The measure of biodiversity is an incredibly important factor in the natural world and can be quantified through three main facets. First is the measure of species richness, this can be measured by the number of species found at a site. Second is evenness, the distribution of species at this site. Lastly is difference, this measures the phenotypic difference between any two species in the sample (Purvis and Hector, 2000). To investigate whether biodiversity is declining, discussing the methods of measuring it will be the first port of call.
Species richness is a good indicator of high biodiversity, as it suggests large quantities of ecological niches are present in an area. However, this measurement can be inaccurate when dealing with large numbers of species. There will be too many species for complete enumeration, as some will remain hidden or are not encountered (Gaston, 1996). This becomes a problem when comparing the biodiversity between two areas. One value may be larger than the other on paper, but in reality it is the opposite. The measurement of evenness of species at a site can be a good indicator of biodiversity as it suggests equilibrium has been reached between the organisms present. Unfortunately, this...
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... the extinction of this particular species. The 99.7% reduction in numbers of this species in the space of 60 years shows a clear reduction in biodiversity in the areas that the northern white rhino inhabits.
Loss of biodiversity in Scandinavia can also be attributed to pollution. The industrial revolution increased the production of poisonous gases and introduced sulphurous compounds into the air, which ultimately lead to acid rain in Scandinavia. The acid rain altered the pH of soils and water; these slight changes lead to the loss of entire species in numerous lakes and rivers. In Finland alone, 470 populations of fish were lost due to the effects of acid rain. However, recently recovery from acidification has been recorded and this paves the path to an increase in biodiversity with a re-introduction of fish stocks across Scandinavia (Skjelkvåle et al., 2001).
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