Q:

Why is biodiversity important in ecosystems?

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Quick Answer

Biodiversity is important in ecosystems because it prevents extinction of species, allows organisms to adapt to changes in the environment and provides a wide range of materials and foods for survival. Biodiversity is categorized into species diversity, genetic diversity and ecosystem diversity.

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Full Answer

Each organism within an ecosystem serves important functions that help balance the Earth’s ecology. Biodiversity provides vast genetic pools and different habitats, which preserve the existence of life on Earth. Biodiversity creates a well-functioning ecosystem, which cleanses water and air resources, minimizing the effects of pollution.

Rain forests contain 50 percent of the world’s animal and plant species. The biodiversity of these forests regulates weather patterns on Earth.

Biodiversity protects against drought and erosion. It also regulates chemical composition of the soil and the atmosphere and determines the reproductive seasons of animals and the growth cycle of plants.

Biodiversity keeps the ecosystem at an equilibrium, which defines the manner in which living organisms interact. Biodiversity is threatened by climate change, pollution, overexploitation of natural resources and habitat loss.

Within a biologically diverse ecosystem, living organisms depend on one another for survival. For example, animals depend on plants for food and shelter, and plants depend on the soil for growth. Plants also depend on bees for pollination and reproduction. Fungi and bacteria decompose other organisms to fertilize the soil.

Loss of biodiversity weakens the connections that exist among various species, which harms the ecosystem.

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