The global environmental problem of the sharp decline in biodiversity is caused by human behavior, and it can also be regarded as a negative effect of energy use. It is estimated that in the late 1980s, the area of the tropical rainforest was being destroyed at a rate of two football fields per second. If this rate continues to be maintained, almost all of the tropical rainforest will be destroyed in a few decades. Since 1960, half of the earth’s forest area has been destroyed. In addition, global warming has caused major changes in climate and natural ecosystems in a relatively short period of time, which is also one of the main reasons for the sharp decline in global biodiversity.
People have realized the resource value of biodiversity and its components, including values in various fields such as ecology, society, economy, science, education, and culture. The resource value of biodiversity is mainly reflected in two aspects. On the one hand, the biodiversity on the earth and the biological resources formed from it constitute the life support system on which mankind depends. All progress and development of human society are based on biodiversity, and human survival cannot be separated from other organisms. On the other hand, the resource value of biodiversity is reflected in the ecological service function of the ecosystem. The ecosystem regulates the flow of energy on the earth and ensures the material circulation in nature, thereby maintaining the balance of the atmosphere, conserving water sources, purifying water sources, and providing rest places for human beings. The economic value of the ecological service function is not lower than the direct economic value of the ecosystem.
Regarding biodiversity, the most discussed internationally is species diversity. Scientists estimate that there are between 5 million and 10 million biological species on the earth, of which there are about 1.7 million biological species that have been scientifically identified and recorded. For the more researched biological groups, from the polar regions to the equator, the abundance of species shows an increasing trend. Among them, tropical rain forests have the most abundant species. Investigations in tropical forests have proved that the number of insects and other invertebrates that have not been identified in humid tropical forests is astonishing, and there may be millions of species. China is rich in landform types and has all the ecosystem types in the northern hemisphere. It occupies a very important position in terms of biological resources and quantity. It is one of the eight countries with the richest biodiversity in the world.
Scientists estimate that at the current rate of cutting 17 million square kilometers per year, tropical rain forests may be destroyed in the next 30 years. The change and loss of habitat means the loss of ecosystem diversity, species diversity and genetic diversity at the same time.
The current rate of biodiversity loss on the earth is faster than at any time in history. According to the estimation of biologist Edward Wilson, the background extinction rate that occurs naturally, that is unrelated to human behavior, is about one species every few years. At present, about 4000 to 6000 species are on the brink of extinction every year, or about 10 species every day. This extinction rate is 10,000 times the natural extinction rate that has nothing to do with human behavior. The evaluation of the United Nations Environment Programme concluded that in the foreseeable future, 5% to 20% of plant and animal populations may be threatened with extinction. Studies have also shown that, according to the current situation, in the next 25 years, about 5% to 10% of the species on the earth will disappear every 10 years.
The diversity of species is beneficial to mankind. The extinction of species and the loss of genetic diversity will reduce biodiversity and gradually destroy the foundation of human existence. The massive loss of biodiversity and the destruction of limited biological resources have and are directly or indirectly inhibiting economic development and social progress.