Today we are sharing the essay that took 4th position in the EMEND World Environment Day Competition. It is written by 300 level student Adaji Ufedo-Ojo Eleojo of the University of Nigeria.
Her scores were as follows;
Stage 1: 66
Stage 2: 86
Final Stage: 4th position
The awesomeness of nature has astonished and delighted us and is ultimately the source of our sustenance.
Yet, in using plants and animals for food and clothing, for building houses and for medicine, humans are endangering this immense richness of species. Today, the loss of the earth’s biological diversity is widely recognized as a critical environmental problem. That loss is most severe in developing countries, where the conditions of human existence are most difficult.
In a recent estimate it was speculated that over 25 per cent of the world’s plant species-might be lost by the year 2025. With respect to animals, the world has over 3,500 species of mammals, 9,000 species of birds and considerable numbers of insects and other animals. But almost all meat, milk, eggs and other animal products today come from just five categories of animals inter alia., catties, pigs, goats, sheep and poultry birds.
As expected, the world has not been silent in the face of these environmental problems. In answer to this, various organizations (the likes ofemeralds cape environmental development, Nigerian Conservation Foundation, Center for Biological Diversity, Fauna & Flora International e.t.c) have emphasized on the need for “biodiversity”
Biological diversity, (biodiversity) is the scientiﬁc term used for the variety of life on Earth. This variety exists at different levels and includes the genes found in all living things, as well as all species and the ecosystems these species comprise. With millions of different Flora and fauna species across the world, it is what gives the various life forms on Earth their uniqueness.
Unarguably, national development is essential to the growth and development as well as sustenance of any nation. Ensuring the continuity of these various life forms is quintessential to national development and economic stability in that, each species, irrespective of size, is capable of making quantifiable contributions and has a vital role to play. Net export is evidently a vital component in a strong and financially stable economy. With a plethora of exported goods being biological resources, the usefulness of biodiversity conservation in generating revenue cannot be overemphasized.
Cultural heritage are a means of tourist attraction, boosting the tourism sector. Tourism has an overwhelming capacity to catalyze significant foreign exchange earnings and prompt employment and investments exceptionally. Apart from that, a large number of plant species means a greater variety of crops, increasing soil nutrient remineralisation, usage and efficient retention leading to greater productivity and minimal nutrient loss.
Also, wood -a natural resource capable of providing humans with multiple benefits due to its multipurpose feature. It is a globally utilised commodity used in construction of buildings and furniture, as fuel (firewood) in many rural settlements, paper industries and timber. Timber, for example, has remained the biggest contributor to industry with a world wide trade of 40 billion US dollars per year. A close second is fishery products worth 12 million US dollars per year. It is estimated that more than 3 billion people rely on marine and coastal biodiversity also as a means of livelihood. Conserving wild plants for their medicinal value not only saves lives but also makes good economic sense. Over 40 species of lower plants have, in addition to providing man with medicine, also generated income for local villages and world commercial sales of around 40 billion US dollars a year. The availability of these different fauna and Flora make it possible for the nation to participate in local and international trade, therefore boosting the economy and raising the value of currency.
Likewise, its substantial role in eliminating poverty as well as preserving the integrity of ecology can not be overemphasized. As conservation of biodiversity aids in mitigating poverty levels through tenable agriculture by satisfying human needs for food and fiber and maintaining economic viability of farm operations. On the other hand ecosystem rejuvenation and protection along with supports of continuity of various ecosystem species is achieved (The mangroves protect coastal areas from storms and erosion while in the Savannah, trees serve as wind breakers).
Wistfully, amidst the enormous potentials of biodiversity conservation as well as its tremendous contributions to national development. Our quest to gratify wants has consumed us to the point of neglecting rejuvenating our natural resources after exploiting them. Leading to subsequent scarcity of essential biological species. Some of these biological species (Johson’s Seagrass, Plankton, Eyelash Seaweed, Addax, Jaguar, Quokka, Puma e.t.c. ) have either crept into extinction or termed “endangered “ today because of harmful human practices.
The main cause of the loss of biodiversity can be attributed to the influence of human beings on the world’s ecosystem, In fact human beings have deeply altered the environment, and have modified the territory, exploiting the species directly, for example, Habitat loss, Overexploitation (hunting, deforestation, fishing e.t.c), pollution, climate change associated with global warming are all influenced mainly by human practices.
On the other hand, In a bid to combat this rapid loss, certain obstacles like corruption, policy and legislation constraints,poor institutional cohesion, lack of interest, inadequate research also stands as a “cog in the wheel” towards the success of biodiversity conservation.
Despite all these, hope is not lost. With an outlook towards the protection of biological species and reviving biodiversity conservation the following recommendation are discernably based on the foregoing.
-Budgetary allocation to the forestry subsector should be substantially increased in order to boost national efforts and research.
-Skilled veterinarians and personnel should be at the forefront of taking proper care of the available variety of fauna in cases of treatment and other wise.
-The number of national reserves in the country should be increased in order to provide safe habitats for some of the fauna facing extinction and the other lower life forms. Zoological gardens must be upgraded as well as maintained.
-The public should be sensitised on biodiversity and the relationship between land use and biodiversity benefits. This would result in mass participation in the cause.
-Finally, there is need for environmental organizations to create awareness programs on the dangers of biodiversity loss and its detrimental consequences on ecosystem -writings like this will go a long way towards creating such awareness.
We need biodiversity just as much as it needs us, maybe even more. Businesses that are reliant on plants and animal-based resources will suffer as a result of decreases in biodiversity and supportive environments that they rely on. The implication of these loses and destructive practices are that many potentially valuable biological species may become extinct before been discovered. This can further upset the balance of nature. Therefore there is need to preserve all species, maintain the ecosystem and a healthy environment forever so that it also remains healthy for the next generation.
“Biodiversity is the greatest treasure we have…..Its diminishing is to be prevented at all costs”
— Thomas Eisner
Addy Jose Vershima, Department of biological sciences, University of Markurdi, Benue state Nigeria.
Ahmed Sadiq Gumel, Loss of animal Biodiversity in Nigeria (2019).
Aliyu Ibrahim, Department of Laborary Technology, Nassarawa Polytechnic, Lafia, Nigeria.
Habu Audu and Gla Manga Ayuba, Department of microbiology, College of education Akwanga, Nassarawa state, October, 2016.
Kabough Johnathan Terkimbi, Federal capital territory administration, FCT-Abuja Nigeria.
Mohammed K. Haruna, Department of farming system research, Lake Chad Research Institute, Maiduguri, Nigeria.
Nigeria national biodiversity strategy and action plan (NBSAP) 2007.
Nigeria fourth national biodiversity report (NFNBR) 2010.
P.C Aju, Understanding and appreciating the need for biodiversity conservation in Nigeria (2010), Department of forestry and environmental management technology Imo State Polytechnic, Umuagwo-Ohaji, Imo State, Nigeria.