What is Biodiversity?
Biodiversity consists of the millions of different species on the planet and how they interact in their individual ecosystems. It can range from the lowest chemical levels of life to whole ecosystems and consists of genetic variation within traits. In short, biodiversity is the variety between species, habitats, resources, genetics, and ecosystems and how they interact.


biodiversity_piechart.gif
http://www.ukbms.org/images/working%20images/biodiversity_piechart.gif

What creates biodiversity?
Biodiversity has evolved naturally over millions of years. Species have evolved from low level bacteria and changed to accommodate the ecosystem they live in. The physical environment allows more niches to exist. E.g. In the dessert, there are limited amounts of species because there is less water and therefore less plants. However, in forests and especially rainforests, there are hundreds of thousands of species because of the warm, wet climate that gives rise to plants, and then to more species.

http://biodiversity.ca.gov/Biodiversity/biodiv_def2.html
http://www.ccma.vic.gov.au/programs/biodiversity.htm

What is overharvesting?

Overharvesting is the endangerment and extinction of species from overhunting and overfishing. Overharvesting overwhelmingly depletes ecological resources to harmful levels that make the hunting and fishing of the species unsustainable. Major industries that are main contributors to overharvesting are the hunting of bush meat, pet trade, overfishing and the poaching of rhinos and elephants.
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1377241/overharvesting


WHAT SPECIFIC INDUSTRIES CONTRIBUTE TO OVERHARVESTING?
Bush Meat, Pet Trade, Overfishing, Poaching of Rhinos and Elephants


How does "bush meat" contribute to overharvesting?

Bush meat is the meat from primates that are killed in less developed countries for food. The primates are harvested for non-sustainable sales in markets in towns which exacerbate problems. The hunting industry is not thinking sustainably, and is simply thinking about their monetary gain. Over-hunting is leading to the extinction of the animals they are overharvesting and endangering even more. Illegal and legal commercial hunting is the one of the biggest threats facing biodiversity today.

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http://www.all-creatures.org/anex/monkey-bush-05.jpg


Why is "bush meat" occurring?

The illegal trade in Tanzania of animal meat is an example of economic and political reasons affecting the natural ecology of the land.
Tanzania hosts over half a million refugees and has done so for five decades. In 1951, the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees granted refugees many rights that citizens of that nation had. Since the 1990's, Tanzania has become less welcoming to refugees. Countries tend to blame their economic and social distress on refugees. These people have brought both positive and negative impacts on Tanzania. The presence of the refugees has improved social services, infrastructure, and health care, providing for better economic development to Tanzania. These refugees also serve as cheap labor.

http://www.refugees.org/article.aspx?id=1193

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/01/080122-refugees-bushmeat.html

http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/topic,4565c2254d,,4a40d2b383,0.html



How does the pet trade contribute to overharvesting?

The pet trade is the capturing and selling of animals from tropical rainforests to be sold in other countries illegally. It is a lucrative business for locals because it is easy for them to just go into the forest, get an animal, sell it, and make a profit. The pet trade is the second biggest cause of species loss after habitat destruction. The pet trade does not cause deforestation, but it takes out essential species in rainforests. The animals traded include anything from birds to big cats to primates to amphibians. 38 million animals are remove animals are removed a year. Locals sometimes kill the mother to take the babies, which further reduces the population. At least 90% of the pets being traded die before they can even reach the store for sale. There is a high demand in the west for these exotic animals, so people who live in the places where they are found, such as the rainforest, capture the animals to sell for a good amount of money. CITES convention on the international trade in endangered species tried to limit the trade by making it illegal to export and import plants and animals. ways to help stop the pet trade are to buy from a pet store that has legal pets and Some places are having farms for the pet trade where they breed the animals instead of capturing them from the wild. this is a good business for local people and does not harm the wild population.


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http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/.a/6a00d8341c630a53ef011570244057970b-800wi



How does overfishing contribute to overharvesting?

¾ of the earth’s surface is covered in oceans and over 80 percent life on earth is in them. They have the greatest biodiversity of any place on the planet. Overfishing is an unsustainable for our oceans. It is the catching of too many fish adult at a time, leading to a population decrease because of the lack of ability to reproduce. 80 percent of the world’s fisheries are on their way to a collapse or depleting. There is an increasing commercial value on marine mammals, sharks, and fish species and that contributes to the removal of more fish from the oceans. It not only affects that specific fish species, but it affects the entire food web. The animals that they eat will become over populated because of a lack of enemy. And the animals that eat these fish will no longer have food so they will also reduce in population, or even go extinct. To help with this problem we should be informed and know where the fish we eat comes from. There are websites such as http://blueocean.org/seafood/__ where you can see what fish in your area will have the least affect on the environment and you can eat those. Technology has increased the effects of overfishing. Fishing industries especially in the west invest in the newest technology even though it effects the fishpopulation in a negative way. There are massive nets that are dragged acrossthe seafloor by deep-water trawlers which destroy orals and sponge beds thathave taken centuries to grow, in just a few hours. As the fish supplydecreases, fisheries are forced to adapt to the new circumstances by inventingnew technology, which will allow them to capture even more fish.

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http://09lzeller.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/overfishing1.jpg


How does the poaching of rhinos and elephants contribute to overharvesting?

Elephants are hunted mainly for their ivory tusks, but also for revenge and sport. Ivory is valuable in trade to countries all over the world, especially Japan. Elephants are hunted for revenge because they can be garden pests, destroying farmers' crops and farms. Scientists are developing tools for farmers to ward off elephants that won’t do any long-term harm to them, such as pepper bombs that irritate their eyes. In 1990, CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) passed laws to protect elephants and broke the curve of decline in elephant population.

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/elephants/poaching.html



Why is overharvesting still occurring?

Overharvesting industries are a major part of the worldwide economy because it is profitable. A basic rule of the economy is that when the supply outweighs the demand, the product offered is no longer profitable. Overharvesting initially brings economic growth, but in the long term it is not profitable. The government eventually has to provide subsidies to support overharvesting so that it remains economically viable. Overharvesting depletes the recourse, ultimately leading to such widespread extraction that the species may go extinct. Overharvesting has become easier and easier over the past twenty years because of technology. Humans are able to collect massive amounts of fish at a time with giant nets that span 100's of yards. Overharvesting is destructive to biodiversity and needs to be managed through countries' governments and through countries changing their own culture.