There have been a number of economic arguments advanced regarding evaluation of the benefits of biodiversity. Most are anthropocentric but economists have also debated whether biodiversity is inherently valuable, independent of benefits to human.
Diverse ecosystems are typically more productive than non-diverse ones, because any set of species can never fully exploit all potential niches. Since human economic productivity is largely reliant on Earth's ecosystems, adequate bioproductivity needs to be maintained.
The wealth of natural innovation found in biological organisms rivals all known technologies derived through synthetic means. A single human genome has some three billion bits of information but the human species also has many variations. There are many millions of species of life on the planet each with valuable information. Many chemical formulae and forty-five percent of all drugs have bio-origin. In the long run keeping genetic records of all species could, however, be just as useful in this regard.
Some of the important economic commodities that biodiversity supplies to humankind are:
Biodiversity provides high variety of food: crops, livestock, forestry, and fish are important food source of human species. However, the number of species have been domesticated and cultivated are small if comparing with the number of species existing. Wild species and varieties can supply genes for improving domesticated species by improving their yield, disease resistance, tolerance and vigor; this can increase the profit of farming.
Biological pest control
Using control species is often considered as more enivronmentally friendly method with compared with using pesticides. The control species can be used to protect the crops against pests and weeds. The economic loss due to the loss of crops/food can be reduced with the use of the control species.
Also, the population of disease vectors (for example, mosquitoes) and the invasive species can be controlled; thus, the economic loss led by the invasive species and vectors can be reduced.
However, even with extensive research into the control species, their use is a risky business, as in the importation of the Cane Toad to control beetles in Queensland.
A wide variety of plants, animals and fungi are used as medicine. Wild plant species have been used for medicinal purposes since before the beginning of recorded history. Over 60% of world population depends on the plant medicines for their primary health care. For example, quinine comes from the cinchona tree has been used to treat malaria, digitalis from the foxglove plant treats chronic heart trouble, and morphine from the poppy plant gives pain relief.
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