Gobar Times
Green School

Biodiversity: Of Birds and Bees

Mafusa: Look Simba, everything the light touches is our kingdom. A king’s time as ruler rises and falls like the Sun. One day, the Sun will set on my time and rise with yours as the new king!

Simba: And then, all this will be mine?

Mafusa: Everything. Simba, everything you see exists together in a delicate balance! As kings, we need to understand that balance and respect all creatures – from the crawling ant to the leaping antelope.

Simba: Don’t we eat the antelope?

Mafusa: Yes! But let me explain. When we die, our bodies become grass and antelopes eat that grass. So, we are all connected by the GREAT CIRCLE OF LIFE.

Isn’t it remarkable that nature sustains the web of life on which we humans, like all other species, are dependent for food and shelter? Today’s Biodiversity is the result of over 3.5 billion years of evolution, mostly because of natural processes and to some extent, due to human influence.

Cosmic Biodiversity: An Emergency

Did you know that India, a mega diverse country, with only 2.4 per cent of the world’s land area, accounts for 7-8 per cent of the world's recorded species, including 45,500 species of plants and 91,000 species of animals? With such an enviable record, why is biodiversity conservation an EMERGENCY? Because most species are threatened by a sharp decline in the size and the condition of their habitat.

HONEY BEES

Bees, butterflies, birds, bats among others , pollinate 75 per cent of the world’s staple crops and 90 per cent of all flowering plants. All insects fertilise the soil with the nutrients from their droppings.
Assume that bees are extinct. Can we replace them? Let’s see if we can even do half of all that the bees accomplish.

  • To make half a kilogram of honey, a bee has to tap into two million flowers.
  • A honey bee goes to 50-100 flowers during one collection trip.
  • Approximately 20,000 worker bees get together to gather one kilogram of honey.
  • Around 30,000 bees (one colony) can pollinate one acre of fruit trees. How many human beings will be able to accomplish this job?

Biodiversity includes everything on this planet — from micro organisms to human beings. It also refers to the interrelatedness of genes species and vast ecosystems and their interactions with the environment.

Over 500 kinds of mammals, 175 lizards and 300 reptile species live in the Amazon Rainforests

EARTHWORMS

Earthworms take all kinds of organic debris from the surface of the ground deep into their burrows. As they 'eat' the debris, they excrete soil containing concentrated nitrate, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, and calcium. These vitamins and minerals are essential for the growth of healthy plants.

But dislike for this slimy, ugly and weak creature comes naturally to us, humans. If these little workaholics were to disappear, how well we will be able to perform their tasks?

  • One earthworm can digest 36 tonnes of soil in one year.
  • A new US study indicates 1½ million worms move 20 tonnes of earth each year. If you had to move 20 tonnes of earth without using any equipment how much time will you require?

Earthworm benefit calculator
25 earthworms/sq.ft. = 1 tonne of worms/acre
Nutrients added to1 acre of soil each year:

2 kg of nitrate of nitrogen, 13 kg of phosphorus, 33 kg of potash, 40 kg of magnesium, 225 kg of calcium