes to show that world food security is greatly threatened to stem from an imbalance in the natural ecosystem. Therefore, concerns over species extinction are war warranted because of the goods and services provided by species such as pollination, natural pest control, food, and medicine. Climate Change is affecting those goods, services, and ecosystem resilience through hurricanes, blizzards, heat waves, drought, and extreme weather events. For example, rainfall and Elinio events between 1996 to 2003 produce high amounts of precipitation in parts of equatorial, East Africa, and resulted in flooding, reduction of crops, and agricultural yields. Therefore, change in climatic effects has immediate impacts on food production and distribution.

The most rapid responses of individuals in populations subjected to Climate Change are likely to be phenotypic. However, in subsequent generations, natural selection acting primarily during plant establishment will lead to some degree of adaptation, assuming that genetic variation for the traits under selection exists within the population. Considering adaptation as primarily dependent on extant variation, the migration of plant species in response to rapid climatic warming will frequently be slower than phenotypic and adaptive genetic changes, because of the uncertainties of population establishment. Migration involves the physical dispersal of propagules such as seeds, plant fragments and the successful establishment of new populations in previously unoccupied territory. Arriving propagules at the new site will be filtered out by a process of natural selection.

What Keep Lesotho Clean urges people to do:

KLC urges Basotho to protect and promote biodiversity in order to mitigate the effects of Climate Change at all times.

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