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Introduction
Biodiversity refers to all the different kinds of living organisms within a given area. Biodiversity includes plants, animals, fungi, and other living things. Biodiversity can include everything from towering redwood trees to tiny, single-cell algae that are impossible to see without a microscope.

Scientist have documented more than 2 , species from the !nited States, representing more than 1 " of formally described species worldwide. #ach of $merica%s & states maintains an important part of the nation%s biological heritage. 'otally they have more than 21, plant and animal species. But the & states feature an unparalleled spectrum of wild places and wild species.

'able $. 'op 1 Species (iversity by State


RANK STATE # OF SPECIES
1 )alifornia *,+1+ 2 'e,as *,2+3 $ri.ona /,+&0 4 1ew 2e,ico /,&35 $labama /,&-6 4eorgia /,/-* 7 5lorida /,-*3 8 6regon /,1-* 9 1orth )arolina /,1-1 10 !tah -,302
Source7 1atureServe )entral (atabases, $pril 2 2

8000 7000 6000 5000 4000 3000 2000 1000 0


Te xa s Ar iz on Ne a w M ex ic o Al ab am a Ge o ia !l or i" a #r No e r$ on % Ca ro li na fo rn ia &$ a%

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'he state-ranking tables above are based on analyses of the status and distribution of 21,-0& plant and animal species drawn from the 1atureServe )entral (atabases. $ publicly accessible version of these databases is available through the 1atureServe #,plorer web site Importance of Biodiversity $ll species are interconnected. 'hey depend on one another. 5orests provide homes for animals. $nimals eat plants. 'he plants need healthy soil to grow. 5ungi help decompose organisms to fertili.e the soil. Bees and other insects carry pollen from one plant to another, which enables the plants to reproduce. 8ith less biodiversity, these connections weaken and sometimes break, harming all the species in the ecosystem. Biodiversity is important to people in many ways. 9lants, for instance, help humans by giving off o,ygen. 'hey also provide food, shade, construction material, medicines, and fiber for clothing and paper. 'he root system of plants helps prevent flooding. 9lants, fungi, and animals such as worms keep soil fertile and water clean. $s biodiversity decreases, these systems break down. :undreds of industries rely on plant biodiversity. $griculture, construction, medical and pharmaceutical, fashion, tourism, and hospitality all depend on plants for their success. 8hen the biodiversity of an ecosystem is interrupted or destroyed, the economic impact on the local community could be enormous. Biodiversity is especially important to the medical and pharmaceutical industries. Scientists have discovered many chemicals in rain forest plants that are now used in helpful drugs. 6ne of the most popular and safe pain relievers, aspirin, was originally made from the bark of willow trees.

2.:ow has $merica%s biodiversity changed; :undreds of years ago, before 1orth $merica was split up according to states and countries, native populations lived in the many varied areas of the continent. 'here were <ungles, forests, riverlands, dry prairies, wetlands, and many other types of geographies where people lived. 'here were no cities as we know them today7 humans lived in tune with nature, 'here were no cities as we know them today7 humans lived in tune with nature, relying on their surroundings to build shelters, hunt and gather

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food, and create forms of e,change =for e,ample, shells found on beaches could be traded for animal skins> 'his brings us to the very important idea of the ecosystem. $n ecosystem is a very comple, and delicate arrangement of plants and animals that provide nourishment for each other in a variety of ways. If one part of the ecosystem changes or is disrupted, it can affect the entire workings of an environment. $ more recent e,ample of changes in an ecosystem involves the use of pesticides. -.8hat are some conservation areas in $merica;
'hroughout the 2 th century, $merica has created more than - !.S. parks and reserves, including the $rctic 1ational 8ildlife ?efuge and 6lympic and 8ind )ave national parks. In 2 3, our work in 8yoming led to the first federally-protected migration corridor, known as @the 9ath of the 9ronghorn.A 'he headwaters of the 2issouri, the )olumbia, and the )olorado ?ivers all begin in the 4reater Bellowstone #cosystem, one of the only areas in the !.S. where the full set of large native carnivores still roam freely. 8)S%s Bellowstone ?ockies program is committed to ensuring the future of these carnivores. 'he largest intact temperate forest in the world is in the $dirondack State 9ark. 8)S is working to preserve the integrity of this forest despite growing threats of development and pollution. 6riginally founded in 10 & by pioneering conservationists 'heodore ?oosevelt and 8illiam :ornaday, the $merican Bison Society helped save the bison from e,tinction. 6ne hundred years later, the $merican Bison Society was re-launched by 8)S to secure the speciesC ecological future. $t 2- million acres, $laskaCs 'eshekpuk Dake region is the largest single piece of public land in the ic.

/.'he threats to biodiversity in !S$


E$bout one-third of species in the best-known groups of plants and animals are at risk, and more than & !.S. species are already e,tinct or are missing. :abitat destruction and degradation are the leading threats to !.S. biodiversity, followed by the spread of harmful alien species.

'he ma<or threats to biological diversity are all caused directly or indirectly by an everincreasing use of the worldCs resources by the e,ponentially e,panding human population. Because more people reFuire more resources for their livelihood, many scientists have argued that controlling human numbers is the key to protecting biological diversity. $ more eFuitable distribution of natural resources throughout the world, and reducing the e,cessive consumption of natural resources by wealthy countries, such as the !nited States, are also important targets for conservation efforts. 'he ma<or threat to biological diversity is loss of habitat, and the most important means of protecting biological diversity is habitat preservation. #ighty-one percent of the endangered species in the !nited States are threatened by habitat destruction. 'ropical rain forests, wetlands, coral reefs, and temperate grasslands are all being eliminated by human activity. #ven when habitat still remains, it is increasingly fragmented by roads, power lines, fences, farms, ranches, residences, and other human activities that restrict wildlife movement and alter the local environment. $ir and water pollution can also eliminate susceptible species, even where the basic habitat structure remains. Sewage, industrial waste, and agricultural runoff can severely damage aFuatic communities.

Dand-use planning is a critical component of conservation. $ well-planned community provides sufficient resources for a variety of uses, while preserving large areas for conservation. Biological communities can be harmed when e,otic species are transported by people to a new place deliberately or accidentally. In many areas of the world introduced sheep, cattle, pigs, and goats have driven native plants to e,tinctionG introduced invasive grasses, agricultural weeds, and ornamental plants have escaped into the surrounding landscapes, replacing the native species. (iseases spreading from one continent to another are a significant threat decimating important tree species in 1orth $merica and birds in :awaii. 4lobal climate change is an emerging threat to biological diversity. If #arthCs climate continues to change and warm as scientists predict, many species will not be able to migrate or adapt and will go e,tinct. 1umerous bird, mammal, and fish species continue to be overharvested. #ntire communities of large animals have been removed for consumption or sale resulting in HemptyH forests, lakes, and oceans. )ertain species have been targeted by collectors and

represent special conservation problems, such as shellfish, butterflies, tropical and coral reef fish, orchids, and cacti and other succulent plants. &. Summary Biodiversity is very important for human-beings that every country should take measures to protect it, especially when it is facing so many threats. 'he single most important method to protect biological diversity is to establish national parks, nature reserves, and other protected areas. 8here species can no longer live in the wild due to continuing threats, they can be maintained in .oos and botanical gardens. Det us do something to help protect the biodiversity around us.