UDC 574:502 Biological diversity: a modern state close and distant

UDC 574:502
K.M. Sytnik
Institute of Botany. MG Cold NAS of Ukraine, vul. Tereshchenkivska 2, GSP-1,
01601 Kyiv, [email protected]
This paper presents a new science - "diversitology", which methods and
methodological approaches must provide information obtaining and ways of
analysis in the following areas: biotic components composition (species,
populations, ecomorphous groups, etc.), ecosystems of different levels, qualitative
ratios, relative abundance of these elements and characteristics of environment for
different biological systems. A new ideology is proposed - environmentalism as a
basis of science for environment.
Keywords: biotic diversity, principle of emergent properties, diversitology,
IUCN Red List species
Relatively small part of many biological laws, postulates, laws joined the
outlook of most of humanity. At least three concepts can be distinguished. The first
one is a Redi principle formulated Italian scientist Francesco Redi in XVII century
- Omne vivum e vivo - Every living from the living. In the nineteenth century, this
idea was proven by Louis Pasteur. Another revolutionary biological concept,
which awoke an echo in the views of not only the natural but also the social
problems became theory of the origin of species by Charles Darwin. The third
concept that expanded beyond biology, does not have its author, or has many
authors among botanists, zoologists, microbiologists, virologists and
paleontologists. This is the concept of biodiversity.
The idea of biodiversity has become not only one of the key concepts in the
environmental, but entered the realm of politics and political science. The 1992
World Summit on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro adopted the
Convention on Biological Diversity. It has been ratified by most countries. In
2000, world leaders adopted the Millennium Declaration, which set the goals of the
international community in the twenty-first century. One of these goals aimed at
reducing the rate of loss of many indicators biodiversity. Obviously, to at least
suspend a constant, steady and growing increase in the number of endangered
species of plants and animals, biomes and even landscapes United Nations decided
to declare 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity.
Biological diversity is a diversity of Earth's living organisms at all levels of
organization of living in all spatially confined habitats (terrestrial, freshwater,
marine). There are varieties of plants (phytodiversity), diversity of animals
(zoodiversity) and fungi (mikodiversity). The main object of biodiversity,
according to most biologists, are really existing in nature populations (a set of
individuals of one species of animal or plant organisms, especially in certain areas)
of species of living organisms that are the most homogeneous and have the ability
to regenerate itself. As the population structure of most species is insufficiently
studied at the present stage florists and faunists assess biotic diversity mainly at
species level. The basic unit of assessment biotic diversity is the total number of
species of eukaryotes (plants, animals, fungi) and prokaryotes (viruses, bacteria
Blue-green algae).
In the above-mentioned Convention on Biodiversity, the term in the literal
translation is defined as variability of living organisms. This concept includes
diversity within species, between species and between ecosystems. Some, but not
all scientists include in the definition of biodiversity biodiversity ecosystems, plant
and animal communities (biocenosis, zoocenozy, phytocenosises) and life forms of
organisms (trees, shrubs, grasses) that create the dominant aspect of the group and
largely govern biodiversity. Some researchers believe it possible to determine also
genetic, physiological, biochemical, molecular and genetic biodiversity.
Biodiversity on the planet has been still insufficiently studied. 1.7 million
species of organisms have been described already. Prognostic evaluation suggests
the existence of from 5 to 100 million species. Most abundant biodiversity
ecosystems are forests (especially tropical forests), which concentrated to 90% of
all Earth organisms.
In Ukraine, scientists who study the fauna and flora in the botanical and
ecological divisions academic and branch institutes and relevant university
departments almost completely studied biotic diversity of vascular plants, mosses,
lichens and vertebrates and published multivolume fundamental work "Flora of the
Ukrainian SSR" and "Fauna of the Ukrainian SSR". Less studied are algae, fungi,
micromycetes, insects, worms and protozoa, bacteria and viruses are very little
Ukraine has 35% of Europe's biodiversity. Biota our country has 70
thousand species of flora more than 27 thousand species, fauna - more than 45
thousand species are among them.
In 1980 the first one-volume edition of the Red Book of Ukraine was
published and it included 151 species of vascular plants and 85 animal species. The
second edition of the Red Book of Ukraine was published in two volumes: the first
volume of "Animal World", published in 1994, consisted of 382 species; the
second "Flora" appeared in 1996 and consisted of 541 species. Finally, the third
edition was published 13 years later (in late 2009) after the issue of the second
volume of the second edition.
The third edition of the Red Book of Ukraine which reflects the current state
of biodiversity is an official document of the state, which provides information on
826 species of plants and fungi and 542 species that are endangered, or in need of
protection. The book provides Ukrainian and Latin names of each species,
taxonomic affiliation, protected status, scientific value, habitat type and its
dissemination on the territory of Ukraine, the size and structure of populations and
other data and materials.
The authors believe that the data of endangered species of flora and fauna in
Ukraine is a measure of preserving the diversity of flora and fauna. In my opinion,
it is difficult to agree because, the third edition of the Red Book of Ukraine
contains twice the number of species of plants and animals and demonstrates an
ecological inefficiency of the Ukrainian government and Ukrainian society, its
harmful activity and inactivity. They contributed to the disappearance of the Red
Book species which are invaluable rarity gene pool and for which it should be
timely developed and introduced a special regime effective protection. Academic
research institutions and university biological departments of the country had to
annually inform the authorities of the state of biodiversity, and make proposals for
activity by state and local governments to address the causes of the rapid depletion
of biodiversity and allocate funs needed for the protection, primarily phytogenous
pool of Ukraine. A more in-depth consideration of scientists, botanists and
zoologists is required for not only inventorization and registration of Red Book
species, but also studying the dissemination, abundance, vitality and practical use
of individual populations. It is also important the study of biology, intraspecific
structure, methods of reproduction and storage of Red Book species in national
parks, botanical gardens, parks, research institutions, etc.
There is no doubt that the country should be grateful to education, academic
and research workers of Ukraine, Ministry of Ukraine, Ukrainian Environmental
League activists and other environmental public association that created and who
made it possible to publish the Red Book of Ukraine. However, it should be noted
that it is very desirable that section on the scientific basis preservation and
enrichment of biological diversity has taken its rightful place in this book. It is
necessary to develop measures which take into account the specific features of
species of animals and plants that having a protected status: such that disappeared,
lost in nature, being under critical threat, vulnerability, close to threatening
condition, are under great threat.
Flora of Ukraine has about 27 thousand species of plants, including about 5
thousand vascular plants, where 4523 are wild-growing; mikodiversity has about
15 thousand mushrooms and micromycetes. Algal flora includes 4720 species of
algae, bryoflora - about 800 species of moss and lichen flora - 1322 species of
The fauna of Ukraine includes are over 45 thousand species of animals,
including birds - 400 species, fishes - 200 species, insects - over 35 thousand
species. Human activity greatly affects biotic diversity. It destroys or significantly
alters eko niche of organisms, or excessively uses valuable plant and animal
species, excluding or neglecting and ignoring their everlasting capabilities.
Barbaric deforestation, plowing, draining wetlands, creation of reservoirs under
pseudoscientific grounds, pollution, fragmentation of ecosystems highways,
construction areas, etc. - all of these things negatively affect the flora and fauna,
hinder conservation of vibrant biotic diversity.
UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, concluded his appeal to the world
community on November 9, 2009, dedicated to this event, with the words:
"Biodiversity is living. Biodiversity is our living!" Thus, it was emphasized that
studying and conservation of biodiversity comes down not only to care for the
animal and plant life and it is an important condition for the existence of human
life on the planet, the existence of human society and its development and steady
progress. Its present and future.
Very interesting information about the rate of species extinction, which in
the twenty first century is 50-100 times higher than the natural, can be found in the
reports of UN. Nearly 34,000 species, 52,000 animals, nearly 30% of major
livestock breeds are under threat. Not only individual species but entire ecosystems
disappear or endangered disappear. The change of landscapes, basins creates real
threat to biodiversity. Over the last century nearly 50% of the forests were
destroyed in the world.
Negative changes in biodiversity is one of the important components of
environmental crisis. And this phenomenon is subject to careful scrutiny, because
any action to preserve the environment should provide the necessary scientific
At this stage of scientific development questions about the need for
generalizations in the study of biodiversity also arias. It is necessary to draw
attention to one of the most important environmental principles, namely the
principle emergentness. It can be interpreted in a thematic aspect of this: the sum
of information on biodiversity in the regions of a scale and the biosphere as a
whole can not give us a clear picture of the value of biodiversity to local ecological
and biospheric processes. Such generalizations can be made on the basis of new
principles in the framework of a new scientific discipline. None of the existing
traditional biological disciplines involved with diversity as a separate phenomenon.
Although some elements study fundumental sciences: zoology, botany, ecology.
Together with O Protassov (2010), we initiated a new science and gave it a name "diversity science" (from the English. Diversity) [1].
Each scientific discipline has its unique paradigm, its object and purpose of
the study, its own particular research methods.
Paradigm diversity science can be formulated now as follows: biodiversity
as one of the most important components of the diversity of the biosphere is the
precondition and basis for its existence and sustainable development.
The object of diversity science is composition and quantitative relationships
of biotic elements of ecosystems, biomes and living Earth cover (living matter by
Vernadsky VI).
The subject of this discipline should be considered as the process of
biodiversity formation, its relations with the diversity of habitats of biotic systems,
mechanisms maintaining a stable existence of systems of different levels - from the
group to the biosphere.
Research Methods of diversity science can not be sharply separated from the
many other methods of biological or environmental studies. These methods and
instructional techniques should provide most of the information and how to
analyze it in the following areas: composition of biotic components (species,
populations, ekomorph groups, etc.), ecosystems at different levels; quantitative
value, the relative abundance of these elements; characteristic of various biological
systems habitat.
One of the conceptual framework, principles of diversity science is figuring
out that biodiversity is not only the number of elements of the system, the number
of species in communities, the biosphere as a whole. Diversity is a two-component
system and consists of variety of system components and the so-called uniformity,
it is determined not only by the amount of elements, but the frequency of
occurrence, relative abundance.
One of the main tasks of diversity science is the answer to the question what exactly is diversity? The world is diverse, it is one of its integral and
important properties. But biological systems have their peculiarities of diversity.
You can not distinguish between two water molecules, but each species of any
group has its own individual and unique features. This was pointed out by V.I.
Vernadsky in his conceptual positions on living matter of the biosphere. Although
the concept and the term "biodiversity" is enshrined in international instruments
(Convention on Biological Diversity, 1992) - "Biological diversity means the
variability among living organisms from all sources ..." - A simple statement of
fact that biodiversity is the variety can not arrange researchers in terms of
systematic knowledge as a phenomenon of nature. Therefore, an important section
of diversity science is' a problem of figuring levels of biodiversity.
Presumably, that here is the "law of general diversity" and may be at least
two approaches - deductive and inductive. More appropriate, in our view, is the
concept of diversity levels, based on the teachings of V.I. Vernadsky on diversity
matter of the biosphere. Living matter as the totality of all living beings exist only
in a nearly infinite variety of individuals, united in various associations, which in
turn - with the various elements of the environment, including a variety of each
substance creates diverse ecosystems. A set of similar ecosystems creates biomes,
which are elements of the biosphere. The circle closes. Thus, the system level
diversity in the biosphere is cyclical.
An important issue of diversity science is the relationship of biotic diversity
and variety of elements and environmental factors. The study of this interaction
reveals important horizons of biodiversity management through changes in abiotic
ecosystems block.
Although there are many data on positive communication performance of
systems with biodiversity, the issue is quite complex and requires not only
theoretical but also generalizations of field research and experimental work.
Practical experience and research results indicate that the biomass of different
groups increased in parallel with increasing dominance of one species, i.e. with
decreasing uniformity.
The idea of biodiversity conservation can forever become nothing more than
a nice humanistic slogan without the development of theoretical principles and
practical recommendations for actions. The "simple" way is attractive in this
direction, namely, complete removal of the negative anthropogenic impact,
creating at least locally stable, so-called "favorable environment" that will
automatically lead to preservation, or even better – up to growth of biodiversity.
But theoretical developments, such as secondary violations hypothesis, empirical
data indicate that the maximum diversity can be expected under moderate stress,
moderate, middle trophicity. The very "moderation" needs careful study on the
basis of deep research.
It should again be emphasized that the idea of biodiversity conservation is
extremely important. It is an echo of mankind's desire to live in a harmonious, safe
and rich world. But it can all become just a beautiful idea if not backed up by
scientific developments of the highest quality. There are all possibilities of
successful carrying out of such research in the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.
And the International Year of Biodiversity has become a year of deep concern of
botanists and zoologists of Academy for the preservation and enrichment of
biodiversity in Ukraine.
Famous Ukrainian botanist Y.R. Shelyag-Sosonko believes that biodiversity
has a universal appeal to the world community as it forms in it and each person all
the basic modules of its manner of life - both material and spiritual, including the
world [2]. In his opinion, the value of biodiversity, which reached global
proportions, led to globalization and degradation of humanity. Although not
everyone may agree with it, but he also argues that the level of civilization is
determined not by scientific advances and limits the growth of world population
and biodiversity.
Undoubtedly, the destruction of the biosphere, i.e. all biotic diversity lead to
self-destruction of mankind. The only alternative to this self-destruction of homo
sapiens species is, in my opinion, the mastery of new ideology by mankind, a new
outlook - environmentalism that underlies environmental science environmentalism [3].
1. Sytnik K.M. International Year of Biodiversity and prospects for diversity
science / K.M. Sitnik, O.O. Protasov / / Bulletin of the Academy of Sciences of
2. Shelyag- Sosonko Y.R. Biodiversity: the concept of culture and the role of
science / Y.R. Shelyah-Sosonko / / Ukr. botany. journal - 2008. - № 1. - pp. 3-26.
3. Sytnik K.M. Of environmental crisis: evaluation, development and possible
consequences / KM Sytnik / / Ukr. botany. journal - 1994. - № 6. - pp. 3-17.
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