Frontiers in Biodiversity Studies

Frontiers in Biodiversity Studies
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Frontiers in Biodiversity Studies

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Publisher: IK International
ISBN: 9789381141526
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Preface Biodiversity on the earth contributes to food, medicine, agriculture and ecosystem balance in the broadest sense. It has been influenced due to a wide range of anthropogenic pressures including population growth, industrialization and mining results in the loss of biodiversity. It is often defined as the diversity of all life forms, from genes to species, found in the biosphere . The present biodiversity is the product of nearly 3.5 billion years of evolution of many millions of distinct biological species. United Nations declared 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity, realizing the importance and the value of biodiversity. Biodiversity depends on climate, altitude, latitude, soils and many other biological factors. New species are regularly discovered with an average of 5-10,000 every year, and though discovered, are not yet classified. A great deal of work is being done to preserve the available global biodiversity. It has been argued that the present rate of extinction is sufficient to eliminate most species on the earth in next 5-10 decades. During the last century, decreases in biodiversity have been increasingly observed and studies show that 30 of all natural species will be extinct by 2050. While providing food, fodder, medicine, shelter and clothing, etc. for the whole world, biodiversity great still has untapped potential for increasing the range of food products suitable for human consumption. Biodiversity supports a number of ecosystem processes and services such as air quality, climate, water purification, food quality and other services. Non-material benefits that are obtained from ecosystems include spiritual and aesthetic values. Some of the health issues influenced by biodiversity include dietary health, nutritional security, infectious diseases and medicinal resources, social and psychological health, and spiritual well-being. Biodiversity is also known to have an important role in reducing disaster risk and in post-disaster relief and recovery efforts. Therefore, it is essential to understand the roles of biodiversity in an era of climate change and global warming at various temporal, socioeconomic and spatial scales. Moreover, 20th century has witnessed a great loss of biodiversity through agricultural intensification, land use change and management of biodiversity along interfaces between agriculturally productive land and nonagricultural lands, payments and rewards for the ecosystem services generated by biodiversity. Hence, there is an urgent need to demonstrate the value of biodiversity research to realize complex relationships between biodiversity conservation, land use, ecosystem services and their value to society. FrontEArI En BEo EvArIEtO StK EAI shares the common view that biodiversity serves as capital in supporting food security, agricultural productivity and environmental management for the ever-
LE Preface increasing global population in the 21st century. Biodiversity of aquatic mollusks, freshwater ciliates, wild legumes, dipterans, coastal and freshwater fishes, mangroves, phytopathogenic fungi, terrestrial heteropterans and insect communities from some of the megadiversity countries and hot spots of the world including the mountain lakes of Eastern Alps in Austria, South American grasslands, South Patagonian forests, semi-arid zones of Argentina, cattle pastures and rangelands of Washington in USA, Alvarado lagoon in Mexico, Corozal Bay in Belize, protected nature territories in Ukraine, Greece and India are extensively reviewed in these twenty review articles written by leading experts in the field of biodiversity research and applications. Habitat loss, fragmentation, land use-land cover change, ecological agriculture, integration of culture collections, improvement of conservation values and the chasmogamous cleistogamous mixed breeding system in angiosperms have also been described with the most suitable case studies. A study of such broad coverage would not have been possible without assistance from many notable experts. We wish to thank all the individuals who contributed their knowledge and experience in the form of review articles. Far from least and finally, we thank Miguel Angel Sicilia-Manzo and Joanna Acosta-Velazquez for cover photos. Editors