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What is Biodiversity?

October 9, 2012

Biodiversity is a precious part of our planet. The world’s various species create balance and order in ecosystems across the world.

BiodiversityImage: BPN / MG

What does biodiversity mean?
Biodiversity is the degree of variation of life forms within a given species or ecosystem, such as a forest, lake, moor, meadow or river - or indeed the entire planet. Earth is home to some 400,000 types of beetle. Biodiversity also refers to the genetic range within a single species - homo sapiens, for example.

How does biodiversity affect humans?
Varied diet, scenic landscape, the air we breathe, plant extracts in our medicine: many aspects of life that we take for granted are a result of biodiversity. But today, we can no longer take biodiversity itself for granted. The earth could see massive waves of species extinctions around the world if global warming continues unabated. Curbing climate change amounts to protecting species.  

Can we put a price tag on biodiversity?
The economic value of biodiversity is estimated to be between $16 billion and $54 billion. However, not everyone agrees that it can be quantified. But it is possible to calculate the economic damage caused by the destruction of ecosystems. Chain reactions are the inevitable result, with farming, forestry, fishery, pharmaceutics, commodity trading and tourism among the industries that rely on intact nature.