What is Biodiversity?

Biodiversity is the fantastic result of three billion years of evolution 

Biodiversity may seem simple enough to define, in that it refers to the diversity of life on Earth. However, it is a terrifically powerful and concise word, which describes the immense and overwhelming number of living things on the planet.

One of the most fascinating aspects of biodiversity is the way individual species within an ecosystem interact with one another and their environment. Their survival depends on extraordinarily complex relationships with each other. These relationships hold the key to successful conservation techniques and to our long-term wise and sustainable management of the natural environment.

Biodiversity is all around us - not just in wild places and nature reserves but also in our cities, the places we live and work, our farmland and our countryside. We are an integral part of this biodiversity and exert a major influence over it. Biodiversity conservation requires not only the conservation of individual species of plants and animals, but also the conservation of their habitats (the places they live e.g. woodlands, heath lands) and the natural processes that sustain them (e.g. water supply, nutrient cycling).  
 
The international Convention on Biological Diversity (1992) defines biodiversity as:

 

 'The variability among living organisms from all sources including terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems, and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems.'