Biodiversity

Biodiversity (an abbreviation of "biological diversity") describes the diversity of life from genes to ecosystems and spans every level of biological organization. The term has several interpretations, and there are many ways to index, measure, characterize, and represent its complex organization.[9][10] Biodiversity includes species diversity, ecosystem diversity, genetic diversity and the complex processes operating at and among these respective levels.[10][11][12] Biodiversity plays an important role in ecological health as much as it does for human health.[13][14] Preventing species extinctions is one way to preserve biodiversity, but factors such as genetic diversity and migration routes are equally important and are threatened on global scales. Conservation priorities and management techniques require different approaches and considerations to address the full ecological scope of biodiversity. Populations and species migration, for example, are sensitive indicators of ecosystem services that sustain and contribute natural capital toward the well-being of humanity.[15][16][17][18] An understanding of biodiversity has practical application for ecosystem-based conservation planners as they make ecologically responsible decisions in management recommendations to consultant firms, governments, and industry.[19] The protected areas have been established under the protected area network across the world for conservation of biodiversity. Ecological health or ecological integrity or ecological damage are the symptoms of an ecosystem's pending loss of carrying capacity, its ability to perform ecological services, or a pending ecocide, due to cumulative causes such as pollution. It can also be defined in regards to farming so as to minimize the negative effects of agricultural practices. The term health is intended to evoke human environmental health concerns

which are often closely related (but as a part of medicine not ecology). As with ecocide, that term assumes that ecosystems can be said to be alive (see also Gaia philosophy on this issue). While the term integrity or damage seems to take no position on this, it does assume that there is a definition of integrity that can be said to apply to ecosystems. The more political term ecological wisdom refers not only to recognition of a level of health, integrity or potential damage, but also, to a decision to do nothing (more) to harm that ecosystem or its dependents. An ecosystem has a good health if it is capable of self-restoration after suffering external disturbances. This is termed resilience. Measures of ecological health, like measures of the more specific principle of biodiversity, tend to be specific to an ecoregion or even to an ecosystem. Measures that depend on biodiversity are valid indicators of ecological health as stability and productivity (good indicators of ecological health) are two ecological effects of biodiversity. Dependencies between species vary so much as to be difficult to express abstractly. However, there are a few universal symptoms of poor health or damage to system integrity: The buildup of waste material and the proliferation of simpler life forms (bacteria, insects) that thrive on it - but no consequent population growth in those species that normally prey on them; The loss of keystone species, often a top predator, causing smaller carnivores to proliferate, very often overstressing herbivore populations; A higher rate of species mortality due to disease rather than predation, climate, or food scarcity; The migration of whole species into or out of a region, contrary to established or historical patterns; The proliferation of a bioinvader or even a monoculture where previously a more biodiverse species range existed.