Biodiversity Hotspot Alps


Why the Alpine Biodiversity Should Be Conserved

Roots like nails and screws: a diversified biocenose with a large number of root systems ensures the soil stability. Source: SPEHN & KÖRNER (2005).
A diversified habitat is not only very pleasant to look at but it also helps to protect the ecosystem in case of natural catastrophes. As an example: the more the root systems of different plants complement each other in their structure, the higher are the chances to prevent soil erosion. The diversity of the environment is strongly related to the stability of the living conditions.Every species represents a link in an ecosystem and maintains a multitude of interactions with other living beings. Every loss can therefore provoke a series of reactions. Many larvae of butterflies for example live only on one specific plant species. If this species disappears, the butterfly will disappear too. The understanding of these complex interrelations has changed the motives for nature protection in the past decades. Merely the beauties of nature, biological use or human morale are no longer the main reasons for nature conservation. The stability of ecosystems and the genetic variety are the new key factors. Ecological arguments for the conservation of biological diversity have partly been replaced by political and economic interests. In the Alps, areas with a high biological diversity can significantly contribute to the development of specific product labels and therefore to regional development, as a multitude of examples in different protected areas show.

The biological resources of the alps supply us with all sorts of products: food, fibres for clothes, construction material, medicine, etc. Every species can potentially be of commercial or medical interest. In agriculture, the diversity of genes in every type of culture is of major importance as it represents a crucial weapon to fight threats such as pests and diseases.
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