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Species richness can simply be defined as the number of species in a community. There are varied numbers of species in some taxonomic groups than others. For instance, there are almost triple more species of beetles than there are in any other order of insects.

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Determining Species Richness

One of the big difficulties in determining species richness is the area or landscape of interest. There is no consensus that has been reached to dictate the size of sites or habitats which should be considered standard. In addition, no spatial scales have been determined appropriately to quantify beta and alpha diversity. There has been a proposition that alpha diversity is measured for a database in existence consisting of subunits of any scale.

These subunits could be using units that were used in the field when the inventory was being carried out or grid cells that are used for the said analysis purposes. If these results are extrapolated in a way beyond the actual observations, one has to bear that the species diversity in the subunits will generally underestimate the species diversity in larger areas.

Ways of Quantifying Differentiation by Whittaker

After Whittaker proposed some ways of quantifying differentiation, so as to determine alpha and beta diversity, the subsequent ecologist has introduced other, several ways. This has brought up a lot of confusion in what way to go by for beta diversity. Some see beta diversity as a broad term that can be applied to any of the indices related to compositional heterogeneity. On the other hand, others argue that using such a broad term can lead to confusion and, therefore it should be avoided. They support this by saying that beta-diversity indices corresponding to different phenomenon should be identified by different names.

For many years, the human being has engaged in numerous activities that have to lead to depletion of the natural habitat of some organisms. These activities may include deforestation and pollution of land, freshwater rivers seas, and oceans. Deforestation and pollution lead to the destruction of natural habitat for wild animals and birds which leads to their extinction and consequently interruption of the food chain. Deforestation has lead to the creation of land for urban construction agriculture, commercial purposes like oil and mining exploitation.

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It has been found that smoke emitted from industries leads to environmental stochasticity, which affects flora and fauna, communities negatively. Despite this, industrialization has generated a great deal of wealth and has created employment opportunities for a large number of people. Ecologists believe that minimum viable population sizes are highly specific depending on the environmental and characteristics of the species. Therefore, these activities should be curtailed to ensure that these species are not endangered.

Climate Change Effects

Climatic change effects are very observable in our ecosystem. For instance, we have witnessed glaciers shrunk, the ice is melting up flora and fauna ranges have changed greatly. This is a result of pollution especially the greenhouse effect and the gases.

For example, when we consider Europe, flash floods are in an increase; the frequency of flooding in coastal regions, erosion, and rise of sea level just to name but a few. If this goes on, for the next 50 years Europe will have reduced tourism and loss of the snow species and great losses on the crop production sector.

To avoid this, the government should advise its people to shift from organic farming methods. So as to avoid fertilization effects among other negative effects.

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