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{{short description|Variety and variability of life forms}}{{use dmy dates|date=February 2016 }}File:Fungi of Saskatchewan.JPG|thumb|right|A sampling of fungi collected during summer 2008 in Northern Saskatchewan mixed woods, near LaRonge is an example regarding the species diversity of fungi. In this photo, there are also leaf lichens and mossmossBiodiversity is the variety and variability of life on Earth. Biodiversity is typically a measure of variation at the genetic, species, and ecosystem level.WEB,weblink What is biodiversity?, United Nations Environment Programme, World Conservation Monitoring Centre, Terrestrial biodiversity is usually greater near the equator,JOURNAL, Gaston, Kevin J., Global patterns in biodiversity, Nature, 11 May 2000, 405, 6783, 220–227, 10.1038/35012228, 10821282, which is the result of the warm climate and high primary productivity.JOURNAL, Field, Richard, Hawkins, Bradford A., Cornell, Howard V., Currie, David J., Diniz-Filho, J., Alexandre F.; Guégan, Jean-François; Kaufman, Dawn M.; Kerr, Jeremy T.; Mittelbach, Gary G.; Oberdorff, Thierry; O’Brien, Eileen M.; Turner, John R. G., Spatial species-richness gradients across scales: a meta-analysis, Journal of Biogeography, 1 January 2009, 36, 1, 132–147, 10.1111/j.1365-2699.2008.01963.x, Biodiversity is not distributed evenly on Earth, and is richest in the tropics. These tropical forest ecosystems cover less than 10 percent of earth's surface, and contain about 90 percent of the world's species.Young, Anthony. "Global Environmental Outlook 3 (GEO-3): Past, Present and Future Perspectives." The Geographical Journal, vol. 169, 2003, p. 120. Marine biodiversity is usually highest along coasts in the Western Pacific, where sea surface temperature is highest, and in the mid-latitudinal band in all oceans. There are latitudinal gradients in species diversity.JOURNAL, Tittensor, Derek P., Mora, Camilo, Global patterns and predictors of marine biodiversity across taxa, Nature, 28 July 2010, 466, 7310, 1098–1101, 10.1038/nature09329, 2010Natur.466.1098T, 20668450, Jetz, Walter, Lotze, Heike K., Ricard, Daniel, Berghe, Edward Vanden, Worm, Boris, Biodiversity generally tends to cluster in hotspots,JOURNAL, Myers, Norman, Mittermeier, Russell A., Biodiversity hotspots for conservation priorities, Nature, 24 February 2000, 403, 6772, 853–858, 10.1038/35002501, 2000Natur.403..853M, 10706275, Mittermeier, Cristina G., Da Fonseca, Gustavo A. B., Kent, Jennifer, and has been increasing through time,JOURNAL, McPeek, Mark A., Brown, Jonathan M., Clade Age and Not Diversification Rate Explains Species Richness among Animal Taxa, The American Naturalist, 1 April 2007, 169, 4, E97–E106, 10.1086/512135, 17427118, WEB, Peters, Shanan, Sepkoski's Online Genus Database,weblink University of Wisconsin-Madison, 10 April 2013, but will be likely to slow in the future.JOURNAL, Rabosky, Daniel L., Ecological limits and diversification rate: alternative paradigms to explain the variation in species richness among clades and regions, Ecology Letters, 1 August 2009, 12, 8, 735–743, 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2009.01333.x, 19558515, Rapid environmental changes typically cause mass extinctions.BOOK, Biological Processes Associated with Impact Events, Charles Cockell, Christian Koeberl, Iain Gilmour, yes, {{google books, y, lWUPfhXPm4MC, |date=18 May 2006 |publisher=Springer Science & Business Media|isbn=978-3-540-25736-3|pages=197–219|edition=1| }}JOURNAL, Algeo, T. J., Scheckler, S. E., Terrestrial-marine teleconnections in the Devonian: links between the evolution of land plants, weathering processes, and marine anoxic events, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 29 January 1998, 353, 1365, 113–130, 10.1098/rstb.1998.0195, 1692181, JOURNAL, Bond, David P.G., Wignall, Paul B., The role of sea-level change and marine anoxia in the Frasnian–Famennian (Late Devonian) mass extinction, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 1 June 2008, 263, 3–4, 107–118, 10.1016/j.palaeo.2008.02.015,weblink More than 99.9 percent of all species that ever lived on Earth, amounting to over five billion species,BOOK, Kunin, W.E., Gaston, Kevin, The Biology of Rarity: Causes and consequences of rare—common differences
plainurl=y page=110, isbn=978-0-412-63380-5 Extinction>extinct.STEARNS >FIRST=BEVERLY PETERSON FIRST2=S. C. FIRST3=STEPHEN C. URL=HTTPS://BOOKS.GOOGLE.COM/BOOKS?ID=0BHEC-TXIB4C&Q=99%20PERCENT#V=ONEPAGE&Q=99%20PERCENT&F=FALSE PUBLISHER=YALE UNIVERSITY PRESS PAGE=PREFACE X TITLE=PREHISTORY'S BRILLIANT FUTURE DATE=8 NOVEMBER 2014 THE NEW YORK TIMES >ACCESSDATE=2014-12-25, Estimates on the number of Earth's current species range from 10 million to 14 million,G. MILLER>AUTHOR2=SCOTT SPOOLMAN URL={{GOOGLE BOOKS ID=NYEJAAAAQBAJdate=2012 Cengage Learning >isbn=978-1-133-70787-5 accessdate=2014-12-27 }} of which about 1.2 million have been documented and over 86 percent have not yet been described.MORA >FIRST1=C. FIRST2=D.P. FIRST3=S. FIRST4=A.G. FIRST5=B. DATE=23 AUGUST 2011 PLOS BIOLOGY >DOI=10.1371/JOURNAL.PBIO.1001127 PMC=3160336 ISSUE=8 URL=HTTPS://WWW.NSF.GOV/NEWS/NEWS_SUMM.JSP?CNTN_ID=138446 WORK=NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION DNA base pairs on Earth is estimated at 5.0 x 1037 and weighs 50 billion tonnes.NUWER DATE=18 JULY 2015 URL=HTTPS://WWW.NYTIMES.COM/2015/07/21/SCIENCE/COUNTING-ALL-THE-DNA-ON-EARTH.HTML LOCATION=NEW YORK ISSN=0362-4331 Biomass (ecology)>mass of the biosphere has been estimated to be as much as 4 tonnes#Derived units (trillion tons of carbon).HTTP://WWW.AGCI.ORG/CLASSROOM/BIOSPHERE/INDEX.PHP AUTHOR= LOCATION=BASALT, CO genes from the Last Universal Common Ancestor (LUCA) of all organisms living on Earth.WADE AUTHORLINK=NICHOLAS WADE URL=HTTPS://WWW.NYTIMES.COM/2016/07/26/SCIENCE/LAST-UNIVERSAL-ANCESTOR.HTML WORK=THE NEW YORK TIMES, 25 July 2016, The age of the Earth is about 4.54 billion years.WEB, 1997, Age of the Earth
,weblink U.S. Geological Survey, 2006-01-10,weblink" title="">weblink 23 December 2005, live, JOURNAL, Dalrymple, G. Brent, The age of the Earth in the twentieth century: a problem (mostly) solved, Special Publications, Geological Society of London, 2001, 190, 1, 205–221, 10.1144/GSL.SP.2001.190.01.14, 2001GSLSP.190..205D, JOURNAL, Manhesa, Gérard, Allègre, Claude J., Dupréa, Bernard, Hamelin, Bruno, yes, Lead isotope study of basic-ultrabasic layered complexes: Speculations about the age of the earth and primitive mantle characteristics, Earth and Planetary Science Letters
, 1980, 47, 3, 370–382, 10.1016/0012-821X(80)90024-2, 1980E&PSL..47..370M, The earliest undisputed evidence of life on Earth dates at least from 3.5 billion years ago,JOURNAL, Schopf, J. William, Kudryavtsev, Anatoliy B., Czaja, Andrew D., Tripathi, Abhishek B., 2007-10-05, Evidence of Archean life: Stromatolites and microfossils, Precambrian Research, Earliest Evidence of Life on Earth, 158, 3–4, 141–155, 10.1016/j.precamres.2007.04.009, 2007PreR..158..141S, JOURNAL, Schopf, J. William, 2006-06-29, Fossil evidence of Archaean life, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, en, 361, 1470, 869–885, 10.1098/rstb.2006.1834, 0962-8436, 1578735, 16754604, BOOK, Peter, Hamilton Raven, George, Brooks Johnson, Biology, {{google books, y, GtlqPwAACAAJ, | year=2002 | publisher=McGraw-Hill Education | isbn=978-0-07-112261-0 | page=68 | accessdate=2013-07-07 }} during the Eoarchean Era after a geological crust started to solidify following the earlier molten Hadean Eon. There are microbial mat fossils found in 3.48 billion-year-old sandstone discovered in Western Australia.NEWS, Borenstein, Seth, Oldest fossil found: Meet your microbial mom,weblink 13 November 2013, AP News, NEWS, Pearlman, Jonathan, 'Oldest signs of life on Earth found' – Scientists discover potentially oldest signs of life on Earth – 3.5 billion-year-old microbe traces in rocks in Australia,weblink 13 November 2013, Telegraph Media Group, The Telegraph, 2014-12-15, JOURNAL, Noffke, Nora, Christian, Daniel, Wacey, David, Hazen, Robert M., Microbially Induced Sedimentary Structures Recording an Ancient Ecosystem in the ca. 3.48 Billion-Year-Old Dresser Formation, Pilbara, Western Australia, 8 November 2013, Astrobiology (journal), Astrobiology, 10.1089/ast.2013.1030, 2013AsBio..13.1103N, 24205812, 3870916, 13, 12, 1103–1124, Other early physical evidence of a biogenic substance is graphite in 3.7 billion-year-old meta-sedimentary rocks discovered in Western Greenland.JOURNAL, Yoko, Ohtomo, Takeshi, Kakegawa, Akizumi, Ishida, Toshiro, Nagase, Minik T., Rosing, Evidence for biogenic graphite in early Archaean Isua metasedimentary rocks, Nature Geoscience, 10.1038/ngeo2025, 8 December 2013, 7, 1, 25–28, 2014NatGe...7...25O, More recently, in 2015, "remains of biotic life" were found in 4.1 billion-year-old rocks in Western Australia.NEWS, Borenstein, Seth, Hints of life on what was thought to be desolate early Earth,weblink 19 October 2011, JOURNAL, Bell, Elizabeth A., Boehnike, Patrick, Harrison, T. Mark, Mao, Wendy L., 3, 24 November 2015, Potentially biogenic carbon preserved in a 4.1 billion-year-old zircon,weblink Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 10.1073/pnas.1517557112, 1091-6490, 26483481, 4664351, 112, 47, 14518–14521, 2015PNAS..11214518B, According to one of the researchers, "If life arose relatively quickly on Earth .. then it could be common in the universe."
Since life began on Earth, five major mass extinctions and several minor events have led to large and sudden drops in biodiversity. The Phanerozoic eon (the last 540 million years) marked a rapid growth in biodiversity via the Cambrian explosion—a period during which the majority of multicellular phyla first appeared.WEB,weblink The Cambrian Period, University of California Museum of Paleontology, 17 May 2012, The next 400 million years included repeated, massive biodiversity losses classified as mass extinction events. In the Carboniferous, rainforest collapse led to a great loss of plant and animal life.JOURNAL, 10.1130/G31182.1,weblink Sahney, S., Benton, M.J., Falcon-Lang, H.J., yes, 2010, Rainforest collapse triggered Pennsylvanian tetrapod diversification in Euramerica, Geology, 38, 1079–1082, PDF, 12, 2010Geo....38.1079S, The Permian–Triassic extinction event, 251 million years ago, was the worst; vertebrate recovery took 30 million years.JOURNAL, Sahney, S., Benton, M.J., yes, 2008, Recovery from the most profound mass extinction of all time, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 10.1098/rspb.2007.1370, 275, 759–765, 18198148, 1636, 2596898, The most recent, the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event, occurred 65 million years ago and has often attracted more attention than others because it resulted in the extinction of the {{nowrap|non-avian}} dinosaurs.WEB,weblink BBC Nature, Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction videos, news and facts, 2017-06-05,weblink" title="">weblink 9 June 2017, dead, dmy-all, The period since the emergence of humans has displayed an ongoing biodiversity reduction and an accompanying loss of genetic diversity. Named the Holocene extinction, the reduction is caused primarily by human impacts, particularly habitat destruction.JOURNAL, 25 July 2014, Vanishing fauna (Special issue), Science (journal), Science, 345, 6195, 392–412,weblink 10.1126/science.345.6195.392, 25061199, Vignieri, S., Conversely, biodiversity positively impacts human health in a number of ways, although a few negative effects are studied.BOOK, Sala, Osvaldo E., Meyerson, Laura A., Parmesan, Camille, Biodiversity change and human health: from ecosystem services to spread of disease, {{google books, y, x6WBmO8Muc4C, 2, |accessdate=28 June 2011|date=26 January 2009|publisher=Island Press|isbn=978-1-59726-497-6|pages=3–5}}The United Nations designated 2011–2020 as the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity.WEB,weblink United Nations Decade on Biodiversity {{!, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization||language=en|access-date=2017-08-11}} and 2021-2030 as the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restorationweblink According to a 2019 Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services by IPBES, 25% of plant and animal species are threatened with extinction as the result of human activity.NEWS, Staff, Media Release: Nature's Dangerous Decline 'Unprecedented'; Species Extinction Rates 'Accelerating',weblink May 6, 2019, Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, May 9, 2019, NEWS, Watts, Jonathan, May 6, 2019, Human society under urgent threat from loss of Earth's natural life,weblink The Guardian, May 9, 2019, NEWS, Plumer, Brad, Humans Are Speeding Extinction and Altering the Natural World at an 'Unprecedented' Pace,weblink May 6, 2019, The New York Times, May 9, 2019, {{TOC limit|3}}

History of terminology

  • 1916 - The term biological diversity was used first by J. Arthur Harris in "The Variable Desert," Scientific American, {{jstor|6182}}: "The bare statement that the region contains a flora rich in genera and species and of diverse geographic origin or affinity is entirely inadequate as a description of its real biological diversity."
  • 1975 - The term natural diversity was introduced (by The Science Division of The Nature Conservancy in a 1975 study, "The Preservation of Natural Diversity."){{citation needed|date=January 2019}}
  • 1980 - Thomas Lovejoy introduced the term biological diversity to the scientific community in a book.BOOK, Soulé, Michael E., Wilcox, Bruce A., Conservation biology: an evolutionary-ecological perspective, Sinauer Associates, Sunderland, Mass, 1980, 978-0-87893-800-1, It rapidly became commonly used.WEB,weblink Robert E. Jenkins,, 2011-08-18, 2011-09-24,weblink" title="">weblink 19 September 2012, dead,
  • 1985 - According to Edward O. Wilson, the contracted form biodiversity was coined by W. G. Rosen: "The National Forum on BioDiversity ... was conceived by Walter G.Rosen ... Dr. Rosen represented the NRC/NAS throughout the planning stages of the project. Furthermore, he introduced the term biodiversity".BOOK, Wilson, E. O., Biodiversity, 1988, National Academy Press, vi,weblink
  • 1985 - The term "biodiversity" appears in the article, "A New Plan to Conserve the Earth's Biota" by Laura Tangley.JOURNAL, Tangley, Laura, 1985, A New Plan to Conserve the Earth's Biota, BioScience, 35, 6, 334–336+341, 1309899, 10.1093/bioscience/35.6.334,
  • 1988 - The term biodiversity first appeared in a publication.BOOK, E.O., Wilson, Biodiversity, {{google books, y, DSGF1xQBYi8C, |date=1 January 1988|publisher=National Academies Press|isbn=978-0-309-03739-6}} online edition {{webarchive|url= |date=13 September 2006 }}BOOK, Global Biodiversity Assessment: Summary for Policy-makers, {{google books, y, VKnimgEACAAJ, |year=1995|publisher=Cambridge University Press|isbn=978-0-521-56481-6}} Annex 6, Glossary. Used as source by "Biodiversity", Glossary of terms related to the CBD, Belgian Clearing-House Mechanism. Retrieved 2006-04-26.
  • The present - the term has achieved widespread use.


Prior term

"Biodiversity" is most commonly used to replace the more clearly defined and long established terms, species diversity and species richness.

Alternate terms

Biologists most often define biodiversity as the "totality of genes, species and ecosystems of a region".BOOK, Tor-Björn Larsson, Biodiversity evaluation tools for European forests, {{google books, y, zeTU8QauENcC, 178, |accessdate=28 June 2011|year=2001|publisher=Wiley-Blackwell|isbn=978-87-16-16434-6|page=178}}BOOK, Davis, Intro To Env Engg (Sie), 4E, {{google books, y, n0FvYeoHtAIC, 40, |accessdate=28 June 2011|publisher=McGraw-Hill Education (India) Pvt Ltd|isbn=978-0-07-067117-1|pages=4–}} An advantage of this definition is that it seems to describe most circumstances and presents a unified view of the traditional types of biological variety previously identified:
  • taxonomic diversity (usually measured at the species diversity level)
  • ecological diversity (often viewed from the perspective of ecosystem diversity)
  • morphological diversity (which stems from genetic diversity and molecular diversityJOURNAL, Campbell, AK, Journal of Applied Ecology, 2003, 40, 2, 10.1046/j.1365-2664.2003.00803.x, 193–203, Save those molecules: molecular biodiversity and life, )
  • functional diversity (which is a measure of the number of functionally disparate species within a population (e.g. different feeding mechanism, different motility, predator vs prey, etc.)WEB, What is functional diversity, and why do we care?,weblink sample(ECOLOGY), 2015-12-22, Jon, Lefcheck, 2014-10-20, ) This multilevel construct is consistent with Datman and Lovejoy.

Wilcox 1982

An explicit definition consistent with this interpretation was first given in a paper by Bruce A. Wilcox commissioned by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) for the 1982 World National Parks Conference. Wilcox's definition was "Biological diversity is the variety of life all levels of biological systems (i.e., molecular, organismic, population, species and ecosystem)...".Wilcox, Bruce A. 1984. In situ conservation of genetic resources: determinants of minimum area requirements. In National Parks, Conservation and Development, Proceedings of the World Congress on National Parks,, J.A. McNeely and K.R. Miller, Smithsonian Institution Press, pp. 18–30.

Genetic: Wilcox 1984

Biodiversity can be defined genetically as the diversity of alleles, genes and organisms. They study processes such as mutation and gene transfer that drive evolution.

United Nations 1992

The 1992 United Nations Earth Summit defined "biological diversity" as "the variability among living organisms from all sources, including, 'inter alia', 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".BOOK, D. L. Hawksworth, Biodiversity: measurement and estimation, {{google books, y, E0F7zhnx1cgC, 6, |accessdate=28 June 2011|year=1996|publisher=Springer|isbn=978-0-412-75220-9|page=6}} This definition is used in the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity.

Gaston and Spicer 2004

Gaston & Spicer's definition in their book "Biodiversity: an introduction" is "variation of life at all levels of biological organization".BOOK, Kevin J., Gaston, John I., Spicer, Biodiversity: An Introduction, {{google books, y, lY8rc4bcIDwC, |date=13 February 2004|publisher=Wiley|isbn=978-1-4051-1857-6}}


File:Swiss National Park 131.JPG|thumb|A conifer forest in the Swiss Alps (National Park)]]Biodiversity is not evenly distributed, rather it varies greatly across the globe as well as within regions. Among other factors, the diversity of all living things (biota) depends on temperature, precipitation, altitude, soils, geography and the presence of other species. The study of the spatial distribution of organisms, species and ecosystems, is the science of biogeography.Diversity consistently measures higher in the tropics and in other localized regions such as the Cape Floristic Region and lower in polar regions generally. Rain forests that have had wet climates for a long time, such as Yasuní National Park in Ecuador, have particularly high biodiversity.NEWS,weblink A Durable Yet Vulnerable Eden in Amazonia, Dot Earth blog, New York Times
, 2010-01-20, 2013-02-02, JOURNAL, Global Conservation Significance of Ecuador's Yasuní National Park, Margot S. Bass, Matt Finer, Clinton N. Jenkins, Holger Kreft, Diego F. Cisneros-Heredia, Shawn F. McCracken, Nigel C. A. Pitman, Peter H. English, Kelly Swing, Gorky Villa, Anthony Di Fiore, Christian C. Voigt, Thomas H. Kunz, PLOS ONE, 2010, 5, 1, 10.1371/journal.pone.0008767, 2010PLoSO...5.8767B, e8767, 20098736, 2808245,
Terrestrial biodiversity is thought to be up to 25 times greater than ocean biodiversity.JOURNAL, Benton M. J., 2001, Biodiversity on land and in the sea, Geological Journal, 36, 3–4, 211–230, 10.1002/gj.877, A new method used in 2011, put the total number of species on Earth at 8.7 million, of which 2.1 million were estimated to live in the ocean.JOURNAL, Mora, C., How Many Species Are There on Earth and in the Ocean?, PLoS Biology, 2011, 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001127, 21886479, 3160336, 9, 8, e1001127, etal, However, this estimate seems to under-represent the diversity of microorganisms.

Latitudinal gradients

Generally, there is an increase in biodiversity from the poles to the tropics. Thus localities at lower latitudes have more species than localities at higher latitudes. This is often referred to as the latitudinal gradient in species diversity. Several ecological factors may contribute to the gradient, but the ultimate factor behind many of them is the greater mean temperature at the equator compared to that of the poles.JOURNAL, Currie, D. J., Mittelbach, G. G., Cornell, H. V., Kaufman, D. M., Kerr, J. T., Oberdorff, T., 2004, A critical review of species-energy theory, Ecology Letters, 7, 12, 1121–1134, 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2004.00671.x, JOURNAL, Allen A. P., Gillooly J. F., Savage V. M., Brown J. H., 2006, Kinetic effects of temperature on rates of genetic divergence and speciation, PNAS, 103, 24, 9130–9135, 2006PNAS..103.9130A, 10.1073/pnas.0603587103, 16754845, 1474011, Even though terrestrial biodiversity declines from the equator to the poles,JOURNAL, Hillebrand H, 2004, On the generality of the latitudinal diversity gradient,weblink The American Naturalist, 163, 2, 192–211, 10.1086/381004, 14970922, some studies claim that this characteristic is unverified in aquatic ecosystems, especially in marine ecosystems.JOURNAL, How diverse is aquatic biodiversity research?, 10.1007/s10452-005-6041-y, 39, 3, Aquatic Ecology, 367–375, September 2005, Karakassis, Ioannis, Moustakas, Aristides, The latitudinal distribution of parasites does not appear to follow this rule.BOOK, Serge, Morand, Boris R., Krasnov, The Biogeography of Host-Parasite Interactions, {{google books, y, 08keK5vc888C, 93, |accessdate=28 June 2011|date=1 September 2010|publisher=Oxford University Press|isbn=978-0-19-956135-3|pages=93–94}}In 2016, an alternative hypothesis ("the fractal biodiversity") was proposed to explain the biodiversity latitudinal gradient.Cazzolla Gatti, R. (2016). The fractal nature of the latitudinal biodiversity gradient. Biologia, 71(6), 669-672. In this study, the species pool size and the fractal nature of ecosystems were combined to clarify some general patterns of this gradient. This hypothesis considers temperature, moisture, and net primary production (NPP) as the main variables of an ecosystem niche and as the axis of the ecological hypervolume. In this way, it is possible to build fractal hypervolumes, whose fractal dimension rises up to three moving towards the equator.


A biodiversity hotspot is a region with a high level of endemic species that have experienced great habitat loss.WEB,weblink Biodiversity A-Z, Biodiversity Hotspots, The term hotspot was introduced in 1988 by Norman Myers.JOURNAL, 10.1007/BF02240252, Myers N, 1988, Threatened biotas: 'hot spots' in tropical forests, Environmentalist, 8, 3, 187–208, 12322582, JOURNAL, 10.1007/BF02239720, Myers N, 1990, The biodiversity challenge: expanded hot-spots analysis,weblink Environmentalist, 10, 4, 243–256, 12322583,, BOOK, Jeffrey K., McKee, Sparing Nature: The Conflict Between Human Population Growth and Earth's Biodiversity, {{google books, y, omgIyInG8qEC, 108, |accessdate=28 June 2011|date=December 2004|publisher=Rutgers University Press|isbn=978-0-8135-3558-6|page=108}} While hotspots are spread all over the world, the majority are forest areas and most are located in the tropics.Brazil's Atlantic Forest is considered one such hotspot, containing roughly 20,000 plant species, 1,350 vertebrates and millions of insects, about half of which occur nowhere else.BOOK, The Atlantic Forest of South America: Biodiversity Status, Threats, and Outlook, Galindo-Leal, Carlos, Island Press, 2003, 978-1-55963-988-0, Washington, 35, {{citation needed|date=April 2013}} The island of Madagascar and India are also particularly notable. Colombia is characterized by high biodiversity, with the highest rate of species by area unit worldwide and it has the largest number of endemics (species that are not found naturally anywhere else) of any country. About 10% of the species of the Earth can be found in Colombia, including over 1,900 species of bird, more than in Europe and North America combined, Colombia has 10% of the world's mammals species, 14% of the amphibian species and 18% of the bird species of the world.WEB
, Colombia in the World
, Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Research on Biological Resources
, 2013-12-30
, dead
,weblink" title="">weblink
, 29 October 2013
, Madagascar dry deciduous forests and lowland rainforests possess a high ratio of endemism.WEB, godfrey, laurie, isolation and biodiversity,weblink, 22 October 2017, {{citation needed|date=April 2013}} Since the island separated from mainland Africa 66 million years ago, many species and ecosystems have evolved independently.WEB,weblink Madagascar -- A World Apart: Eden Evolution,, 2019-06-06, Indonesia's 17,000 islands cover {{convert|735,355|sqmi}} and contain 10% of the world's flowering plants, 12% of mammals and 17% of reptiles, amphibians and birds—along with nearly 240 million people.JOURNAL, Science, 10 September 2010, 329, 20829464, 5997, 1278–1280, 10.1126/science.329.5997.1278,weblink Saving Forests to Save Biodiversity, Dennis, Normile, 28 December 2010, 2010Sci...329.1278N, Many regions of high biodiversity and/or endemism arise from specialized habitats which require unusual adaptations, for example, alpine environments in high mountains, or Northern European peat bogs.{{citation needed|date=April 2013}}Accurately measuring differences in biodiversity can be difficult. Selection bias amongst researchers may contribute to biased empirical research for modern estimates of biodiversity. In 1768, Rev. Gilbert White succinctly observed of his Selborne, Hampshire "all nature is so full, that that district produces the most variety which is the most examined."BOOK, Gilbert, White, The Natural History of Selborne: With A Naturalist's Calendar & Additional Observations, {{google books, y, q7UOQQAACAAJ, |year=1887|chapter=letter xx|publisher=Scott}}


(File:Phanerozoic Biodiversity.png|thumb|upright=1.35|Apparent marine fossil diversity during the PhanerozoicJOURNAL, No climate paradox under the faint early Sun, C., Bjerrum, 464, 7289, Nature, 744–747, N., Sleep, 2010, 20360739, Rosing, M., D., Bird, 10.1038/nature08955, 2010Natur.464..744R, )


Biodiversity is the result of 3.5 billion years of evolution. The origin of life has not been definitely established by science, however some evidence suggests that life may already have been well-established only a few hundred million years after the formation of the Earth. Until approximately 600 million years ago, all life consisted of microorganisms – archaea, bacteria, and single-celled protozoans and protists.The history of biodiversity during the Phanerozoic (the last 540 million years), starts with rapid growth during the Cambrian explosion—a period during which nearly every phylum of multicellular organisms first appeared. Over the next 400 million years or so, invertebrate diversity showed little overall trend and vertebrate diversity shows an overall exponential trend.JOURNAL, 10.1098/rsbl.2009.1024, Sahney, S., Benton, M.J., Paul, Ferry, 2010, Links between global taxonomic diversity, ecological diversity and the expansion of vertebrates on land, Biology Letters, 6, 4, 544–547, 20106856, 2936204, This dramatic rise in diversity was marked by periodic, massive losses of diversity classified as mass extinction events. A significant loss occurred when rainforests collapsed in the carboniferous. The worst was the Permian-Triassic extinction event, 251 million years ago. Vertebrates took 30 million years to recover from this event.The fossil record suggests that the last few million years featured the greatest biodiversity in history. However, not all scientists support this view, since there is uncertainty as to how strongly the fossil record is biased by the greater availability and preservation of recent geologic sections. Some scientists believe that corrected for sampling artifacts, modern biodiversity may not be much different from biodiversity 300 million years ago.,JOURNAL, 11353852, 2001, Alroy, J, Marshall, CR, Bambach, RK, Bezusko, K, Foote, M, Fursich, FT, Hansen, TA, Holland, SM, Ivany, LC, Effects of sampling standardization on estimates of Phanerozoic marine diversification, 98, 11, 6261–6266, 10.1073/pnas.111144698, 33456, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2001PNAS...98.6261A, 8, whereas others consider the fossil record reasonably reflective of the diversification of life. Estimates of the present global macroscopic species diversity vary from 2 million to 100 million, with a best estimate of somewhere near 9 million, the vast majority arthropods.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink dead, 25 July 2010, Mapping the web of life,, 2009-06-21, dmy-all, Diversity appears to increase continually in the absence of natural selection.JOURNAL, 318, 7304, 10.1038/466318a, 2010, Nature, 466, Does diversity always grow?, Okasha, S., 2010Natur.466..318O,


The existence of a global carrying capacity, limiting the amount of life that can live at once, is debated, as is the question of whether such a limit would also cap the number of species. While records of life in the sea shows a logistic pattern of growth, life on land (insects, plants and tetrapods) shows an exponential rise in diversity. As one author states, "Tetrapods have not yet invaded 64 per cent of potentially habitable modes and it could be that without human influence the ecological and taxonomic diversity of tetrapods would continue to increase in an exponential fashion until most or all of the available ecospace is filled."It also appears that the diversity continue to increase over time, especially after mass extinctions.WEB,weblink Stanford researchers discover that animal functional diversity started out poor, became richer over time,, On the other hand, changes through the Phanerozoic correlate much better with the hyperbolic model (widely used in population biology, demography and macrosociology, as well as fossil biodiversity) than with exponential and logistic models. The latter models imply that changes in diversity are guided by a first-order positive feedback (more ancestors, more descendants) and/or a negative feedback arising from resource limitation. Hyperbolic model implies a second-order positive feedback. The hyperbolic pattern of the world population growth arises from a second-order positive feedback between the population size and the rate of technological growth.JOURNAL, 18677962, 2008, Markov, AV, Korotaev, AV, Hyperbolic growth of marine and continental biodiversity through the phanerozoic and community evolution, 69, 3, 175–194, Journal of General Biology,weblink The hyperbolic character of biodiversity growth can be similarly accounted for by a feedback between diversity and community structure complexity. The similarity between the curves of biodiversity and human population probably comes from the fact that both are derived from the interference of the hyperbolic trend with cyclical and stochastic dynamics.JOURNAL, 10.1016/j.palwor.2007.01.002, Phanerozoic marine biodiversity follows a hyperbolic trend, 2007, Markov, A, Korotayev, A, Palaeoworld, 16, 4, 311–318, Most biologists agree however that the period since human emergence is part of a new mass extinction, named the Holocene extinction event, caused primarily by the impact humans are having on the environment.National Survey Reveals Biodiversity Crisis {{webarchive|url= |date=7 June 2007 }} American Museum of Natural History It has been argued that the present rate of extinction is sufficient to eliminate most species on the planet Earth within 100 years.BOOK, Edward O., Wilson, The Future of Life, {{google books, y, Guosshxltn4C, |date=1 January 2002|publisher=Alfred A. Knopf|isbn=978-0-679-45078-8}}In 2011, in his Biodiversity-related Niches Differentiation Theory, Roberto Cazzolla Gatti proposed that species themselves are the architects of biodiversity, by proportionally increasing the number of potentially available niches in a given ecosystem.Cazzolla Gatti, R. (2011). Evolution is a cooperative process: the biodiversity-related niches differentiation theory (BNDT) can explain why. Theoretical Biology Forum, 104(1), 35-43. This study led to the idea that biodiversity is autocatalytic.Cazzolla Gatti, R., Hordijk, W., & Kauffman, S. (2017). Biodiversity is autocatalytic. Ecological Modelling, 346, 70-76. An ecosystem of interdependent species can be, therefore, considered as an emergent autocatalytic set (a self-sustaining network of mutually "catalytic" entities), where one (group of) species enables the existence of (i.e., creates niches for) other species. This view offers a possible answer to the fundamental question of why so many species can coexist in the same ecosystem.New species are regularly discovered (on average between 5–10,000 new species each year, most of them insects) and many, though discovered, are not yet classified (estimates are that nearly 90% of all arthropods are not yet classified). Most of the terrestrial diversity is found in tropical forests and in general, land has more species than the ocean; some 8.7 million species may exists on Earth, of which some 2.1 million live in the ocean.

Ecosystem services

File:Field Hamois Belgium Luc Viatour.jpg|thumb|Summer field in Belgium (Hamois). The blue flowers are Centaurea cyanus and the red are Papaver rhoeasPapaver rhoeas

The balance of evidence

"Ecosystem services are the suite of benefits that ecosystems provide to humanity."JOURNAL, 10.1038/nature11148, Biodiversity loss and its impact on humanity, 2012, Cardinale, Bradley, Nature, 486, 59–67, 2012Natur.486...59C, 22678280, 7401, etal,weblink The natural species, or biota, are the caretakers of all ecosystems. It is as if the natural world is an enormous bank account of capital assets capable of paying life sustaining dividends indefinitely, but only if the capital is maintained.Wright, Richard T., and Bernard J. Nebel. Environmental Science : toward a Sustainable Future. Eighth ed., Upper Saddle River, N.J., Pearson Education, 2002.These services come in three flavors:
  1. Provisioning services which involve the production of renewable resources (e.g.: food, wood, fresh water)
  2. Regulating services which are those that lessen environmental change (e.g.: climate regulation, pest/disease control)
  3. Cultural services represent human value and enjoyment (e.g.: landscape aesthetics, cultural heritage, outdoor recreation and spiritual significance)JOURNAL, Daniel, T. C., Contributions of cultural services to the ecosystem services agenda, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 21 May 2012, 109, 23, 8812–8819, 10.1073/pnas.1114773109, 2012PNAS..109.8812D, etal, 22615401, 3384142,
There have been many claims about biodiversity's effect on these ecosystem services, especially provisioning and regulating services. After an exhaustive survey through peer-reviewed literature to evaluate 36 different claims about biodiversity's effect on ecosystem services, 14 of those claims have been validated, 6 demonstrate mixed support or are unsupported, 3 are incorrect and 13 lack enough evidence to draw definitive conclusions.

Services enhanced

Provisioning services

Greater species diversity
  • of plants increases fodder yield (synthesis of 271 experimental studies).JOURNAL, Cardinale, Bradley. J., The functional role of producer diversity in ecosystems, American Journal of Botany, March 2011, 98, 3, 572–592, 10.3732/ajb.1000364, etal, 21613148,
  • of plants (i.e. diversity within a single species) increases overall crop yield (synthesis of 575 experimental studies).JOURNAL, Kiaer, Lars P., Skovgaard, M., ØstergÃ¥rd, Hanne, Grain yield increase in cereal variety mixtures: A meta-analysis of field trials, Field Crops Research, 1 December 2009, 114, 3, 361–373, 10.1016/j.fcr.2009.09.006,weblink Although another review of 100 experimental studies reports mixed evidence.JOURNAL, Letourneau, Deborah K., Does plant diversity benefit agroecosystems? A synthetic review, Ecological Applications, 1 January 2011, 21, 1, 9–21, 10.1890/09-2026.1,
  • of trees increases overall wood production (Synthesis of 53 experimental studies).JOURNAL, Piotto, Daniel, A meta-analysis comparing tree growth in monocultures and mixed plantations, Forest Ecology and Management, 1 March 2008, 255, 3–4, 781–786, 10.1016/j.foreco.2007.09.065, However, there is not enough data to draw a conclusion about the effect of tree trait diversity on wood production.

Regulating services

Greater species diversity
  • of fish increases the stability of fisheries yield (Synthesis of 8 observational studies)
  • of natural pest enemies decreases herbivorous pest populations (Data from two separate reviews; Synthesis of 266 experimental and observational studies;BOOK, Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics: Vol 40 2009, {{google books, y, 2zifbwAACAAJ, 573, |date=1 January 2009|publisher=Annual Reviews|isbn=978-0-8243-1440-8|editor-first1=Douglas J. |editor-last1=Futuyma |editor-first2=H. Bradley |editor-last2=Shaffer |editor-first3=Daniel |editor-last3=Simberloff |location=Palo Alto, Calif.|pages=573–592}} Synthesis of 18 observational studies.JOURNAL, Philpott, Stacy M., Soong, Oliver, Lowenstein, Jacob H., Pulido, Astrid Luz, Lopez, Diego Tobar, Flynn, Dan F. B.; DeClerck, Fabrice, Functional richness and ecosystem services: bird predation on arthropods in tropical agroecosystems, Ecological Applications, 1 October 2009, 19, 7, 1858–1867, 10.1890/08-1928.1, JOURNAL, Van Bael, Sunshine A, Birds as predators in tropical agroforestry systems, Ecology, Apr 2008, 89, 4, 928–934, 10.1890/06-1976.1, etal, 1903/7873, Although another review of 38 experimental studies found mixed support for this claim, suggesting that in cases where mutual intraguild predation occurs, a single predatory species is often more effectiveJOURNAL, Vance-Chalcraft, Heather D., The Influence of Intraguild Predation on Prey Suppression and Prey Release: A Meta-analysis, Ecology, 1 November 2007, 88, 11, 2689–2696, 10.1890/06-1869.1, etal,
  • of plants decreases disease prevalence on plants (Synthesis of 107 experimental studies)JOURNAL, Quijas, Sandra, Schmid, Bernhard, Balvanera, Patricia, Plant diversity enhances provision of ecosystem services: A new synthesis, Basic and Applied Ecology, 1 November 2010, 11, 7, 582–593, 10.1016/j.baae.2010.06.009,,
  • of plants increases resistance to plant invasion (Data from two separate reviews; Synthesis of 105 experimental studies; Synthesis of 15 experimental studiesJOURNAL, Levine, Jonathan M., Adler, Peter B., Yelenik, Stephanie G., A meta-analysis of biotic resistance to exotic plant invasions, Ecology Letters, 6 September 2004, 7, 10, 975–989, 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2004.00657.x, )
  • of plants increases carbon sequestration, but note that this finding only relates to actual uptake of carbon dioxide and not long term storage, see below; Synthesis of 479 experimental studies)
  • plants increases soil nutrient remineralization (Synthesis of 103 experimental studies)
  • of plants increases soil organic matter (Synthesis of 85 experimental studies)

Services with mixed evidence

Provisioning services

  • None to date

Regulating services

  • Greater species diversity of plants may or may not decrease herbivorous pest populations. Data from two separate reviews suggest that greater diversity decreases pest populations (Synthesis of 40 observational studies;JOURNAL, Crowder, David W., Organic agriculture promotes evenness and natural pest control, Nature, 466, 7302, 109–112, 10.1038/nature09183, 2010Natur.466..109C, etal, 20596021, 2010, Synthesis of 100 experimental studies). One review found mixed evidence (Synthesis of 287 experimental studiesJOURNAL, Andow, D A, Vegetational Diversity and Arthropod Population Response, Annual Review of Entomology, 1 January 1991, 36, 1, 561–586, 10.1146/annurev.en.36.010191.003021, ), while another found contrary evidence (Synthesis of 100 experimental studies)
  • Greater species diversity of animals may or may not decrease disease prevalence on those animals (Synthesis of 45 experimental and observational studies),JOURNAL, Keesing, Felicia, Impacts of biodiversity on the emergence and transmission of infectious diseases, Nature, 468, 7324, 647–652, 10.1038/nature09575, 2010Natur.468..647K, etal, 21124449, Dec 2010, although a 2013 study offers more support showing that biodiversity may in fact enhance disease resistance within animal communities, at least in amphibian frog ponds.JOURNAL, Johnson, Pieter T. J., Biodiversity decreases disease through predictable changes in host community competence, Nature, 13 February 2013, 494, 7436, 230–233, 10.1038/nature11883, 2013Natur.494..230J, etal, 23407539, Many more studies must be published in support of diversity to sway the balance of evidence will be such that we can draw a general rule on this service.
  • Greater species and trait diversity of plants may or may not increase long term carbon storage (Synthesis of 33 observational studies)
  • Greater pollinator diversity may or may not increase pollination (Synthesis of 7 observational studies), but a publication from March 2013 suggests that increased native pollinator diversity enhances pollen deposition (although not necessarily fruit set as the authors would have you believe, for details explore their lengthy supplementary material).JOURNAL, Garibaldi, L. A., Wild Pollinators Enhance Fruit Set of Crops Regardless of Honey Bee Abundance, Science, 28 February 2013, 10.1126/science.1230200, 2013Sci...339.1608G, 339, 6127, 1608–1611, etal, 23449997,weblink

Services hindered

Provisioning services

  • Greater species diversity of plants reduces primary production (Synthesis of 7 experimental studies)

Regulating services

  • greater genetic and species diversity of a number of organisms reduces freshwater purification (Synthesis of 8 experimental studies, although an attempt by the authors to investigate the effect of detritivore diversity on freshwater purification was unsuccessful due to a lack of available evidence (only 1 observational study was found

Provisioning services

  • Effect of species diversity of plants on biofuel yield (In a survey of the literature, the investigators only found 3 studies)
  • Effect of species diversity of fish on fishery yield (In a survey of the literature, the investigators only found 4 experimental studies and 1 observational study)

Regulating services

  • Effect of species diversity on the stability of biofuel yield (In a survey of the literature, the investigators did not find any studies)
  • Effect of species diversity of plants on the stability of fodder yield (In a survey of the literature, the investigators only found 2 studies)
  • Effect of species diversity of plants on the stability of crop yield (In a survey of the literature, the investigators only found 1 study)
  • Effect of genetic diversity of plants on the stability of crop yield (In a survey of the literature, the investigators only found 2 studies)
  • Effect of diversity on the stability of wood production (In a survey of the literature, the investigators could not find any studies)
  • Effect of species diversity of multiple taxa on erosion control (In a survey of the literature, the investigators could not find any studies – they did however find studies on the effect of species diversity and root biomass)
  • Effect of diversity on flood regulation (In a survey of the literature, the investigators could not find any studies)
  • Effect of species and trait diversity of plants on soil moisture (In a survey of the literature, the investigators only found 2 studies)
Other sources have reported somewhat conflicting results and in 1997 Robert Costanza and his colleagues reported the estimated global value of ecosystem services (not captured in traditional markets) at an average of $33 trillion annually.JOURNAL, 10.1038/387253a0, The value of the world's ecosystem services and natural capital, 1997, Costanza, Robert, Nature, 387, 6630, 253–260, 1997Natur.387..253C, etal, Since the stone age, species loss has accelerated above the average basal rate, driven by human activity. Estimates of species losses are at a rate 100-10,000 times as fast as is typical in the fossil record.BOOK, Ecosystems and human well-being: current state and trends : findings of the Condition and Trends Working Group of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, Hassan, Rashid M., 2006, Island Press, 978-1-55963-228-7, 105, {{google books, y, UFVmiSAr-okC, 105, |display-authors=etal}}Biodiversity also affords many non-material benefits including spiritual and aesthetic values, knowledge systems and education.


{{See also|Agricultural biodiversity}}File:Amazon Manaus forest.jpg|thumb|upright=1.15|Amazon Rainforest in South AmericaSouth AmericaAgricultural diversity can be divided into two categories: intraspecific diversity, which includes the genetic variety within a single species, like the potato (Solanum tuberosum) that is composed of many different forms and types (e.g. in the U.S. they might compare russet potatoes with new potatoes or purple potatoes, all different, but all part of the same species, S. tuberosum).The other category of agricultural diversity is called interspecific diversity and refers to the number and types of different species. Thinking about this diversity we might note that many small vegetable farmers grow many different crops like potatoes and also carrots, peppers, lettuce etc.Agricultural diversity can also be divided by whether it is ‘planned’ diversity or ‘associated’ diversity. This is a functional classification that we impose and not an intrinsic feature of life or diversity. Planned diversity includes the crops which a farmer has encouraged, planted or raised (e.g. crops, covers, symbionts and livestock, among others), which can be contrasted with the associated diversity that arrives among the crops, uninvited (e.g. herbivores, weed species and pathogens, among others).BOOK, John H., Vandermeer, The Ecology of Agroecosystems, {{google books, y, AFRQSuQGHiIC, |year=2011|publisher=Jones & Bartlett Learning|isbn=978-0-7637-7153-9}}The control of associated biodiversity is one of the great agricultural challenges that farmers face. On monoculture farms, the approach is generally to eradicate associated diversity using a suite of biologically destructive pesticides, mechanized tools and transgenic engineering techniques, then to rotate crops. Although some polyculture farmers use the same techniques, they also employ integrated pest management strategies as well as strategies that are more labor-intensive, but generally less dependent on capital, biotechnology and energy.Interspecific crop diversity is, in part, responsible for offering variety in what we eat. Intraspecific diversity, the variety of alleles within a single species, also offers us choice in our diets. If a crop fails in a monoculture, we rely on agricultural diversity to replant the land with something new. If a wheat crop is destroyed by a pest we may plant a hardier variety of wheat the next year, relying on intraspecific diversity. We may forgo wheat production in that area and plant a different species altogether, relying on interspecific diversity. Even an agricultural society which primarily grows monocultures, relies on biodiversity at some point.
  • The Irish potato blight of 1846 was a major factor in the deaths of one million people and the emigration of about two million. It was the result of planting only two potato varieties, both vulnerable to the blight, Phytophthora infestans, which arrived in 1845
  • When rice grassy stunt virus struck rice fields from Indonesia to India in the 1970s, 6,273 varieties were tested for resistance.WEB,weblink Rice Grassy Stunt Virus,, 2009-06-21, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 23 July 2011, dmy-all, Only one was resistant, an Indian variety and known to science only since 1966. This variety formed a hybrid with other varieties and is now widely grown.
  • Coffee rust attacked coffee plantations in Sri Lanka, Brazil and Central America in 1970. A resistant variety was found in Ethiopia.JOURNAL, 6694743, 1984, Wahl, GM, Robert de Saint Vincent B, Derose, ML, Effect of chromosomal position on amplification of transfected genes in animal cells, 307, 5951, 516–520, Nature, 10.1038/307516a0, 1984Natur.307..516W, The diseases are themselves a form of biodiversity.
Monoculture was a contributing factor to several agricultural disasters, including the European wine industry collapse in the late 19th century and the US southern corn leaf blight epidemic of 1970.WEB,weblink Southern Corn Leaf Blight, 2007-11-13,weblink" title="">weblink 14 August 2011, dead, dmy-all, Although about 80 percent of humans' food supply comes from just 20 kinds of plants,{{Citation needed|date=October 2017}}BOOK, Natural Resources – Technology, Economics & Policy, Aswathanarayana, Uppugunduri, CRC Press, 2012, 978-0-203-12399-7, Leiden, Netherlands, 370, humans use at least 40,000 species.{{Citation needed|date=September 2009}}BOOK, Natural Resources – Technology, Economics & Policy, Aswathanarayana, Uppugunduri, CRC Press, 2012, 978-0-203-12399-7, Leiden. Netherlands, 370, Many people depend on these species for food, shelter and clothing.{{Citation needed|date=September 2009}} Earth's surviving biodiversity provides resources for increasing the range of food and other products suitable for human use, although the present extinction rate shrinks that potential.

Human health

File:Forest fruits from Barro Colorado.png|thumb|upright|The diverse forest canopy on Barro Colorado IslandBarro Colorado IslandBiodiversity's relevance to human health is becoming an international political issue, as scientific evidence builds on the global health implications of biodiversity loss.World Health Organization(WHO) and Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (2015) Connecting Global Priorities: Biodiversity and Human Health, a State of Knowledge Review . See also Website of the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity on biodiversity and health. Other relevant resources includeReports of the 1st and 2nd International Conferences on Health and Biodiversity. {{Webarchive|url= |date=7 January 2009 }} See also: Website of the UN COHAB Initiative {{Webarchive|url= |date=4 February 2009 }}BOOK, Eric, Chivian, Sustaining Life: How Human Health Depends on Biodiversity, {{google books, y, n4ET74GCMG0C, |date=15 May 2008|publisher=OUP US|isbn=978-0-19-517509-7}}BOOK, Carlos, Corvalán, Simon, Hales, Anthony J. McMichael, Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Health Synthesis, {{google books, y, vKIXu2Z-9QsC, 28, |year=2005|publisher=World Health Organization|isbn=978-92-4-156309-3|pages=28–}} This issue is closely linked with the issue of climate change,(2009) "Climate Change and Biological Diversity" Convention on Biological Diversity Retrieved 5 November 2009 as many of the anticipated health risks of climate change are associated with changes in biodiversity (e.g. changes in populations and distribution of disease vectors, scarcity of fresh water, impacts on agricultural biodiversity and food resources etc.). This is because the species most likely to disappear are those that buffer against infectious disease transmission, while surviving species tend to be the ones that increase disease transmission, such as that of West Nile Virus, Lyme disease and Hantavirus, according to a study done co-authored by Felicia Keesing, an ecologist at Bard College and Drew Harvell, associate director for Environment of the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future (ACSF) at Cornell University.NEWS, Ramanujan, Krishna, Study: Loss of species is bad for your health,weblink 20 July 2011, Cornell Chronicle, 2 December 2010, The growing demand and lack of drinkable water on the planet presents an additional challenge to the future of human health. Partly, the problem lies in the success of water suppliers to increase supplies and failure of groups promoting preservation of water resources.BOOK, The World Bank, Water and Development: An Evaluation of World Bank Support, 1997-2007, {{google books, y, AYN4wCVLkhQC, 79, |date=30 June 2010|publisher=World Bank Publications|isbn=978-0-8213-8394-0|pages=79–}} While the distribution of clean water increases, in some parts of the world it remains unequal. According to the World Health Organisation (2018) only 71% of the global population used a safely managed drinking-water service.WEB,weblink Drinking-water, World Health Organization, Some of the health issues influenced by biodiversity include dietary health and nutrition security, infectious disease, medical science and medicinal resources, social and psychological health.JOURNAL, 10.1098/rsbl.2007.0149, Psychological benefits of greenspace increase with biodiversity, 2007, Gaston, Kevin J., Warren, Philip H., Devine-Wright, Patrick, Irvine, Katherine N., Fuller, Richard A., Biology Letters, 3, 4, 390–394, 17504734, 2390667, Biodiversity is also known to have an important role in reducing disaster risk and in post-disaster relief and recovery efforts.WEB,weblink COHAB Initiative: Biodiversity and Human Health – the issues,, 2009-06-21,weblink" title="">weblink 5 September 2008, dead, WEB,weblink World Wildlife Fund (WWF): "Arguments for Protection" website,, 2011-09-24, Biodiversity provides critical support for drug discovery and the availability of medicinal resources.JOURNAL, Mendelsohn, Robert, Balick, Michael J., The value of undiscovered pharmaceuticals in tropical forests, Economic Botany, 1 April 1995, 49, 2, 223–228, 10.1007/BF02862929, (2006) "Molecular Pharming" GMO Compass Retrieved 5 November 2009, {{webarchive|url= |date=8 February 2008 }} A significant proportion of drugs are derived, directly or indirectly, from biological sources: at least 50% of the pharmaceutical compounds on the US market are derived from plants, animals and microorganisms, while about 80% of the world population depends on medicines from nature (used in either modern or traditional medical practice) for primary healthcare. Only a tiny fraction of wild species has been investigated for medical potential. Biodiversity has been critical to advances throughout the field of bionics. Evidence from market analysis and biodiversity science indicates that the decline in output from the pharmaceutical sector since the mid-1980s can be attributed to a move away from natural product exploration ("bioprospecting") in favor of genomics and synthetic chemistry, indeed claims about the value of undiscovered pharmaceuticals may not provide enough incentive for companies in free markets to search for them because of the high cost of development;JOURNAL, Mendelsohn, Robert, Balick, Michael J., Notes on economic plants, Economic Botany, 1 July 1997, 51, 3, 328, 10.1007/BF02862103, meanwhile, natural products have a long history of supporting significant economic and health innovation.JOURNAL, Harvey, Alan L., 2008-10-01, Natural products in drug discovery, Drug Discovery Today, 13, 19–20, 894–901, 10.1016/j.drudis.2008.07.004, 18691670, JOURNAL, 10.1038/clpt.1992.1, Hawkins E.S., Reich, 1992, Reich, MR, Japanese-originated pharmaceutical products in the United States from 1960 to 1989: an assessment of innovation, Clin Pharmacol Ther, 51, 1, 1–11, 1732073, Marine ecosystems are particularly important,JOURNAL, Roopesh, J., Marine organisms: Potential Source for Drug Discovery, Current Science, 94, 3, 292, 10 February 2008,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink dead, 11 October 2011, 1, although inappropriate bioprospecting can increase biodiversity loss, as well as violating the laws of the communities and states from which the resources are taken.JOURNAL, 12436849, 2002, Dhillion, SS, Svarstad, H, Amundsen, C, Bugge, HC, Bioprospecting: Effects on environment and development, 31, 6, 491–493, Ambio, 4315292, 10.1639/0044-7447(2002)031[0491:beoead];2, JOURNAL, 10.1136/bmj.330.7504.1350-d, Looking for new compounds in sea is endangering ecosystem, Cole, A., BMJ, 330, 7504, 1350, 2005-07-16, 15947392, 558324, WEB,weblink COHAB Initiative – on Natural Products and Medicinal Resources,, 2009-06-21,weblink" title="">weblink 25 October 2017, dead,

Business and industry

File:Ueberladewagen (jha).jpg|thumb|right|Agriculture production, pictured is a tractor and a chaser binchaser binMany industrial materials derive directly from biological sources. These include building materials, fibers, dyes, rubber and oil. Biodiversity is also important to the security of resources such as water, timber, paper, fiber and food.IUCN, WRI, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Earthwatch Inst. 2007 Business and Ecosystems: Ecosystem Challenges and Business ImplicationsMillennium Ecosystem Assessment 2005 Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Opportunities and Challenges for Business and IndustryWEB,weblink Business and Biodiversity webpage of the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity,, 2009-06-21, As a result, biodiversity loss is a significant risk factor in business development and a threat to long term economic sustainability.WRI Corporate Ecosystem Services Review. See also: Examples of Ecosystem-Service Based Risks, Opportunities and Strategies {{webarchive|url= |date=1 April 2009 }}Corporate Biodiversity Accounting. See also: [http: Making the Natural Capital Declaration Accountable.]

Leisure, cultural and aesthetic value

Biodiversity enriches leisure activities such as hiking, birdwatching or natural history study. Biodiversity inspires musicians, painters, sculptors, writers and other artists. Many cultures view themselves as an integral part of the natural world which requires them to respect other living organisms.Popular activities such as gardening, fishkeeping and specimen collecting strongly depend on biodiversity. The number of species involved in such pursuits is in the tens of thousands, though the majority do not enter commerce.The relationships between the original natural areas of these often exotic animals and plants and commercial collectors, suppliers, breeders, propagators and those who promote their understanding and enjoyment are complex and poorly understood. The general public responds well to exposure to rare and unusual organisms, reflecting their inherent value.Philosophically it could be argued that biodiversity has intrinsic aesthetic and spiritual value to mankind in and of itself. This idea can be used as a counterweight to the notion that tropical forests and other ecological realms are only worthy of conservation because of the services they provide.JOURNAL, Tribot, A., Mouquet, N., Villeger, S., Raymond, M., Hoff, F., Boissery, P., Holon, F., Deter, J., 2016, Taxonomic and functional diversity increase the aesthetic value of coralligenous reefs,weblink Scientific Reports, 6, 34229, 10.1038/srep34229, 27677850, 5039688, 2016NatSR...634229T,

Ecological services

{{See also|Ecological effects of biodiversity}}File:Eaglecreek-28July2006.jpg|thumb|upright|Eagle Creek, Oregon hiking]]Biodiversity supports many ecosystem services:"There is now unequivocal evidence that biodiversity loss reduces the efficiency by which ecological communities capture biologically essential resources, produce biomass, decompose and recycle biologically essential nutrients... There is mounting evidence that biodiversity increases the stability of ecosystem functions through time... Diverse communities are more productive because they contain key species that have a large influence on productivity and differences in functional traits among organisms increase total resource capture... The impacts of diversity loss on ecological processes might be sufficiently large to rival the impacts of many other global drivers of environmental change... Maintaining multiple ecosystem processes at multiple places and times requires higher levels of biodiversity than does a single process at a single place and time."It plays a part in regulating the chemistry of our atmosphere and water supply. Biodiversity is directly involved in water purification, recycling nutrients and providing fertile soils. Experiments with controlled environments have shown that humans cannot easily build ecosystems to support human needs;NEWS, Broad, William, Paradise Lost: Biosphere Retooled as Atmospheric Nightmare,weblink 10 April 2013, The New York Times, 19 November 1996, for example insect pollination cannot be mimicked, though there have been attempts to create artificial pollinators using unmanned aerial vehicles.NEWS, Ponti, Crystal, Rise Of The Robot Bees: Tiny Drones Turned Into Artificial Pollinators,weblink 18 January 2018, NPR, 3 March 2017, The economic activity of pollination alone represented between $2.1-14.6 billions in 2003.JOURNAL, LOSEY, JOHN E., VAUGHAN, MACE, The Economic Value of Ecological Services Provided by Insects, BioScience, 1 January 2006, 56, 4, 311, 10.1641/0006-3568(2006)56[311:TEVOES]2.0.CO;2,

Number of species

(File:Mora 2011 Predicted and Unpredicted species.png|thumb|upright=3.2|center|Discovered and predicted total number of species on land and in the oceans)According to Mora and colleagues, the total number of terrestrial species is estimated to be around 8.7 million while the number of oceanic species is much lower, estimated at 2.2 million. The authors note that these estimates are strongest for eukaryotic organisms and likely represent the lower bound of prokaryote diversity.JOURNAL, Mora, Camilo, Tittensor, Derek P., Adl, Sina, Simpson, Alastair G. B., Worm, Boris, Mace, Georgina M., How Many Species Are There on Earth and in the Ocean?, PLoS Biology, 23 August 2011, 9, 8, e1001127, 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001127, 21886479, 3160336, Other estimates include:
  • 220,000 vascular plants, estimated using the species-area relation methodJOURNAL, Wilson, J. Bastow, Peet, Robert K., Dengler, Jürgen, Pärtel, Meelis, Plant species richness: the world records, Journal of Vegetation Science, 1 August 2012, 23, 4, 796–802, 10.1111/j.1654-1103.2012.01400.x,
  • 0.7-1 million marine speciesJOURNAL, Appeltans, W., Ahyong, S. T., Anderson, G, Angel, M. V., Artois, T., and 118 others, The Magnitude of Global Marine Species Diversity, Current Biology, 2012, 22, 23, 2189–2202, 10.1016/j.cub.2012.09.036, 23159596,
  • 10–30 million insects;WEB,weblink Numbers of Insects (Species and Individuals), Smithsonian Institution, (of some 0.9 million we know today)NEWS,weblink Le Monde, French, Protection de la biodiversité : un inventaire difficile, Christine, Galus, 5 March 2007,
  • 5–10 million bacteria;Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Census of Marine Life (CoML)
  • 1.5-3 million fungi, estimates based on data from the tropics, long-term non-tropical sites and molecular studies that have revealed cryptic speciation.JOURNAL, Hawksworth, D. L., Global species numbers of fungi: are tropical studies and molecular approaches contributing to a more robust estimate?, Biodiversity and Conservation, 24 July 2012, 21, 9, 2425–2433, 10.1007/s10531-012-0335-x, Some 0.075 million species of fungi had been documented by 2001)JOURNAL, 10.1017/S0953756201004725, The magnitude of fungal diversity: The 1.5 million species estimate revisited, 2001, Hawksworth, D, Mycological Research, 105, 12, 1422–1432,
  • 1 million mitesWEB,weblink Acari at University of Michigan Museum of Zoology Web Page,, 2003-11-10, 2009-06-21,
  • The number of microbial species is not reliably known, but the Global Ocean Sampling Expedition dramatically increased the estimates of genetic diversity by identifying an enormous number of new genes from near-surface plankton samples at various marine locations, initially over the 2004-2006 period.WEB,weblink J. Craig Venter Institute, Fact Sheet – Expedition Overview, 29 August 2010,weblink" title="">weblink 29 June 2010, dead, dmy-all, The findings may eventually cause a significant change in the way science defines species and other taxonomic categories.WEB, Mirsky, Steve, Scientific American, Naturally Speaking: Finding Nature's Treasure Trove with the Global Ocean Sampling Expedition, 21 March 2007, 4 May 2011,weblink JOURNAL,weblink Article collections published by the Public Library of Science, PLoS Collections, 2011-09-24, 10.1371/issue.pcol.v06.i02, 2019-08-20,
Since the rate of extinction has increased, many extant species may become extinct before they are described.NEWS,weblink Discovery of new species and extermination at high rate, The Guardian, London, Robin, McKie, 2005-09-25, Not surprisingly, in the animalia the most studied groups are birds and mammals, whereas fishes and arthropods are the least studied animals groups.JOURNAL, Bautista, L.M., Pantoja, J.C., What species should we study next?, Bull. Br. Ecol. Soc., 2005, 36, 4, 27–28,weblink

Measuring biodiversity

Species loss rates

{{see|Loss of biodiversity}}|accessdate=27 June 2011|date=4 November 1996|publisher=Phoenix|isbn=978-1-85799-473-5|pages=137–142}}}}During the last century, decreases in biodiversity have been increasingly observed. In 2007, German Federal Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel cited estimates that up to 30% of all species will be extinct by 2050.NEWS,weblink 30% of all species lost by 2050, BBC News, Sigmar, Gabriel, 2007-03-09, Of these, about one eighth of known plant species are threatened with extinction.WEB,weblink Reid, Walter V., Reversing the loss of biodiversity: An overview of international measures,, Arid Lands Newsletter, 37, 1995, Estimates reach as high as 140,000 species per year (based on Species-area theory).JOURNAL, 10.1126/science.269.5222.347, The Future of Biodiversity, 1995, Pimm, S. L., Russell, G. J., Gittleman, J. L., Brooks, T. M., Science, 269, 5222, 347–350, 17841251,weblink 1995Sci...269..347P, This figure indicates unsustainable ecological practices, because few species emerge each year.{{Citation needed|date=April 2011}} Almost all scientists acknowledge that the rate of species loss is greater now than at any time in human history, with extinctions occurring at rates hundreds of times higher than background extinction rates. As of 2012, some studies suggest that 25% of all mammal species could be extinct in 20 years.NEWS, Researches find threat from biodiversity loss equals climate change threat,weblink 2012-06-07, Winnipeg Free Press, In absolute terms, the planet has lost 58% of its biodiversity since 1970 according to a 2016 study by the weblink" title="">World Wildlife Fund. The Living Planet Report 2014 claims that "the number of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish across the globe is, on average, about half the size it was 40 years ago". Of that number, 39% accounts for the terrestrial wildlife gone, 39% for the marine wildlife gone and 76% for the freshwater wildlife gone. Biodiversity took the biggest hit in Latin America, plummeting 83 percent. High-income countries showed a 10% increase in biodiversity, which was canceled out by a loss in low-income countries. This is despite the fact that high-income countries use five times the ecological resources of low-income countries, which was explained as a result of process whereby wealthy nations are outsourcing resource depletion to poorer nations, which are suffering the greatest ecosystem losses.{{citation|url= |accessdate=4 October 2014 |title=Living Planet Report 2014 |publisher=World Wildlife Fund |format=PDF |url-status=dead |archiveurl= |archivedate=6 October 2014 }}A 2017 study published in PLOS One found that the biomass of insect life in Germany had declined by three-quarters in the last 25 years. Dave Goulson of Sussex University stated that their study suggested that humans "appear to be making vast tracts of land inhospitable to most forms of life, and are currently on course for ecological Armageddon. If we lose the insects then everything is going to collapse."NEWS,weblink Warning of 'ecological Armageddon' after dramatic plunge in insect numbers, The Guardian, 18 October 2017, Editor, Damian Carrington Environment,


In 2006, many species were formally classified as rare or endangered or threatened; moreover, scientists have estimated that millions more species are at risk which have not been formally recognized. About 40 percent of the 40,177 species assessed using the IUCN Red List criteria are now listed as threatened with extinction—a total of 16,119.WEB,weblink Endangered Species List Expands to 16,000, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 5 August 2017, National Geographic, Lovett, Richard A., 2 May 2006, dmy-all, Jared Diamond describes an "Evil Quartet" of habitat destruction, overkill, introduced species and secondary extinctions.BOOK, Michael P., Moulton, James, Sanderson, Wildlife Issues in a Changing World, {{google books, y, or6sngEACAAJ, |date=1 September 1998|publisher=CRC-Press|isbn=978-1-56670-351-2}} Edward O. Wilson prefers the acronym HIPPO, standing for Habitat destruction, Invasive species, Pollution, human over-Population and Over-harvesting.BOOK, Jim, Chen, The Jurisdynamics of Environmental Protection: Change and the Pragmatic Voice in Environmental Law, {{google books, y, 8vCkSM1auwIC, 197, |isbn=978-1-58576-071-8|chapter=Across the Apocalypse on Horseback: Imperfect Legal Responses to Biodiversity Loss|page=197|year=2003|publisher=Environmental Law Institute}}BOOK, Windows on the Wild, {{google books, y, 1rzqxEVsMO8C, |year=2005|publisher=New Africa Books|isbn=978-1-86928-380-3|chapter=Hippo dilemma}} The most authoritative classification in use today is IUCN's Classification of Direct ThreatsWEB,weblink IUCN's Classification of Direct Threats (v2.0),, 2019-02-22, (version 2.0 released in 2016) which has been adopted by major international conservation organizations such as the US Nature Conservancy, the World Wildlife Fund, Conservation International and BirdLife International.The 11 main direct threats to conservation are:1. residential & commercial development
* housing & urban areas (urban areas, suburbs, villages, vacation homes, shopping areas, offices, schools, hospitals) * commercial & industrial areas (manufacturing plants, shopping centers, office parks, military bases, power plants, train & ship yards, airports) * tourism & recreational areas (skiing, golf courses, sports fields, parks, campgrounds)
2. farming activities
* agriculture (crop farms, orchards, vineyards, plantations, ranches) * aquaculture (shrimp or fin fish aquaculture, fish ponds on farms, hatchery salmon, seeded shellfish beds, artificial algal beds)
3. energy production & mining
* renewable energy production (geothermal, solar, wind, & tidal farms) * non-renewable energy production (oil and gas drilling) * mining (fuel and minerals)
4. transportation & service corridors
* service corridors (electrical & phone wires, aqueducts, oil & gas pipelines) * transport corridors (roads, railroads, shipping lanes, and flight paths) * collisions with the vehicles using the corridors * associated accidents and catastrophes (oil spills, electrocution, fire)
5. biological resource usages
* hunting (bushmeat, trophy, fur) * persecution (predator control and pest control, superstitions) * plant destruction or removal (human consumption, free range livestock foraging, battling timber disease, orchid collection) * logging or wood harvesting (selective or clear cutting, firewood collection, charcoal production) * fishing (trawling, whaling, live coral or seaweed or egg collection)
6. human intrusions & activities that alter, destroy, simply disturb habitats and species from exhibiting natural behaviors
* recreational activities (off-road vehicles, motorboats, jet-skis, snowmobiles, ultralight planes, dive boats, whale watching, mountain bikes, hikers, birdwatchers, skiers, pets in recreational areas, temporary campsites, caving, rock-climbing) * war, civil unrest, & military exercises (armed conflict, mine fields, tanks & other military vehicles, training exercises & ranges, defoliation, munitions testing) * illegal activities (smuggling, immigration, vandalism)
7. natural system modifications
* fire suppression or creation (controlled burns, inappropriate fire management, escaped agricultural and campfires, arson) * water management (dam construction & operation, wetland filling, surface water diversion, groundwater pumping) * other modifications (reclamation projects, shoreline rip-rap, lawn cultivation, beach construction and maintenance, tree-thinning in parks) * removing/reducing human maintenance (mowing meadows, reduction in controlled burns, lack of indigenous management of key ecosystems, ceasing supplemental feeding of condors)
8. invasive & problematic species, pathogens & genes
* invasive species (feral horses & household pets, zebra mussels, Miconia tree, kudzu, introduction for biocontrol) * problematic native species (overabundant native deer or kangaroo, overabundant algae due to loss of native grazing fish, locust-type plagues) * introduced genetic material (pesticide-resistant crops, genetically modified insects for biocontrol, genetically modified trees or salmon, escaped hatchery salmon, restoration projects using non-local seed stock) * pathogens & microbes (plague affecting rodents or rabbits, Dutch elm disease or chestnut blight, Chytrid fungus affecting amphibians outside of Africa)
9. pollution
* household sewage & urban waste water (discharge from municipal waste treatment plants, leaking septic systems, untreated sewage, outhouses, oil or sediment from roads, fertilizers and pesticides from lawns and golf-courses, road salt) * industrial & military effluents (toxic chemicals from factories, illegal dumping of chemicals, mine tailings, arsenic from gold mining, leakage from fuel tanks, PCBs in river sediments) * agricultural & forestry effluents (nutrient loading from fertilizer run-off, herbicide run-off, manure from feedlots, nutrients from aquaculture, soil erosion) * garbage & solid waste (municipal waste, litter & dumped possessions, flotsam & jetsam from recreational boats, waste that entangles wildlife, construction debris) * air-borne pollutants (acid rain, smog from vehicle emissions, excess nitrogen deposition, radioactive fallout, wind dispersion of pollutants or sediments from farm fields, smoke from forest fires or wood stoves) * excess energy (noise from highways or airplanes, sonar from submarines that disturbs whales, heated water from power plants, lamps attracting insects, beach lights disorienting turtles, atmospheric radiation from ozone holes)
10. catastrophic geological events
* earthquakes, tsunamis, avalanches, landslides, & volcanic eruptions and gas emissions
11. climate changes
* ecosystem encroachment (inundation of shoreline ecosystems & drowning of coral reefs from sea level rise, sand dune encroachment from desertification) * changes in geochemical regimes (ocean acidification, changes in atmospheric CO2 affecting plant growth, loss of sediment leading to broad-scale subsidence) * changes in temperature regimes (heat waves, cold spells, oceanic temperature changes, melting of glaciers/sea ice) * changes in precipitation & hydrological regimes (droughts, rain timing, loss of snowcover, increased severity of floods) * severe weather events (thunderstorms, tropical storms, hurricanes, cyclones, tornadoes, hailstorms, ice storms or blizzards, dust storms, erosion of beaches during storms)

Habitat destruction

File:Amazonie deforestation.jpg|thumb|Deforestation and increased road-building in the Amazon RainforestAmazon RainforestHabitat destruction has played a key role in extinctions, especially in relation to tropical forest destruction.BOOK, Paul R., Ehrlich, Anne H., Ehrlich, Extinction: The Causes and Consequences of the Disappearance of Species, {{google books, y, J2_gAAAAMAAJ, |year= 1983|publisher= Ballantine Books|isbn= 978-0-345-33094-9}} Factors contributing to habitat loss include: overconsumption, overpopulation, land use change, deforestation,C.Michael Hogan. 2010. Deforestation Encyclopedia of Earth. ed. C.Cleveland. NCSE. Washington DC pollution (air pollution, water pollution, soil contamination) and global warming or climate change.{{Citation needed|date= December 2010}}Habitat size and numbers of species are systematically related. Physically larger species and those living at lower latitudes or in forests or oceans are more sensitive to reduction in habitat area.JOURNAL, 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2005.00848.x, The imprint of the geographical, evolutionary and ecological context on species-area relationships, 2006, Drakare, Stina, Lennon, Jack J., Hillebrand, Helmut, Ecology Letters, 9, 2, 215–227, 16958886, Conversion to "trivial" standardized ecosystems (e.g., monoculture following deforestation) effectively destroys habitat for the more diverse species that preceded the conversion. Even the simplest forms of agriculture affect diversity – through clearing/draining land, discouraging weeds and "pests", and encouraging just a limited set of domesticated plant and animal species. In some countries lack of property rights or lax law/regulatory enforcement necessarily leads to biodiversity loss (degradation costs having to be supported by the community).{{Citation needed|date= August 2010}}A 2007 study conducted by the National Science Foundation found that biodiversity and genetic diversity are codependent—that diversity among species requires diversity within a species and vice versa. "If any one type is removed from the system, the cycle can break down and the community becomes dominated by a single species."WEB,weblink Study: Loss Of Genetic Diversity Threatens Species Diversity,, 2007-09-26, 2009-06-21, {{As of | 2005 |alt = At present}}, the most threatened ecosystems occur in fresh water, according to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2005, which was confirmed by the "Freshwater Animal Diversity Assessment" organised by the biodiversity platform and the French Institut de recherche pour le développement (MNHNP).Science Connection 22 (July 2008)Co-extinctions are a form of habitat destruction. Co-extinction occurs when the extinction or decline in one species accompanies similar processes in another, such as in plants and beetles.JOURNAL
, 10.1126/science.1101101, Koh L. P.
, Dunn R. R., Sodhi N. S.
, Colwell R. K., Proctor H. C.
, Smith V. S., 2004
, Species Coextinctions and the Biodiversity Crisis
,weblink" title="">weblink
, 2009-03-26, Science, 305
, 5690, 1632–1634
, 15361627
, 2004Sci...305.1632K
, A 2019 report has revealed that bees and other pollinating insects have been wiped out of almost a quarter of their habitats across the United Kingdom. The population crashes have been happening since 1980s and are affecting the biodiversity. The increase in industrial farming and pesticide use, combined with disease, invasive species and climate change is threatening the future of these insects and the agriculture they support.NEWS,weblink Bees and other pollinating insects disappear from quarter of UK habitats in population crash, March 26, 2019, The Independent,

Introduced and invasive species

File:Male Silver Pheasant.jpg|thumb|right|Male Lophura nycthemera (silver pheasant), a native of East Asia that has been introduced into parts of EuropeEuropeBarriers such as large rivers, seas, oceans, mountains and deserts encourage diversity by enabling independent evolution on either side of the barrier, via the process of allopatric speciation. The term invasive species is applied to species that breach the natural barriers that would normally keep them constrained. Without barriers, such species occupy new territory, often supplanting native species by occupying their niches, or by using resources that would normally sustain native species.The number of species invasions has been on the rise at least since the beginning of the 1900s. Species are increasingly being moved by humans (on purpose and accidentally). In some cases the invaders are causing drastic changes and damage to their new habitats (e.g.: zebra mussels and the emerald ash borer in the Great Lakes region and the lion fish along the North American Atlantic coast). Some evidence suggests that invasive species are competitive in their new habitats because they are subject to less pathogen disturbance.JOURNAL, Torchin, Mark E., Lafferty, Kevin D., Dobson, Andrew P, Dobson, Andrew P., McKenzie, Valerie J., Kuris, Armand M., Introduced species and their missing parasites, Nature, 6 February 2003, 421, 6923, 628–630, 10.1038/nature01346, 12571595, 2003Natur.421..628T, Others report confounding evidence that occasionally suggest that species-rich communities harbor many native and exotic species simultaneouslyJOURNAL, Levine, Jonathan M., D'Antonio, Carla M., Elton Revisited: A Review of Evidence Linking Diversity and Invasibility, Oikos, 1 October 1999, 87, 1, 15, 10.2307/3546992, 3546992, while some say that diverse ecosystems are more resilient and resist invasive plants and animals.JOURNAL, Levine, J. M., Species Diversity and Biological Invasions: Relating Local Process to Community Pattern, Science, 5 May 2000, 288, 5467, 852–854, 10.1126/science.288.5467.852, 2000Sci...288..852L, 10797006, An important question is, "do invasive species cause extinctions?" Many studies cite effects of invasive species on natives,JOURNAL, GUREVITCH, J, PADILLA, D, Are invasive species a major cause of extinctions?, Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 1 September 2004, 19, 9, 470–474, 10.1016/j.tree.2004.07.005, 16701309, but not extinctions. Invasive species seem to increase local (i.e.: alpha diversity) diversity, which decreases turnover of diversity (i.e.: beta diversity). Overall gamma diversity may be lowered because species are going extinct because of other causes,JOURNAL, Sax, Dov F., Gaines, Steven D., Brown, James H., Species Invasions Exceed Extinctions on Islands Worldwide: A Comparative Study of Plants and Birds, The American Naturalist, 1 December 2002, 160, 6, 766–783, 10.1086/343877, 18707464, but even some of the most insidious invaders (e.g.: Dutch elm disease, emerald ash borer, chestnut blight in North America) have not caused their host species to become extinct. Extirpation, population decline and homogenization of regional biodiversity are much more common. Human activities have frequently been the cause of invasive species circumventing their barriers,BOOK, Jude, David auth., ed. by M. Munawar, The lake Huron ecosystem: ecology, fisheries and management, 1995, S.P.B. Academic Publishing, Amsterdam, 978-90-5103-117-1, by introducing them for food and other purposes. Human activities therefore allow species to migrate to new areas (and thus become invasive) occurred on time scales much shorter than historically have been required for a species to extend its range.Not all introduced species are invasive, nor all invasive species deliberately introduced. In cases such as the zebra mussel, invasion of US waterways was unintentional. In other cases, such as mongooses in Hawaii, the introduction is deliberate but ineffective (nocturnal rats were not vulnerable to the diurnal mongoose). In other cases, such as oil palms in Indonesia and Malaysia, the introduction produces substantial economic benefits, but the benefits are accompanied by costly unintended consequences.Finally, an introduced species may unintentionally injure a species that depends on the species it replaces. In Belgium, Prunus spinosa from Eastern Europe leafs much sooner than its West European counterparts, disrupting the feeding habits of the Thecla betulae butterfly (which feeds on the leaves). Introducing new species often leaves endemic and other local species unable to compete with the exotic species and unable to survive. The exotic organisms may be predators, parasites, or may simply outcompete indigenous species for nutrients, water and light.At present, several countries have already imported so many exotic species, particularly agricultural and ornamental plants, that their own indigenous fauna/flora may be outnumbered. For example, the introduction of kudzu from Southeast Asia to Canada and the United States has threatened biodiversity in certain areas.JOURNAL, ScienceDaily,weblink Are invasive plants a threat to native biodiversity? It depends on the spatial scale, 11 April 2011,

Genetic pollution

Endemic species can be threatened with extinctionJOURNAL, 10.1073/pnas.091093398, The evolutionary impact of invasive species, 2001, Mooney, H. A., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 98, 10, 5446–5451, 11344292, 2001PNAS...98.5446M, 33232, Cleland, EE, through the process of genetic pollution, i.e. uncontrolled hybridization, introgression and genetic swamping. Genetic pollution leads to homogenization or replacement of local genomes as a result of either a numerical and/or fitness advantage of an introduced species.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink dead, 2006-02-22, Glossary: definitions from the following publication: Aubry, C., R. Shoal and V. Erickson. 2005. Grass cultivars: their origins, development, and use on national forests and grasslands in the Pacific Northwest. USDA Forest Service. 44 pages, plus appendices.; Native Seed Network (NSN), Institute for Applied Ecology, Corvallis, OR,, 2009-06-21, Hybridization and introgression are side-effects of introduction and invasion. These phenomena can be especially detrimental to rare species that come into contact with more abundant ones. The abundant species can interbreed with the rare species, swamping its gene pool. This problem is not always apparent from morphological (outward appearance) observations alone. Some degree of gene flow is normal adaptation and not all gene and genotype constellations can be preserved. However, hybridization with or without introgression may, nevertheless, threaten a rare species' existence.JOURNAL, 10.1146/annurev.ecolsys.27.1.83, Extinction by Hybridization and Introgression, 1996, Rhymer, Judith M., Simberloff, Daniel, Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, 27, 83–109, 2097230, BOOK, Bradley M., Potts, Robert C., Barbour, Andrew B., Hingston, Genetic Pollution from Farm Forestry Using Eucalypt Species and Hydrids: A Report for the RIRDC/L & WA/FWPRDC Joint Venture Agroforestry Program, {{google books, y, PyQIOAAACAAJ, |year=2001|publisher=RIRDC|isbn=978-0-642-58336-9 |issn=1440-6845}} RIRDC Publication No 01/114; RIRDC Project No CPF – 3A {{webarchive|url= |date=5 January 2016 }}; Australian Government, Rural Industrial Research and Development Corporation


Overexploitation occurs when a resource is consumed at an unsustainable rate. This occurs on land in the form of overhunting, excessive logging, poor soil conservation in agriculture and the illegal wildlife trade.About 25% of world fisheries are now overfished to the point where their current biomass is less than the level that maximizes their sustainable yield.JOURNAL, Economics of Overexploitation Revisited, 2007, Grafton, R. Q., Kompas, T., Hilborn, R. W., Ray Hilborn, Science, 318, 5856, 1601, 2007Sci...318.1601G, 10.1126/science.1146017, 18063793, The overkill hypothesis, a pattern of large animal extinctions connected with human migration patterns, can be used explain why megafaunal extinctions can occur within a relatively short time period.JOURNAL, Burney, D. A., Flannery, T. F., Fifty millennia of catastrophic extinctions after human contact, Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 20, 7, 395–401, July 2005,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 10 June 2010, 10.1016/j.tree.2005.04.022, 16701402,

Hybridization, genetic pollution/erosion and food security

File:Wheat selection k10183-1.jpg|right|thumb|The Yecoro wheat (right) cultivarcultivar{{See also|Food security|Genetic erosion}}In agriculture and animal husbandry, the Green Revolution popularized the use of conventional hybridization to increase yield. Often hybridized breeds originated in developed countries and were further hybridized with local varieties in the developing world to create high yield strains resistant to local climate and diseases. Local governments and industry have been pushing hybridization. Formerly huge gene pools of various wild and indigenous breeds have collapsed causing widespread genetic erosion and genetic pollution. This has resulted in loss of genetic diversity and biodiversity as a whole."Genetic Pollution: The Great Genetic Scandal"; {{webarchive |url= |date=18 May 2009 }}Genetically modified organisms contain genetic material that is altered through genetic engineering. Genetically modified crops have become a common source for genetic pollution in not only wild varieties, but also in domesticated varieties derived from classical hybridization.NEWS, Pollan, Michael,weblink The year in ideas: A TO Z.; Genetic Pollution; By Michael Pollan, The New York Times, December 9, 2001, The New York Times, 2001-12-09, 2009-06-21, BOOK,weblink Dangerous Liaisons? When Cultivated Plants Mate with Their Wild Relatives, Nature Biotechnology, 22, 29–30, Norman C., Ellstrand, The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003, 978-0-8018-7405-5, 10.1038/nbt0104-29, Reviewed in JOURNAL, Hybrids abounding, Nature Biotechnology, 22, 29–30, 10.1038/nbt0104-29, Steven H, Strauss, Stephen P, DiFazio, 2004, 1, BOOK, A., Zaid, Glossary of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering, {{google books, y, UVzfAAAAMAAJ, |year=1999|publisher=Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations|isbn=978-92-5-104369-1|chapter=Genetic pollution: Uncontrolled spread of genetic information|issue=7 |accessdate=2009-06-21}}WEB,weblink Genetic pollution: Uncontrolled escape of genetic information (frequently referring to products of genetic engineering) into the genomes of organisms in the environment where those genes never existed before, Searchable Biotechnology Dictionary,weblink" title="">weblink 10 February 2008, University of Minnesota, WEB,weblink The many facets of pollution, Bologna University, 18 May 2012, Genetic erosion and genetic pollution have the potential to destroy unique genotypes, threatening future access to food security. A decrease in genetic diversity weakens the ability of crops and livestock to be hybridized to resist disease and survive changes in climate.

Climate change

File:Polar bears near north pole.jpg|thumb|right|Polar bears on the sea ice of the Arctic Ocean, near the North PoleNorth PoleGlobal warming is a major threat to global biodiversity.WEB, 2005,weblink Climate change and biodiversity, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 12 June 2012,weblink" title="">weblink 5 February 2018, dead, dmy-all, JOURNAL
, Kannan, R., James, D. A.
, Effects of climate change on global biodiversity: a review of key literature
, Tropical Ecology, 50, 1, 31–39
, 2009, 0564-3295
, 2014-05-21, For example, coral reefs – which are biodiversity hotspots – will be lost within the century if global warming continues at the current rate.WEB, Climate change, reefs and the Coral Triangle,weblink, 2015-11-09, NEWS, Caribbean coral reefs 'will be lost within 20 years' without protection,weblink the Guardian, 2015-11-09, Jessica, Aldred, 2014-07-02,
Climate change has proven to affect biodiversity and evidence supporting the altering effects is widespread. Increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide certainly affects plant morphologyJOURNAL, Ainsworth, Elizabeth A., Long, Stephen P., What have we learned from 15 years of free-air CO2 enrichment (FACE)? A meta-analytic review of the responses of photosynthesis, canopy properties and plant production to rising CO2, New Phytologist, 18 November 2004, 165, 2, 351–372, 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2004.01224.x, 15720649, and is acidifying oceans,JOURNAL, Doney, Scott C., Fabry, Victoria J., Feely, Richard A., Kleypas, Joan A., Ocean Acidification: The Other CO Problem, Annual Review of Marine Science, 1 January 2009, 1, 1, 169–192, 10.1146/annurev.marine.010908.163834, 21141034, 2009ARMS....1..169D, and temperature affects species ranges,JOURNAL, Loarie, Scott R., Duffy, Philip B., Hamilton, Healy, Asner, Gregory P., Field, Christopher B., Ackerly, David D., The velocity of climate change, Nature, 24 December 2009, 462, 7276, 1052–1055, 10.1038/nature08649, 2009Natur.462.1052L, 20033047, JOURNAL, Walther, Gian-Reto, Roques, Alain, Hulme, Philip E., Sykes, Martin T., Pyšek, Petr, Kühn, Ingolf; Zobel, Martin; Bacher, Sven; Botta-Dukát, Zoltán; Bugmann, Harald, Alien species in a warmer world: risks and opportunities, Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 1 December 2009, 24, 12, 686–693, 10.1016/j.tree.2009.06.008, 19712994,weblink BOOK, Thomas E., Lovejoy, Lee Jay, Hannah, Climate Change and Biodiversity, {{google books, y, 44j-dn2c1UEC, 41, |year=2005|publisher=Yale University Press|isbn=978-0-300-10425-7 |location=New Haven|pages=41–55}} phenology,JOURNAL, Hegland, Stein Joar, Nielsen, Anders, Lázaro, Amparo, Bjerknes, Anne-Line, Totland, Ørjan, How does climate warming affect plant-pollinator interactions?, Ecology Letters, 1 February 2009, 12, 2, 184–195, 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2008.01269.x, 19049509, and weather,JOURNAL, Min, Seung-Ki, Xuebin Zhang, Francis W. Zwiers, Gabriele C. Hegerl, Human contribution to more-intense precipitation extremes, Nature, 17 February 2011, 470, 7334, 378–381, 10.1038/nature09763, 2011Natur.470..378M, 21331039, but, mercifully, the major impacts that have been predicted are still potential futures. We have not documented major extinctions yet, even as climate change drastically alters the biology of many species.In 2004, an international collaborative study on four continents estimated that 10 percent of species would become extinct by 2050 because of global warming. "We need to limit climate change or we wind up with a lot of species in trouble, possibly extinct," said Dr. Lee Hannah, a co-author of the paper and chief climate change biologist at the Center for Applied Biodiversity Science at Conservation International.NEWS,weblink An unnatural disaster, 2004-01-08, 2009-06-21, London, Paul, Brown, The Guardian, A recent study predicts that up to 35% of the world terrestrial carnivores and ungulates will be at higher risk of extinction by 2050 because of the joint effects of predicted climate and land-use change under business-as-usual human development scenarios.JOURNAL, Visconti, Piero, etal, Projecting global biodiversity indicators under future development scenarios, Conservation Letters, 9, 5–13, February 2015, 10.1111/conl.12159, Climate change has advanced the time of evening when Brizillian free-tailed bats (Tadarida brasiliensis) emerge to feed. This change is believed to be related to the drying of regions as temperatures rise. This earlier emergence exposes the bats to greater predation increased competition with other insectivores who feed in the twilight or daylight hours.Frick, W. F.|Stepanian, P. M., Kelly |J. F., Howard |K. W., Kuster |C. M. |Kunz T. H. |& Chilson |P. B. (2012, August 2) |Climate and Weather Impact Timing of Emergence of Bats |Retrieved fromweblink

Human overpopulation

The world's population numbered nearly 7.6 billion as of mid-2017 (which is approximately one billion more inhabitants compared to 2005) and is forecast to reach 11.1 billion in 2100.WEB,weblink World Population Prospects 2017, Sir David King, former chief scientific adviser to the UK government, told a parliamentary inquiry: "It is self-evident that the massive growth in the human population through the 20th century has had more impact on biodiversity than any other single factor.""Citizens arrest". The Guardian. 11 July 2007."Population Bomb Author's Fix For Next Extinction: Educate Women". Scientific American. 12 August 2008. At least until the middle of the 21st century, worldwide losses of pristine biodiverse land will probably depend much on the worldwide human birth rate.JOURNAL, Dumont, E., 2012, Estimated impact of global population growth on future wilderness extent.,weblink Earth System Dynamics Discussions, 3, 1, 433–452, 10.5194/esdd-3-433-2012, 2012ESDD....3..433D, Biologists such as Paul R. Ehrlich and Stuart Pimm have noted that human population growth and overconsumption are the main drivers of species extinction.JOURNAL, Pimm, S. L., Jenkins, C. N., Abell, R., Brooks, T. M., Gittleman, J. L., Joppa, L. N., Raven, P. H., Roberts, C. M., Sexton, J. O., 30 May 2014, The biodiversity of species and their rates of extinction, distribution, and protection,weblink Science (journal), Science, 344, 6187, 1246752, 10.1126/science.1246752, 15 December 2016, The overarching driver of species extinction is human population growth and increasing per capita consumption., 24876501, WEB,weblink How to stop the sixth mass extinction, John D., Sutter, 12 December 2016, CNN, 1 January 2017, NEWS, Graham, Chris, 11 July 2017, Earth undergoing sixth 'mass extinction' as humans spur 'biological annihilation' of wildlife,weblink The Telegraph, 25 July 2017, According to a 2014 study by the World Wildlife Fund, the global human population already exceeds planet's biocapacity – it would take the equivalent of 1.5 Earths of biocapacity to meet our current demands.NEWS, Carrington, Damian,weblink Earth has lost half of its wildlife in the past 40 years, says WWF, The Guardian, 30 September 2014, 20 January 2017, The report further points that if everyone on the planet had the Footprint of the average resident of Qatar, we would need 4.8 Earths and if we lived the lifestyle of a typical resident of the US, we would need 3.9 Earths.

The Holocene extinction

Rates of decline in biodiversity in this sixth mass extinction match or exceed rates of loss in the five previous mass extinction events in the fossil record.JOURNAL, Dirzo, Rodolfo, Hillary S. Young, Mauro Galetti, Gerardo Ceballos, Nick J. B. Isaac, Ben Collen, Defaunation in the Anthropocene, Science (journal), Science, 2014, 10.1126/science.1251817, 25061202, 345, 6195, 401–406,weblink In the past 500 years, humans have triggered a wave of extinction, threat, and local population declines that may be comparable in both rate and magnitude with the five previous mass extinctions of Earth’s history., 2014Sci...345..401D, JOURNAL, 15361627, 2004, Koh, LP, Dunn, RR, Sodhi, NS, Colwell, RK, Proctor, HC, Smith, VS, Species coextinctions and the biodiversity crisis, 305, 5690, 1632–1634, 10.1126/science.1101101, Science,weblink 2004Sci...305.1632K, {{dead link|date=May 2011}}JOURNAL, 10.1670/0022-1511(2007)41[483:ADOECD]2.0.CO;2, McCallum M. L., 2007, Amphibian Decline or Extinction? Current Declines Dwarf Background Extinction Rate,weblinkweblink dead, 2008-12-17, Journal of Herpetology, 41, 3, 483–491, 0022-1511, JOURNAL, 10.1073/pnas.0802812105, Colloquium Paper: Ecological extinction and evolution in the brave new ocean, 2008, Jackson, J. B. C., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105, 11458–11465, 18695220, 2556419, 2008PNAS..10511458J, JOURNAL, 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2005.00078.x, Dunn R. R., 2005, Modern Insect Extinctions, the Neglected Majority,weblink Conservation Biology, 19, 4, 1030–1036, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 8 July 2009, JOURNAL, Ceballos, Gerardo, Ehrlich, Paul R., Barnosky, Anthony D., Anthony David Barnosky, García, Andrés, Pringle, Robert M., Palmer, Todd M., 2015, Accelerated modern human–induced species losses: Entering the sixth mass extinction, Science Advances, 1, 5, e1400253, 10.1126/sciadv.1400253, 26601195, 4640606, 2015SciA....1E0253C, Loss of biodiversity results in the loss of natural capital that supplies ecosystem goods and services. From the perspective of the method known as Natural Economy the economic value of 17 ecosystem services for Earth's biosphere (calculated in 1997) has an estimated value of US$33 trillion (3.3x1013) per year.JOURNAL, 10.1038/387253a0, Costanza, R., d'Arge, R., de Groot, R., Farberk, S., Grasso, M., Hannon, B., Limburg, Karin, Naeem, Shahid, O'Neill, Robert V., The value of the world's ecosystem services and natural capital, Nature, 387, 253–260, 1997,weblink 6630, 1997Natur.387..253C, 8, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 26 December 2009, In 2019, a summary for policymakers of the largest, most comprehensive study to date of biodiversity and ecosystem services, the Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, was published by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. The report was finalised in Paris. The main conclusions:1. Over the last 50 years, the state of nature has deteriorated at an unprecedented and accelerating rate.2. The main drivers of this deterioration have been changes in land and sea use, exploitation of living beings, climate change, pollution and invasive species. These five drivers, in turn, are caused by societal behaviors, from consumption to governance.3. Damage to ecosystems undermines 35 of 44 selected UN targets, including the UN General Assembly's Sustainable Development Goals for poverty, hunger, health, water, cities' climate, oceans and land. It can cause problems with food, water and humanity's air supply.4. To fix the problem, humanity will need a transformative change, including sustainable agriculture, reductions in consumption and waste, fishing quotas and collaborative water management. In page 8 the report propose in page 8 of the summary " enabling visions of a good quality of life that do not entail ever-increasing material consumption" as one of the main measures. The report states that "Some pathways chosen to achieve the goals related to energy, economic growth, industry and infrastructure and sustainable consumption and production (Sustainable Development Goals 7, 8, 9 and 12), as well as targets related to poverty, food security and cities (Sustainable Development Goals 1, 2 and 11), could have substantial positive or negative impacts on nature and therefore on the achievement of other Sustainable Development Goals"BOOK, Summary for policymakers of the global assessment report on biodiversity and ecosystem services of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, 6 May 2019, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services,weblink 10 May 2019, NEWS, Deutsche Welle, Deutsche, Why Biodiversity Loss Hurts Humans as Much as Climate Change Does,weblink 10 May 2019, Ecowatch, May 6, 2019,


(File:MEAConservationStrategies.jpg|thumb|A schematic image illustrating the relationship between biodiversity, ecosystem services, human well-being and poverty.Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005). World Resources Institute, Washington, DC. Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Biodiversity Synthesis The illustration shows where conservation action, strategies and plans can influence the drivers of the current biodiversity crisis at local, regional, to global scales.)File:Gletscherschmelze.jpg|thumb|right|upright=1.35|The retreat of Aletsch Glacier in the Swiss Alps (situation in 1979, 1991 and 2002), due to global warmingglobal warmingConservation biology matured in the mid-20th century as ecologists, naturalists and other scientists began to research and address issues pertaining to global biodiversity declines.JOURNAL, 10.2307/1310054, 1986, Soulé, Michael E., What is conservation biology?, BioScience, 35, 11, 727–734, 1310054,, BOOK, Peter, Davis, Museums and the natural environment: the role of natural history museums in biological conservation, {{google books, y, 3pLtAAAAMAAJ, |year=1996|publisher=Leicester University Press|isbn=978-0-7185-1548-5}}BOOK, Fred Van, Dyke, Conservation Biology: Foundations, Concepts, Applications, {{google books, y, Evh1UD3ZYWcC, |date=29 February 2008|publisher=Springer Science & Business Media|isbn=978-1-4020-6890-4}}The conservation ethic advocates management of natural resources for the purpose of sustaining biodiversity in species, ecosystems, the evolutionary process and human culture and society.JOURNAL, 10.1073/pnas.0801921105, Wake D. B., Vredenburg V. T., 2008, Are we in the midst of the sixth mass extinction? A view from the world of amphibians,weblink Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 105, 11466–11473, 18695221, 2556420, 2008PNAS..10511466W, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 19 August 2012, dmy-all, BOOK, Malcolm L., Hunter, Fundamentals of Conservation Biology, {{google books, y, 5f2wQgAACAAJ, |year=1996|publisher=Blackwell Science|isbn=978-0-86542-371-8}}JOURNAL, Bowen, B. W., 1999, Preserving genes, species, or ecosystems? Healing the fractured foundations of conservation policy, Molecular Ecology, 8, S5–S10, 10.1046/j.1365-294x.1999.00798.x, Conservation biology is reforming around strategic plans to protect biodiversity.BOOK, Michael E., Soulé, Conservation Biology: The Science of Scarcity and Diversity, {{google books, y, Qi1jUut7JL8C, |date=1 January 1986|publisher=Sinauer Associates|isbn=978-0-87893-794-3}}JOURNAL, 10.1038/35012251, Margules C. R., Pressey R. L., 2000, Systematic conservation planning,weblink Nature, 405, 6783, 243–253, 10821285, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 5 February 2009, dmy-all, Preserving global biodiversity is a priority in strategic conservation plans that are designed to engage public policy and concerns affecting local, regional and global scales of communities, ecosystems and cultures.Example: Gascon, C., Collins, J. P., Moore, R. D., Church, D. R., McKay, J. E. and Mendelson, J. R. III (eds) (2007). Amphibian Conservation Action Plan. IUCN/SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. 64pp. {{webarchive|url= |date=4 July 2007 }}, see also, {{webarchive|url= |date=12 February 2009 }} Action plans identify ways of sustaining human well-being, employing natural capital, market capital and ecosystem services.JOURNAL, 10.1016/S0169-5347(03)00100-9, Population diversity and ecosystem services, 2003, Luck, Gary W., Daily, Gretchen C., Ehrlich, Paul R., Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 18, 7, 331–336,weblink dead,weblink" title="">weblink 19 February 2006,, {{webarchive |url= |date=13 August 2015 }}In the EU Directive 1999/22/EC zoos are described as having a role in the preservation of the biodiversity of wildlife animals by conducting research or participation in breeding programs.WEB,weblink Beantwoording vragen over fokken en doden van gezonde dieren in dierentuinen, Ministry of Economic Affairs (Netherlands), 25 March 2014, 9 June 2014, nl,weblink" title="">weblink 14 July 2014, dead, dmy-all,

Protection and restoration techniques

Removal of exotic species will allow the species that they have negatively impacted to recover their ecological niches. Exotic species that have become pests can be identified taxonomically (e.g., with Digital Automated Identification SYstem (DAISY), using the barcode of life).WEB,weblink Barcode of Life,, 2010-05-26, 2011-09-24, WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink dead, Earth Times: show/303405,…, 1 August 2012, 1 August 2012, Removal is practical only given large groups of individuals due to the economic cost.As sustainable populations of the remaining native species in an area become assured, "missing" species that are candidates for reintroduction can be identified using databases such as the Encyclopedia of Life and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility.
  • Biodiversity banking places a monetary value on biodiversity. One example is the Australian Native Vegetation Management Framework.
  • Gene banks are collections of specimens and genetic material. Some banks intend to reintroduce banked species to the ecosystem (e.g., via tree nurseries).WEB,weblink Belgium creating 45 "seed gardens"; gene banks with intent to reintroduction,, 2011-09-08, 2011-09-24,
  • Reduction and better targeting of pesticides allows more species to survive in agricultural and urbanized areas.
  • Location-specific approaches may be less useful for protecting migratory species. One approach is to create wildlife corridors that correspond to the animals' movements. National and other boundaries can complicate corridor creation.{{Citation needed|date=September 2010}}

Protected areas

{{Unreferenced section|date=April 2016}}Protected areas are meant for affording protection to wild animals and their habitat which also includes forest reserves and biosphere reserves.BOOK,weblink Protected Areas and Biodiversity: An Overview of Key Issues, Mulongoy, Kalemani Jo, Chape, Stuart, CBD Secretariat and UNEP-WCMC, 2004, Montreal, Canada and Cambridge, UK, 15 and 25, Protected areas have been set up all over the world with the specific aim of protecting and conserving plants and animals. Some scientists have called on the global community to designate as protected areas of 30 percent of the planet by 2030, and 50 percent by 2050, in order to mitigate biodiversity loss from anthropogenic causes.JOURNAL, Baillie, Jonathan, Ya-Ping, Zhang, September 14, 2018, Space for nature, Science (journal), Science, 361, 6407, 1051, 10.1126/science.aau1397, 30213888, 2018Sci...361.1051B,

National parks

National park and nature reserve is the area selected by governments or private organizations for special protection against damage or degradation with the objective of biodiversity and landscape conservation. National parks are usually owned and managed by national or state governments. A limit is placed on the number of visitors permitted to enter certain fragile areas. Designated trails or roads are created. The visitors are allowed to enter only for study, cultural and recreation purposes. Forestry operations, grazing of animals and hunting of animals are regulated. Exploitation of habitat or wildlife is banned.

Wildlife sanctuary

Wildlife sanctuaries aim only at conservation of species and have the following features:
  1. The boundaries of the sanctuaries are not limited by state legislation.
  2. The killing, hunting or capturing of any species is prohibited except by or under the control of the highest authority in the department which is responsible for the management of the sanctuary.
  3. Private ownership may be allowed.
  4. Forestry and other usages can also be permitted.

Forest reserves

The forests play a vital role in harbouring more than 45,000 floral and 81,000 faunal species of which 5150 floral and 1837 faunal species are endemic.{{citation needed|date=February 2018}} Plant and animal species confined to a specific geographical area are called endemic species. In reserved forests, rights to activities like hunting and grazing are sometimes given to communities living on the fringes of the forest, who sustain their livelihood partially or wholly from forest resources or products. The unclassed forests covers 6.4 percent of the total forest area and they are marked by the following characteristics:
  1. They are large inaccessible forests.
  2. Many of these are unoccupied.
  3. They are ecologically and economically less important.

Steps to conserve the forest cover

{{see|forest cover}}
  1. An extensive reforestation/afforestation programme should be followed.
  2. Alternative environment-friendly sources of fuel energy such as biogas other than wood should be used.
  3. Loss of biodiversity due to forest fire is a major problem, immediate steps to prevent forest fire need to be taken.
  4. Overgrazing by cattle can damage a forest seriously. Therefore, certain steps should be taken to prevent overgrazing by cattle.
  5. Hunting and poaching should be banned.

Zoological parks

In zoological parks or zoos, live animals are kept for public recreation, education and conservation purposes. Modern zoos offer veterinary facilities, provide opportunities for threatened species to breed in captivity and usually build environments that simulate the native habitats of the animals in their care. Zoos play a major role in creating awareness about the need to conserve nature.

Botanical gardens

In botanical gardens, plants are grown and displayed primarily for scientific and educational purposes. They consist of a collection of living plants, grown outdoors or under glass in greenhouses and conservatories. In addition, a botanical garden may include a collection of dried plants or herbarium and such facilities as lecture rooms, laboratories, libraries, museums and experimental or research plantings.

Resource allocation

Focusing on limited areas of higher potential biodiversity promises greater immediate return on investment than spreading resources evenly or focusing on areas of little diversity but greater interest in biodiversity.Conservationists Use Triage to Determine which Species to Save and Not; Like battlefield medics, conservationists are being forced to explicitly apply triage to determine which creatures to save and which to let go 23 July 2012 Scientific American.A second strategy focuses on areas that retain most of their original diversity, which typically require little or no restoration. These are typically non-urbanized, non-agricultural areas. Tropical areas often fit both criteria, given their natively high diversity and relative lack of development.JOURNAL, Jones-Walters, L., Mulder, I., 10.1016/j.jnc.2009.06.001, Valuing nature: The economics of biodiversity, Journal for Nature Conservation, 17, 4, 245–247, 2009,weblink

Legal status

File:Hopetoun falls.jpg|thumb|right|A great deal of work is occurring to preserve the natural characteristics of Hopetoun Falls, AustraliaAustralia


Global agreements such as the Convention on Biological Diversity, give "sovereign national rights over biological resources" (not property). The agreements commit countries to "conserve biodiversity", "develop resources for sustainability" and "share the benefits" resulting from their use. Biodiverse countries that allow bioprospecting or collection of natural products, expect a share of the benefits rather than allowing the individual or institution that discovers/exploits the resource to capture them privately. Bioprospecting can become a type of biopiracy when such principles are not respected.{{Citation needed|date=December 2010}}Sovereignty principles can rely upon what is better known as Access and Benefit Sharing Agreements (ABAs). The Convention on Biodiversity implies informed consent between the source country and the collector, to establish which resource will be used and for what and to settle on a fair agreement on benefit sharing.

National level laws

Biodiversity is taken into account in some political and judicial decisions:
  • The relationship between law and ecosystems is very ancient and has consequences for biodiversity. It is related to private and public property rights. It can define protection for threatened ecosystems, but also some rights and duties (for example, fishing and hunting rights).{{Citation needed|date=December 2010}}
  • Law regarding species is more recent. It defines species that must be protected because they may be threatened by extinction. The U.S. Endangered Species Act is an example of an attempt to address the "law and species" issue.
  • Laws regarding gene pools are only about a century old.{{Citation needed|date=October 2008}} Domestication and plant breeding methods are not new, but advances in genetic engineering have led to tighter laws covering distribution of genetically modified organisms, gene patents and process patents.WEB,weblink Gene Patenting,, 2009-06-21, Governments struggle to decide whether to focus on for example, genes, genomes, or organisms and species.{{citation needed|date=September 2010}}
Uniform approval for use of biodiversity as a legal standard has not been achieved, however. Bosselman argues that biodiversity should not be used as a legal standard, claiming that the remaining areas of scientific uncertainty cause unacceptable administrative waste and increase litigation without promoting preservation goals.WEB,weblink Fred Bosselman, A Dozen Biodiversity Puzzles, 12 N.Y.U. Environmental Law Journal 364 (2004), 2011-09-24, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 20 July 2011, India passed the Biological Diversity Act in 2002 for the conservation of biological diversity in India. The Act also provides mechanisms for equitable sharing of benefits from the use of traditional biological resources and knowledge.

Analytical limits

Taxonomic and size relationships

Less than 1% of all species that have been described have been studied beyond simply noting their existence.JOURNAL, 10.1046/j.1523-1739.2000.00000-e1.x, Wilson Edward O, 2000, On the Future of Conservation Biology, Conservation Biology, 14, 1, 1–3, The vast majority of Earth's species are microbial. Contemporary biodiversity physics is "firmly fixated on the visible [macroscopic] world".JOURNAL, 10.1038/429804a, Nee S, 2004, More than meets the eye, Nature, 429, 6994, 804–805, 15215837, 2004Natur.429..804N, For example, microbial life is metabolically and environmentally more diverse than multicellular life (see e.g., extremophile). "On the tree of life, based on analyses of small-subunit ribosomal RNA, visible life consists of barely noticeable twigs. The inverse relationship of size and population recurs higher on the evolutionary ladder—to a first approximation, all multicellular species on Earth are insects".JOURNAL, 10.1038/448657a, 2007Natur.448..657S, Biodiversity: World of insects, 2007, Stork, Nigel E., Nature, 448, 7154, 657–658, 17687315, Insect extinction rates are high—supporting the Holocene extinction hypothesis.JOURNAL, 10.1126/science.1095046, Thomas J. A., 2004, Comparative Losses of British Butterflies, Birds, and Plants and the Global Extinction Crisis,weblink Science, 303, 5665, 1879–1881, 15031508, 2004Sci...303.1879T, Telfer M. G., Roy D. B., Preston C. D., Greenwood J. J. D., Asher J., Fox R., Clarke R. T., Lawton J. H., JOURNAL, 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2005.00078.x, Modern Insect Extinctions, the Neglected Majority, 2005, Dunn, Robert R., Conservation Biology, 19, 4, 1030–1036,

Diversity study (botany)

The number of morphological attributes that can be scored for diversity study is generally limited and prone to environmental influences; thereby reducing the fine resolution required to ascertain the phylogenetic relationships. DNA based markers- microsatellites otherwise known as simple sequence repeats (SSR) were therefore used for the diversity studies of certain species and their wild relatives.In the case of cowpea, a study conducted to assess the level of genetic diversity in cowpea germplasm and related wide species, where the relatedness among various taxa were compared, primers useful for classification of taxa identified, and the origin and phylogeny of cultivated cowpea classified show that SSR markers are useful in validating with species classification and revealing the center of diversity.JOURNAL, Ogunkanmi, Liasu Adebayo, Genetic diversity of cowpea and its wild relatives, Unilag SPGS (Thesis & Dissertation 1970-2012), 144–145,

See also



Further reading

  • BOOK, Simon A., Levin, Encyclopedia of Biodiversity, {{google books, y, z-cBnwEACAAJ, |year=2013|publisher=ACADEMIC PressINC|isbn=978-0-12-384719-5}}
  • BOOK, Christian, Lévêque, Jean-Claude, Mounolou, Biodiversity, {{google books, y, ZFZqeeltG7QC, |date=16 January 2004|publisher=Wiley|isbn=978-0-470-84957-6}}
  • BOOK, Lynn, Margulis, Karlene V., Schwartz, Michael, Dolan, Diversity of Life: The Illustrated Guide to the Five Kingdoms, {{google books, y, 8wJXWBMsEOkC, |year=1999|publisher= Jones & Bartlett Publishers|isbn=978-0-7637-0862-7 |author-link1=Margulis, L.|location=Sudbury}}
  • JOURNAL, Markov, A. V., Korotayev, A. V., 10.1016/j.palwor.2007.01.002, Phanerozoic marine biodiversity follows a hyperbolic trend, Palaeoworld, 16, 4, 311–318, 2007,
  • JOURNAL, Moustakas, A., Karakassis, I., 10.1007/s00477-008-0254-2, A geographic analysis of the published aquatic biodiversity research in relation to the ecological footprint of the country where the work was done, Stochastic Environmental Research and Risk Assessment, 23, 6, 737–748, 2008,
  • BOOK, Michael J., Novacek, The Biodiversity Crisis: Losing what Counts, {{google books, y, MIV9QgAACAAJ, |year=2001|publisher=New Press|isbn=978-1-56584-570-1}}
  • weblink" title="">D+C-Interview with Achim Steiner, UNEP: "Our generation's responsibility"
  • JOURNAL, Mora, C., Tittensor, D. P., Adl, S., Simpson, A. G. B., Worm, B., Mace, Georgina M, How Many Species Are There on Earth and in the Ocean?, 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001127, PLoS Biology, 9, 8, e1001127, 2011, 21886479, 3160336,
  • JOURNAL, Pereira, H. M., Navarro, L. M., Martins, I. S. S., Global Biodiversity Change: The Bad, the Good, and the Unknown, 10.1146/annurev-environ-042911-093511, Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 37, 25–50, 2012,
  • JOURNAL, Ripple WJ, Wolf C, Newsome TM, Galetti M, Alamgir M, Crist E, Mahmoud MI, Laurance WF, World Scientists' Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice, BioScience, 2017, 67, 12, 1026–1028, 10.1093/biosci/bix125,
  • BOOK, Wilson, E. O., 2016, Half-Earth: Our Planet's Fight for Life, Liveright, 978-1-63149-082-8, E. O. Wilson, Half-Earth,

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