Biodiversity Biodiversity is described by Ruth Patrick as, “the presence of a large number of species of animals and plants…”(Patrick 15). In other words, biodiversity is the term for the measure of the variety of different species that do exist still on our plant. These species can range from the simplest bacteria to the very complex primates. Biodiversity can relate locally or globally. For example the Southern New England forest contains 20 or 30 tree species while in the rainforest of Peru there are hundreds of species of trees (Patrick 15). There are also further ways to view biodiversity and that is in levels. These levels can be the “diversity of higher plants, number of species, or expressed as sheer weight (biomass)” (Patrick 15). Biodiversity is different is each part of the world. Not every part of the world contains the same amount of creatures yet there are parts of the world that might contain similar amounts. These regions of the world have similar weather patterns and therefore similar species will develop there but they are not necessarily the same. One of the more important regions of the world that contain a large amount of biodiversity is the tropical rainforest region. “The forests comprise roughly 7% of the dry land surface of Earth and may hold more than 50% of all species” (Patrick 15). Yet us as humans do not know all of the creatures and organisms that live on this planet at all. We only have discovered, in one way or another, about 1.4 million species yet the number that is estimated is about 10-100 million (Patrick 15). The unknown species that do exist on this world can have many and countless benefits to the human race. A good example can be the rosy periwinkle, which is a plant found on the island of Madagascar, helped cure the Hodgkin’s disease and lymphocytic leukemia. (E.O. Wilson 3). Another can be the cyclosporin that was found in an obscure Norwegian fungus that is the foundation for the organ transplant business (Wilson 3). There also exist countless other potential uses and numerous other benefits that can be found in nature. The only problem is that we do not know even half of the amount of life that exists on this planet and many of them are disappearing faster than we can discover.
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