What is Biodiversity?
The definition of the term biodiversity is essentially very simple and has nothing to do with long-winded, incomprehensible scientific terms for the common layman, the use of which is becoming a common practice even in materials intended for the general public. In a simplified form, it is actually a mosaic of life in all its diversity of species and forms, for example: the diversity of life on Earth.
Biodiversity in abbreviated form replaces the term biological diversity, which includes the diversity of genes within species, the diversity of species within ecosystems and the diversity of ecosystems – for example: coral reefs, forests, prairies, wetlands – within the biosphere.
How many of “us” are there? (What is the number of species?)
It may sound unbelievable, but scientists are still at the beginning of their efforts to map in detail the diversity of life forms on Earth. So far, they have managed to identify 1.7 million different species of living organisms, each of which is an irreplaceable “product” of evolution. Despite this, there are still many species-rich ecosystems, such as tropical forests, coral reefs, depths of the ocean floor that we have barely begun to explore. Every year, scientists discover and describe many new forms of organisms, including several new species of birds and mammals. Their efforts are more than appropriate because the existence of many ecosystems is seriously threatened.
Why is biodiversity important?
The species and ecosystems of our planet provide a whole range of different and essential “goods and services” for human society. Many species like insects, birds and bats are useful for pollinating flowering plants and agricultural crops. Green plants “eliminate” CO2 from the atmosphere and release oxygen into the environment. Forests are particularly important “storehouses” of CO2 and thus have an irreplaceable role in reducing the impact of global climate change on society.
About the Author
Sarah Gáliková is a Slovak girl with a passion for writing interesting articles and photography. She studied Economics and business, however her true affection is English language. Sarah’s free time mostly consists of nature, great books and a camera.