Biodiversity refers to the variety of living organisms from all sources such as aquatic, terrestrial, and other ecosystems in the natural environment. These include animals, plants, microorganisms, genes, and the ecosystem itself. It is a very complex phenomenon that covers diversity between and within species.
Biodiversity is of great significance to humans for many reasons, all of which are tied to their wellbeing individually and as a community. It is especially important for indigenous people and those in the rural and coastal communities as it contributes significantly to the quality of life they live. It is the foundation of our ecosystem services with layers upon layers of living organisms all dependent on one another. While the dependence of the organisms on our another may not be quickly noticeable in some instances, that of humans and earth on ecosystems is something that cannot be missed. Humans depend highly on different ecosystems for survival and protection against natural elements. For instance, the biodiversity of the aquatic ecosystem offers food and water to man while that of the terrestrial, in this instance, the forest provides not only food but other essential products as well. Apart from providing for human survival, this ecosystem offers varied protection against various manmade and natural haems and disasters, from windbreaks to absorbing carbon that would otherwise lead to climate change.
Australia ranks as one of the most biodiverse countries globally with the people heavily dependent on the environment, not just for food but for recreation and entertainment as well. From visits to national parks, wildlife parks, botanical gardens to whale watching, snorkelling, scuba diving, etc. Both natives and visitors find the Australian environment beautiful and close to two-thirds of the tourists who visit Australia usually involve themselves in one natural activity or another during their stay in the country. Looking at the natural environment of Australia, one will understand why there is this attraction. There many natural spectacles to observe and experience. The Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree Rainforest, National Parks, etc. are familiar places that people visit in Australia. With many of these places designated as World Heritage sites by UNESCO, they offer tourists and natives an encounter and experience with nature that is hard to find somewhere else.
Biodiversity in the Environment also offers many other benefits for man beyond recreation. In fact, it is integral to our existence in this world as it covers everything basically from oxygen production, water purification, pest control, soil building and nutrients cycles for food production, and general stability of the climate conditions.
However, biodiversity also suffers greatly from human actions and inactions, and Australia is currently facing a decline in its biodiversity. In recent years, there has been a loss in a variety of living organisms and ecosystems present in the environment. This decline is evidenced in the extinction of over 50 animal species and 48 plant species in the last 200 years. 426 animal species and 1339 plants species remain listed as threatened, which means if nothing is done, there is a higher risk of extinction in coming years.