It is imperative for us to protect the flora and fauna around us.”
Anand Mahindra, Businessman
All you have to know about Flora and Fauna
Flora can be defined as all plant life present in specific regions on our planet while Fauna can be defined as all animal life in a specific region in a specific time.
Fauna and flora are quite important for our ecological system since they heavily contribute to the environmental balance of our planet.
In this article, the importance of Flora and Fauna for our ecological system is examined in detail and examples for Fauna and Flora are given at the end.
What is Flora?
The term Flora relates to the Latin language. Flora was or is the goddess of flowers, plants and fertility in Roman mythology. The topic Flora can be divided into three subcategories, namely native flora, horticultural and agricultural flora and weed flora.
Native flora refers to plants that are indigenous and native in a specific area. Horticultural and agricultural flora includes plants that are grown for human purposes.
Weed flora refers to all plants which are considered undesirable in a certain area. An example of this may be invasive species which may displace native species over time.
Flora can be seen as the basis for advanced life on earth since animals rely on it to survive. In turn, humans also rely on the consumption of plants and also on the consumption of animals. Without flora, our natural system would collapse.
What is Fauna?
The term Fauna refers is Latin and refers to the god Faunus, which can be regarded as the god of fertility and the earth. Fauna can also be attributed to the forest spirits called Faunus.
Fauna includes all kinds of animal species, including birds, animals, insects, fishes and other sea animals. Fauna relies on flora as a food source and also as a source of oxygen.
While flora absorbs carbon dioxide and produces oxygen in the process of photosynthesis, fauna consumes oxygen and produces carbon dioxide.
Thus, flora and fauna rely on each other and form a complex natural cycle. While flora can be regarded as simpler from a cell structure perspective, animals are considered more advanced.
What is the Difference between Fauna and Flora?
Floral and Faunal are two of the most important generic terms for living organisms on our planet. Fauna describes all animal life in a specific region at a specific point in time while flora describes all plant life.
Fauna often relies on flora as a food source since many animals consume plants in order to grow and survive.
Without flora, there would be no fauna and also vice-versa since flora and fauna are dependent on each other and are part of our large and complex environmental system.
- Total flora species: around 390,000
- Algae species: around 12,000
- Dicotyledons species: around 200,000
- Ferns and allies species: around 13,000
- Gymnosperms species: around 1,000
- Lichens species: around 10,300
- Monocotyledons species: around 60,000
- Mosses species: around 14,000
- Mushroom species: around 15,500
- Total fauna species: around 6,835,000
- Amphibian species: around 6,200
- Arachnids: around 600,000
- Bird species: around 10,000
- Crustaceans species: around 150,000
- Fish species: around 40,000
- Insect species: around 5,000,000
- Mammal species: around 5,500
- Mollusks species: around 200,000
- Reptile species: around 10,000
Why is Flora important for our Environmental System?
- Basic food source
- Source of drugs
- Absorption of carbon dioxide and production of oxygen
- Ecological balance
- Importance for agriculture
- Contribution to human health
- Habitat for animals
- Relaxing area for humans
- Source of nutrients
Basic food source
Since plants display the food source for many animals and also for us humans, flora is vital for all advanced life forms on our planet. Without plants, our whole food chain would collapse and most of our animals and also the human species would become extinct.
For many animals, especially for those avoiding the consumption of meat, plants are the single source of their energy. Animals are also pretty smart in figuring out which plants are good for them in several circumstances.
For example, when animals get sick, they often know or at least have good instincts regarding which plants they have to consume in order to cure diseases. As humans, we consume plants on a daily basis since many of them are quite healthy and supply us with important nutrients and vitamins.
Moreover, plants can be quite delicious when they are cooked in a professional way. Without plants, we would lack many vital components for our daily life. Therefore, flora and the related species are crucial for all advanced life forms on earth.
Source of drugs
Plants are an important source of all kinds of medicines and drugs. There are many plants that contain components to cure a variety of diseases. Even thousands of years ago when there had been no research on pharmaceuticals at all, people got aware that plants can cure many diseases.
Sure, people at this time just applied sort of a trial-and-error method to figure out what plants work for specific diseases. However, even this far ago, people were aware of the importance of plants for medical purposes.
In our nowadays society, with the help of extensive research, we are able to determine which ingredients of plants can help to cure diseases and in which amounts they should be used.
These helpful ingredients are often extracted out of plants and then concentrated and processed into liquids or tablets to make consumption of these ingredients easier in daily life.
Since it is estimated that there are many plant species in remote parts of the world that have yet to be discovered and explored, chances are that there is even far more potential from plants to cure diseases than we already know.
Absorption of carbon dioxide and production of oxygen
In the process of photosynthesis, plants consume large amounts of carbon dioxide and emit oxygen. This oxygen is crucial for many living organisms on earth, including animals and also humans.
The most important source for oxygen and for the absorption of carbon dioxide are our forests. They are able to produce huge amounts of oxygen. At the same time, they store significant amounts of carbon dioxide.
Therefore, when forests get cut down, large amounts of harmful greenhouse gases are emitted into the air which contributes to the problem of global warming.
Thus, through the absorption of harmful gases and the production of oxygen, flora is crucial for a healthy environmental system on our planet.
Fauna, flora, humans and all other groups of species on our planet are all interdependent on each other. If there is a significant decrease in flora species, this will translate into a food shortage for many animals and also for humans.
This in turn would also lead to a meat shortage for humans. Moreover, through the decline in overall flora, the process of global warming would be enhanced since pants and trees are natural greenhouse gas storage spaces.
If these storages spaces decrease in numbers, more carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases will reach the atmosphere and therefore contribute to climate change.
Thus, since our environmental system is quite fragile and many species depend on each other, flora is crucial to keep the ecological system stable.
Importance for agriculture
Agriculture has been a main food source for humans even centuries ago and will continue to do so in the future. Since our agricultural system relies on certain plant species like corn and wheat, it is crucial to sustain this species.
Without flora, this plant species would not exist and therefore the livelihood for billions of people on our planet would not be present. Plants are also often used to feed cattle. Therefore, if there was no flora, we would not be able to produce meat.
Contribution to human health
Since many plants contain plenty of ingredients that are good for human health, it is recommended by several health organizations that we should switch our consumption behavior from meat to vegetables.
It is no surprise that people who make the switch from daily consumption of meat to just a few times a week experience a boost in their fitness level. The substitution of meat with vegetables and fruits is quite healthy for your body and will also improve your blood values.
Without flora, there would not be any vegetables and plants to consume. This would result in a shortage of many important components that are crucial for human health.
Habitat for animals
Our flora provides a habitat for many animals. Animals often consume a variety of plants which often is their single source of energy. Moreover, many animals love to live in nature reserves or forests since there, they are not disturbed by human presence and can live their life in a natural manner.
Our flora is crucial for sustaining the biodiversity that has been developed over millions of years. For example, through deforestation, many species become endangered or even become extinct.
This problem is especially severe in the Amazon Rainforest where huge areas of forest are cut or burned down in order to get more space for farming purposes.
In those areas, many animals lose their natural habitat and are forced to move since they are not able to adapt to the new environmental circumstances that are imposed on them by human intervention.
However, a significant fraction of animals will not be able to move or adapt to the new circumstances and eventually will become extinct. Thus, flora is crucial to sustain a big variety of animals and to provide a natural habitat for them.
Relaxing area for humans
In our nowadays society, people are often stressed by their jobs or also from their social life. These people want to spend their weekends in quiet relaxing areas like forests or near lakes where they can relax and reload their batteries for the next week. Thus, our flora provides us with those kinds of relaxing areas in a natural way.
We just have to protect these nature reserves from human destruction. By doing so, we can provide many humans with a natural space that can be used for relaxing purposes and at the same time can serve as habitat for many animals.
Source of nutrients
Plants contain many precious components which are vital for human as well as for animal life. Without plants, all kinds of species would not be able to grow in a healthy way since plants contain many nutrients that cannot be found in any other organism.
Therefore, it is crucial that we protect our variety of plants in order to be able to sustain our supply with these precious elements.
Why is Fauna important for our Environmental System?
- Food source
- Natural beauty
- Animal tests for research purposes
- Prevention of the spread of diseases
Many animals are an important food source for humans. For example, we raise cattle and other animals in order to be able to meet the demand for meat worldwide.
Meat consumption levels have grown in a significant way over the last decades since the average income increased and people are able to afford larger amounts of meat compared to past times.
Imagine a world without meat. You would be surprised of how different your consumption behavior would really be. Apart from the taste of meat that many people value, meat is also important since it provides several nutrients that are crucial for human growth and to keep us healthy.
Therefore, without fauna, humans would suffer from significant shortages in vitamins and would also likely suffer from a decrease in power.
Many people love to see animals in their natural environments. For example, people often pay large amounts of money to go on safaris to watch animals like lions, leopards or elephants in their natural living space. You can also go into the zoo with your children and educate them about the different animals.
Imagine a world without these animals. You would likely feel that something valuable and beautiful is missing if animals like the polar bear become extinct. Thus, to sustain this natural source of beauty, we have to protect the natural habitats of animals and also slow down global warming.
Animal tests for research purposes
Animals are not only a source of beauty, but they can also serve as test animals for scientific purposes. For example, before a drug is licensed, it is often tested on animals to see how they react to this drug.
By doing so, research wants to avoid imposing adverse health risks on humans by testing these drugs on animals before approving it for public use.
Although animal tests can be regarded as rather dodgy from an ethical perspective, they can protect humans from harmful drugs that may have resulted in severe health conditions if it had not been tested on animals before.
Our fauna and the related species are a natural tourism magnet. For example, each year, many people are visiting the Galapagos Islands to see the Giant Galapagos Tortoises.
Without this animal, these islands would be visited much less and the local people would be much poorer since they would lack the income from tourism activities.
Therefore, fauna can be regarded as a tourism magnet which can improve the wealth standard of many local people.
Prevention of the spread of diseases
The fauna system is based on predators and prey. The prey animals are eaten by the predators, which may in turn be consumed by humans. Therefore, we get an intact food chain.
However, if there were not enough predators, many prey animals would die and rot which in turn would be a breeding ground for all kinds of severe diseases.
Thus, it is crucial to have a sufficient number of predator animals which can eat the dying animals and therefore prevent the development and spread of diseases.
Examples of Flora
- Flowering plants
Depending on the vegetation cover and the climate zone, there are many different trees species on our planet. Trees are quite important for our environmental system since they act as natural storage spaces for greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and also produce oxygen which is vital for many life forms.
Flowering plants are the most diverse form of land plants which include around 300,000 different plant species. Flowering plants often reproduce with the help of crops and fruits. Therefore, they are a popular food source for humans as well as for many animals.
Algae can be defined as a large diverse group of photosynthetic eukaryotic organisms that range from microalgae to multicellular versions, which may reach a length of many meters.
Algae often appear in rivers and lakes with a high concentration of nutrients and high temperatures. Algae can contaminate water bodies with harmful substances and may also reduce the level of oxygen which may lead to death for water animals.
Mushrooms can usually be found in forests. Mushrooms are symbiotic life forms that need trees to grow and to sustain themselves. They are a nice food source and can be quite delicious when cooked appropriately.
However, mushrooms are also known to store harmful substances. For example, in Eastern Europe, you should avoid consuming mushrooms from forests since they may still be contaminated with radioactive material from the Chernobyl accident.
There are many domesticated plant species that serve humanity as a source for crop yields. For example, maize, rice and wheat are some of the most important food sources which are provided by our floral system.
Examples of Fauna
- Aquatic animals
Insects are by far the biggest group of organisms on our planet when it comes to numbers of species. It is estimated that around 90% of life forms are insects. Insects contribute to sustain the variety of plant species since they fertilize many plants.
Therefore, they are also of crucial importance for agricultural purposes. Without insects, crop yields would be much lower since a much lower fraction of plants would be fertilized.
Bird species are spread worldwide and range from a few centimeters (hummingbird) to almost three meters (ostrich). Birds are also used for human consumption.
For example, gooses are a popular dish for certain holidays. Eating a goose on Christmas can be regarded as a yearly tradition for many families worldwide.
Animals are another big group of species, including around 1.5 million species. Animals vary significantly in size and weight and also in their behavior.
Through human intervention, many animals are already endangered and some of them will become extinct in the near future if we do not take efforts to protect those kinds of animals.
Another big group of species are fishes. It is estimated that there are around 40,000 species of fishes on our planet. Fishes are an important source of food for humans since they contain precious components like omega-3 fatty acids.
Aquatic animals include a variety of species that live in the ocean. Aquatic animals are consumed by humans as well as by birds or other predators. They are an important group of species to keep the environmental system in balance.
Flora and Fauna are two of the most important groups of species that our planet provides to us. They are crucial for most of the life of our earth. Flora and fauna interact in a complex system. Without flora, there would be no fauna and vice versa.
Flora and fauna provide humanity with precious resources that can be used in several important ways. Flora and fauna include a huge variety of species which are estimated to range from 7,000,000 to over 11,000,000 species worldwide, depending on the respective study.
Since flora and fauna are crucial for human life, we have to make sure that we protect them accordingly. Short-term profits should not be favored over the long-term protection of our environmental system.
We need strict laws and high fines regarding the destruction of flora and fauna. By doing so, we can protect our precious source of food and other valuable substances which can be used for several kinds of purposes.
About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people of all ages about our environmental problems and how everyone can make a contribution to mitigate these issues.
As I went to university and got my Master’s degree in Economics, I did plenty of research in the field of Development Economics.
After finishing university, I traveled around the world. From this time on, I wanted to make a contribution to ensure a livable future for the next generations in every part of our beautiful planet.
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