Biodiversity in Kenya entails plants, animals, forests, marine ecosystems, seas, insects and other organism within the natural environment of our country Kenya. Kenya’s government has really played a key role in conservation biodiversity mainly through ensuring enforcement laws pointing out on environmental conservation areas constituting biodiversity components within Kenya. The government has also contributed to protection of the marine protected areas usually with fish and other aquatic animals as well as forest protected areas and national parks and national reserves containing animals which are components of biodiversity in our country.
Our biodiversity has also been greatly conserved through participation of local and indigenous communities mainly in participation of activities involving governance and decision making. The civil societies through relevant ministries of biodiversity conservation as well as the private sectors such as NGOs has also played a great role in ensuring rapid supply of ecosystem services mainly obtained from the biodiversity. All these linkages between civil society, private sector, government as well as considering the rights and knowledge of local and indigenous communities across our country has greatly contributed to conservation of our biodiversity in our country today leading to continuous provision of goods and services to human beings thus improved living standards of human.
The main goods and services obtained through biodiversity conservation are in a large number such that they are not exhausted from our environment. The main benefits or goods and services obtained are as described below:
Biodiversity mainly contributes ensuring enough provision goods and services including:
a) The biodiversity provides us with food, fiber and fuel. This is mainly contributed by biodiversity such as forests where food substances including fruits and other substances are sources of food obtained from forests. Food is not only provided to human but also to animals through increased herbivory as a result of more vegetation obtained from forested areas. Fuel is also obtained from forests in most cases. The fuel obtained includes firewood obtained by the people living within the forests. Other kind of fuels are petroleum, diesel and others are the main fuel products obtained from forests’ biodiversity. Fiber is also another benefit from forest biodiversity.
b) Another provision good obtained from biodiversity is availability of genetic resources. These are resources used in breeding of plants and animals thus acquiring more populations emerging due to improved populations of species in both plants and animals. This ensures reduced extinction of organisms across our country.
c) Our biodiversity also ensures provision services through provision of fresh water to human beings and living organisms. This is mainly obtained from fresh water lakes and the well maintained/conserved forests. Greater portion of fresh water is also obtained through natural occurrences within our biodiversity including water cycling which really ensured continuous water purification within the atmosphere. This really plays a role in ensuring continuous support in growth and development life cycles of organism as water is an important requirement in every organism.
d) Another provision goods and services obtained from our biodiversity is biochemicals. These are biochemical such as herbicides, pesticides and other agrochemicals that are mainly made from plants and animals.
The other type of goods and services obtained are the regulating services. These goods and services include:
a) Biodiversity regulates pollination within our agroecosystems.This is mainly contributed by insects such as bees. Continuous pollination ensures greater produce within our agricultural farms thus more yields and increased seed dispersal. Since insects are of the most known components of biodiversity their contribution is highly valued.
b) Regulation of erosion is also a contribution of biodiversity within our country. The more afforestation and re-afforestation practiced in our farms the more the biodiversity hence improved holding of soil particles through soil aggregation. As a result of these, the rate at which the runoff carries away top soil is reduced thus reduced soil erosion.
c) Pests and diseases regulation within our agricultural farms is also achieved. This is done through planting of a variety of crops and practicing afforestation as way of achieving increased biodiversity and in the process the lifecycles of pests and diseases are broken since diversity of plants ensures no alternate hosts for the diseases and pests.
d) Our biodiversity also regulates climate changes across our country. This is mainly because biodiversity components such as tress and other vegetation acts as carbon sequesters where the carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere is sequested in by trees thus reducing green house gases which greatly contributes to global warming incidences. Not only trees helps in this role but also water bodies can be used as carbon sinks where this is done through acquiring of permits from the relevant authorizes.
e)They also helps in regulating natural hazards which in most cases occurs due to reduced biodiversity within a given geographical region. The natural hazards mitigated are such as droughts and famine which arises from incidences such as global warming. Another natural hazard controlled by biodiversity is floods occurrences where people are always requested to ensure planting of trees near river catchments.
f) Biodiversity within our environment also ensures invasion resistance thus providing a benefit to the people taking part in its conservation as well as the government mainly through economic benefits in terms of money used in control of the invasive species (species introduced directly or indirectly into native environment mainly through human activities) in a given protected or agricultural area.
Biodiversity also plays a role in ensuring supporting services are available to people across the country. These supporting services obtained from Kenya’s biodiversity are:
-Conserved biodiversity ensures increased primary production within conserved lands.
-Biodiversity such as trees provides support to animals and human beings through providing ready habitat with no constructions needed as it is found naturally. Water also acts a habitat for aquatic animals and also ensures continuous breeding for their survival.
– Biodiversity also supports human beings through production of atmospheric oxygen used for breathing.
-Also supports nutrient cycling. This is mainly through the process of death and decomposition of both the flora and fauna i.e.; plants and animals.
-Also contributes to soil formation process and retention. This is mainly accomplished by trees and microorganisms. Trees take part through deposition of leaves on soil surface which later undergoes decomposition where it is readily broken down by microorganisms releasing nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and carbon thus improved soil structure and improved soil organic matter retention.
The last type of goods and services obtained from our biodiversity is cultural and aesthetic benefits. These benefits are as listed below:
-They provides spiritual and religious values; for example forests are used as sacred religious places in some communities and another example is where some animals are used as sacrifices and offertories in many religious institutions in our country today.
-Biodiversity is also used for education and inspiration purposes in our country. Some communities uses forests as schools and also some people uses biodiversity to inspire people for example, some people uses an eagle to explain some of the best practices one should do to ensure his/her success in day to day activities. In terms of education, also some student and other researchers carry out research projects using biodiversity components.
-Biodiversity also provides recreation and aesthetic values to indigenous communities. A lot of ornamental materials are obtained from both plants and animals that are used in beautifying human body. Sometimes biodiversity is also used in recreation for example the lakes are used in surfing and recreation as well as animals can also be used in recreation.
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