On the 8th of June 2019, the world marked “world environment day” as usual. The theme of the celebration was, “Air pollution”. Air pollution is rapidly taking its course, day by day and it seems complicated to regulate it. This has also contributed immensely to the degradation of the ecosystem/natural environment. World environment day is the UN’s most important day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment. Since it began in 1974, it has grown to become a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated all over the world.
Biodiversity comes from the term “biological diversity”. (Bio means life and diversity means variety). According to the International Convention on Biological Diversity, “biodiversity” (biological diversity) means the variability among living organisms from all sources, including terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. The Oxford advanced learners dictionary defined Biodiversity as; the existence of large number of different kinds of animals and plants which make a balanced environment. Biodiversity is grouped into 3 areas namely: Species diversity which refers to the variety of different plants and types, animals and microbes; Genetic diversity which refers to the variety of genes within species of plant and animals. Genetic diversity serves as a way for populations to adapt to environmental changes. Examples includes the difference in skin color, eyes, ears and body size of a “Goats”; and lastly Ecosystem diversity which means habitat diversity per unit area. This consist of independent communities of species and their physical environment. They include grasslands, wetlands, mangroves, coral reefs and tropical forests. The ecosystem and biodiversity are closely knitted. There are two components of an ecosystem i.e. abiotic (which includes inorganic elements and compounds such as water, heat, energy, light, winds, pressure, currents, oxygen, etc.) and biotic components (which consists of other living organisms that are important in its life).
Biodiversity conservation is important for the advantage of the uprising generations to encourage the sustainability of environment and human activities. The excellent qualities of environmental conservation includes; Forest conservation and Animal/planting community conservation. Conservation can hence be defined as the protection of the natural environment from being wasted, damaged or destroyed. National biodiversity conservation development is an area that pertains to the good health, good living and long-term economic buoyancy creation for habitat/individuals within Nigeria. Conservation of biodiversity is referred to as the wise use and safe guarding of habitats and natural resources for the good of mankind, to ensure their incessant accessibility and to reserve the prototype of the environment. If the natural resources are inappropriately utilized the resources become damaged. Biodiversity conservation is the use of biological resources in ways that do not diminish the variety of important habitants in the ecosystems. Conservation of biodiversity could be in situ also known as “on-site” (protection and management of variety of life forms in their real habitant) or ex-situ also known as “off-site” (collection of some species or their populations and communities in areas away from their real habitants). Thus, the types of Ex-situ conservation includes zoos, havens, Gardens and seed banks. These are two different but complementary approaches to biodiversity conservation. A total of about 7895 plant species identified in 338 families and genera have been recorded in Nigeria. There are about 22,000 vertebrates and invertebrate species. There are about 20,000 insects, 1,000 are fishes, 247 are mammals, 123 are reptiles and 894 are birds. Also, 1,489 species of micro-organisms have been recorded (as at 2001).
However, this ranked Nigeria amongst the richest countries of Africa in terms of biodiversity. All these species of animal and plant are harbored within the country’s vegetation. Conservation can be divided into five groups but only two can be seen as the major aspects of biodiversity they includes: conservation of wildlife- wildlife means animals in their natural habitat. These includes fish, reptiles, birds and mammals. They can be conserved in these ways: killing of animals should be discouraged, cleaning of aquatic vegetation, creation of game reserves to protect animals, etc.: and secondly, conservation of forests- forests are fast dwindling due to indiscriminate felling of trees for various uses. The following are the ways of conserving the forest resources: no bush burning, forest guards should always be on watch against trespassers, planting of new trees (afforestation) and selective cutting of trees, etc. Other forms of conservation includes conservation of minerals- minerals are some of the irreplaceable resources. Therefore, careful administration is needed to avoid running short of them. Only Federal government agencies are authorized to mine minerals in Nigeria, conservation of water- water is so essential to life that its conservation is very necessary for normal existence of life. Water is conserved in the following ways: burst water pipes must be repaired, taps must be locked if not in use and dumping of refuse and sewage must not be allowed, finally conservation of soil- the soil needs to be conserved if we are to avoid shortage of food and famine. Mismanagement of soil leads to infertility. For example, overgrazing and burning of the land encourages soil erosion. The following practices aid to conserve soil are: use of cover crops to preserve soil nutrition, the use of organic manures to replenish lost soil value and practicing shifting cultivation and crop.
Biodiversity in Nigeria is continued to be posed with a possibility of uprising by using necessary sustainable development strategies, the following are the potentials of biodiversity: it aims to help people to develop the orientation, abilities and cognizance to make informative judgments for their fore deals, now and in the future, biodiversity could be a wellspring of economic sustenance and ecological security. Thus, human activities such as farming, agriculture, tourism and mining threaten biodiversity endowment particularly when undertaken in depleting manner, it serves as checks and balance to the soil food web via population control movement and survival from season to season, the organisms that interact with one another and with plants and small animals that forms a network of biological activities will encourage the existence of biodiversity and lastly the soil biodiversity includes mites, earthworms, nematodes, fungi, bacteria and other organisms. These organisms ameliorate the access and storage of water, control erosion, plant nutrition and degradation of residual matter.
It has already be noted that the state of the World’s environment is horrendous. However, biodiversity conservation has been faced with the following traumatic challenges: erosion, flood, desertification, fishing with toxic chemicals e.g. explosives, solvents, etc., indiscriminate felling of trees and killing of animals indiscriminately has led to their extinction e.g. dinosaurs, etc., discharge of harmful waste into water bodies has led to the death of most water habitat, climate changes, bush burning, forest exploitations and deforestation.
In conclusion, biodiversity conservation and National development are two inter-woven related branches which is centered on societal progress, economic buoyance and environmental conduciveness. By recognizing the balance between human and the eco-systems, we hope to be of reputable impact, through positive changes in our hideous practices, public policies and behavioral patterns of individuals to build and revitalize our connection with nature and those at the helm of the distinct biodiversity, should ensure the total execution of laws. When the laws are bridged, apt verdict should be given to defaulters to curb these excesses.