chapter  4
21 Pages

Biodiversity: Society Wouldn’t Exist Without It

ByMichael Carolan

Quality of life can be enhanced innumerably by biodiversity, as it boosts mental and spiritual health, provides opportunities for recreation, and enriches human knowledge. Biodiversity is also responsible for supplying therapeutic applications, thanks to medicinal and genetic resources coming from plants and other organisms. Early definitions of biodiversity tended to focus almost entirely on species diversity, in which case biodiversity was simply another way of saying "species richness". Biodiversity loss is our loss. Biodiversity may not make the world go around, but it certainly makes the planet inhabitable. As with agriculture, commercial forestry depends on biodiversity for nutrient recycling and pest control. Biodiversity performs an irreplaceable service in terms of both recycling nutrients and ensuring desirable water quality for agricultural use, fisheries, and human consumption. No amount of technology and innovation could substitute for the ecosystem services provided by biodiversity in the production of food and fiber production.