Human cultures linked to biodiversity

Since the term biodiversity was introduced last class I’d like to talk about an interesting idea I’ve read not too long ago. Humanity, specially in recent times have been shaping the biodiversity around us in a very negative way. This happens by overfishing/hunting, destroying natural habitats or by pollution just to mention a few, and there is a great concern about this because we don’t know yet how will such a dramatic decrease in species will affect our survival.

But this is an idea that’s talked about a lot, I’d like to bring up a different link between people and the biodiversity around them. A 2012 study titled “Contributions of cultural services to the ecosystem services agenda” published by PNAS argues, that the cultural diversity of a certain area is linked to the variety of species, biodiversity. It states, that out of the 6900 current languages on our planet 4800 (70%) can be found by where there is a huge biodiversity, areas such as the Amazon rainforest. But since species started going extinct in a fast pace, languages from similar areas have been disappearing and by that cultures being lost, suggesting some kind of relation in between the two factors.

It feels so strange that there would be any relation between cultural diversity of people and biodiversity of animals, but in a way it makes sense that certain areas with better conditions don’t only allow better diversity for animals, but would attract a diversity of people as well. There is no direct proof about this idea, but they went into great depth to test this all over the planet in both remote and urban areas, and everywhere the results seemed to be consistent.

(although the maps are not very detailed and this study is based or more localized results, the data matches up in a lot of areas)

extinctions UNESCO-critically-endangered-map3-1

Picture sources:

http://public.media.smithsonianmag.com/legacy_blog

http://www.lakhota.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/

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