Notes: 5 reasons to protect biodiversity

Please read the
Are these worth protecting?
Why should we protect
biodiversity? (all the species on
the planet)
5 Reasons to protect biodiversity
1. Medicinal
2. Commercial
3. Agricultural
4. Ecological
5. Ethical/Aesthetic
Reason #1:Medicinal
Rosy Periwinkle: Hodgkin’s disease
and lymphocytic leukemia
If a species
disappears, it could
have been an
important cure for a
serious disease!
• 40% of modern medicines come
from plants/animals/fungi
• 95% of known plant species have
never been tested for medicinal
Vampire Bat saliva
• Used to create an
anticoagulant to
prevent clotting
during surgery
Pacific Yew – Taxol cancer medicine
Reason #2: Commercial – We
should protect species because we can make
money from them.
Harvesting: Shrimp industry
Harvesting: Recreational hunting
Commercial: Ecotourism – spending money
to visit an ecosystem or a species
Visiting Nature Preserves
Whale Watching
Austin’s bat colony
Mountain biking
Whitewater Rafting
Biomimicry - engineering designs
based on natural systems
Biomimicry – engineering designs
based on natural systems
Whale fins – better wind turbines
Underwater plants – floating
energy harvesters
Reason #3: Agricultural – we
should protect species because they could strengthen
our crops
• Of 80,000 known edible
plants on the planet, we
depend on 20 species to
provide 90% of global
food supply.
• Corn, rice and wheat are
50% alone!
• So . . . What if a disease
strikes one of these
important crops?
Relying too heavily on one variety of a
species can be risky
Maybe these could be new food
Winged Bean of New Guinea
Katemfe berry
Agricultural – We should protect species
because they might be pollinating our food.
Reason #4: Ecological – We should
protect species because they all play a role in their ecosystem.
Food webs
Food webs
Symbiotic relationships
Indicator species
US Fish and Wildlife
Service estimates that
losing one plant can
trigger the loss of 30
other species
Simba says it’s all connected!
• Ecosystem services!
• Air purification
• Water filtration
• Climate control
(absorbing CO2)
• Gene bank
• Soil building
Reason #5: Aesthetics/Recreation/Spiritual/Moral
– We should protect species because it’s the right thing to do
and a diverse world is more interesting!
We are ONE species
• 1.5 million KNOWN
• More are discovered
every year
Biodiversity enriches our lives!
“Endangered means there’s still time!”
• Threatened
• Endangered
• Extinct
Which reasons apply to our
friend the Monarch?