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History of Biodiversity

Biodiversity is the difference in the components of the Earth at every level, from the ecosystem to genes, and the evolutionary and ecological factors that help sustain it. Biodiversity involves all the species; those which are considered threatened, endangered and rare and the organisms about which we know nothing or little like fungi, invertebrates and microbes. Biodiversity is of great significance in all areas, whether in your local area or in the areas away from you; they all help create healthy ecosystems, information you can get from the national archive.

A Brief Description of the Origin of Biodiversity as Per IIED

International Development and Environment Institute’s study of biodiversity began more than a quarter century ago; but that is not what its label indicates. Between the 1980s and 1990s, the primary focus was sourced from the institute’s ground-breaking project about environmental economics. This project was at that time, a new project. From the project, people learnt a lot of new things regarding the trade of wildlife, especially on the issue of ivory economics. There was a book known as Elephants, Ivory and Economics, whose author was Ed Barbier, with the assistance of his. The book was published in 1991, Earthscan. After a short time, the institute wrote its own book, entitled The Hidden Harvest, which was famously used as an evaluation of the purpose of wild foods for the support of local livelihoods.

In the year 1994, the United Kingdom Overseas Administration of Development (currently known as the International Development Department) was evaluating its African policy on wildlife. It also gave IIED the license to evaluate community-based strategies of management of wildlife. From this, a book named Whose Eden? was published. The book challenged the customary practice where conservation and management of wildlife was separated from considerations of the way local communities would live. The book remains widely quoted and influential to date. The study was used to launch a huge collaborative program for research regarding community-based management of wildlife.

The Initiative for Evaluating Eden (1996 - 2000) looked at the environmental, economic and social consequences of community-based strategies of managing wildlife. It also compared the experiences from Asia, Latin America and Africa; which was a feature in the research approach by IIED.

Biodiversity: A Present Area of Research

Previously, biodiversity was introduced as a present thematic research subject for IIED in the year 1998. It was funded by MacArthur Foundation. With this support, there was a variety of research and publications which helped develop many topical aspects such as wildlife tourism, commercialization and discovery of new products with regard to biological resources and bio-prospecting. The process of bio-prospecting has grown into a work program on protection of agricultural biodiversity and traditional knowledge. The project on wildlife tourism looked into “pro-poor tourism”, which is a strategy aimed at making profits through tourism, which will then be used to assist those that are economically poor. Most of our early projects about wildlife tourism were written in the Development and Wildlife Series by IIED.

The biodiversity project by IIED is centered as always, on the connection between conserving wildlife and the livelihoods of the local people. Most of our previous projects were published in the Issue Papers on Livelihoods and Biodiversity and in Evaluating Eden. This was centered on: 

The trade of wildlife
Regulations that enhance both the conservation of biodiversity and protection of the community livelihoods
Community-based management of natural resources, with the main focus on Africa

Currently, the biodiversity project by IIED ranges from apes to agricultural diversity, conservation to climate change, and mainstreaming to market mechanisms. It also includes the important issues to the Biological Diversity Convention, such as benefit and access sharing, social evaluation of areas that are protected, and adaptation that is ecosystem-based.

Importance of Biodiversity

Biodiversity is an important factor in satisfying our fundamental needs like water, shelter, fuel, medicine and food. In most parts of the world, people still get medicine mainly from animals and plants. In the USA, almost 57% of the most prescribed medicines originate from biodiversity. Ecosystems give such services as purification of water, cycling of nutrients, pollination, controlling agricultural pests and regulation of climate. Most of the flowering plants pollinate with the help of animals, while 3 out of 10 human crops are dependent on pollinators.

Challenges Faced By Biodiversity

Through the last 100 years, humans have dominated the earth. Ecosystems are changing fast, making the earth lose a lot of its biodiversity.

The Earth has been going through extinctions and changes, but the current changes are too much. Unfortunately, it is human beings who bring about most of the biodiversity threats.

On the brighter side, though, we have the power to improve the situation. We need to change our behavior to ensure the natural systems and species survive. Ultimately, this will help us survive as well.

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