Biodiversity, a portmanteau of "bio" (life) and "diversity", generally
refers to the variety and variability of life on Earth. According to
United Nations Environment Programme
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), biodiversity
typically measures variation at the genetic, the species, and the
ecosystem level. Terrestrial biodiversity tends to be greater near
the equator, which seems to be the result of the warm climate and
high primary productivity.
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. Marine biodiversity tends
to be 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. Biodiversity
generally tends to cluster in hotspots, and has been increasing
through time, but will be likely to slow in the future.
Rapid environmental changes typically cause mass
extinctions. More than 99.9 percent of all species that
ever lived on Earth, amounting to over five billion species, are
estimated to be extinct. Estimates on the number of Earth's
current species range from 10 million to 14 million, of which
about 1.2 million have been documented and over 86 percent have not
yet been described. More recently, in May 2016, scientists
reported that 1 trillion species are estimated to be on Earth
currently with only one-thousandth of one percent described. The
total amount of related
DNA base pairs on
Earth is estimated at 5.0 x
1037 and weighs 50 billion tonnes. In comparison, the total mass
of the biosphere has been estimated to be as much as 4 TtC (trillion
tons of carbon). In July 2016, scientists reported identifying a
set of 355 genes from the
Last Universal Common Ancestor
Last Universal Common Ancestor (LUCA) of all
organisms living on Earth.
The age of the
Earth is about 4.54 billion years. The
earliest undisputed evidence of life on
Earth dates at least from 3.5
billion years ago, 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. Other early physical evidence of a biogenic
substance is graphite in 3.7 billion-year-old meta-sedimentary rocks
discovered in Western Greenland. More recently, in 2015, "remains
of biotic life" were found in 4.1 billion-year-old rocks in Western
Australia. According to one of the researchers, "If life arose
relatively quickly on
Earth .. then it could be common in the
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. 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. The
Permian–Triassic extinction event, 251 million years ago, was
the worst; vertebrate recovery took 30 million years. 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 dinosaurs.
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. Conversely,
biodiversity positively impacts human health in a number of ways,
although a few negative effects are studied.
United Nations designated 2011–2020 as the
United Nations Decade
3.1 Latitudinal gradients
Evolution and history
4.1 Evolutionary diversification
5.1 The balance of evidence
5.1.1 Services enhanced
188.8.131.52 Provisioning services
184.108.40.206 Regulating services
5.1.2 Services with mixed evidence
220.127.116.11 Provisioning services
18.104.22.168 Regulating services
5.1.3 Services hindered
22.214.171.124 Provisioning services
126.96.36.199 Regulating services
188.8.131.52 Provisioning services
184.108.40.206 Regulating services
5.4 Business and industry
5.5 Leisure, cultural and aesthetic value
5.6 Ecological services
6 Number of species
7 Measuring biodiversity
Species loss rates
9.2 Introduced and invasive species
9.2.1 Genetic pollution
9.4 Hybridization, genetic pollution/erosion and food security
10 The Holocene extinction
11.1 Protection and restoration techniques
12 Protected areas
12.1 National parks
12.3.1 Steps to conserve the forest cover
12.4 Zoological parks
12.5 Botanical gardens
14 Legal status
14.2 National level laws
15 Analytical limits
Taxonomic and size relationships
16 Diversity study (botany)
17 See also
19 Further reading
20 External links
The term biological diversity was used first by wildlife scientist and
conservationist Raymond F. Dasmann in the year 1968 lay book A
Different Kind of Country advocating conservation. The term was
widely adopted only after more than a decade, when in the 1980s it
came into common usage in science and environmental policy. Thomas
Lovejoy, in the foreword to the book Conservation Biology,
introduced the term to the scientific community. Until then the term
"natural diversity" was common, introduced by The Science Division of
The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy in an important 1975 study, "The Preservation
of Natural Diversity." By the early 1980s TNC's Science program and
its head, Robert E. Jenkins, Lovejoy and other leading
conservation scientists at the time in America advocated the use of
the term "biological diversity".
The term's contracted form biodiversity may have been coined by W.G.
Rosen in 1985 while planning the 1986 National Forum on Biological
Diversity organized by the National Research Council (NRC). It first
appeared in a publication in 1988 when sociobiologist E. O. Wilson
used it as the title of the proceedings of that forum.
Since this period the term has achieved widespread use among
biologists, environmentalists, political leaders and concerned
A similar term in the United States is "natural heritage." It
pre-dates the others and is more accepted by the wider audience
interested in conservation. Broader than biodiversity, it includes
geology and landforms.
"Biodiversity" is most commonly used to replace the more clearly
defined and long established terms, species diversity and species
richness. Biologists most often define biodiversity as the "totality
of genes, species and ecosystems of a region". 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
taxonomic diversity (usually measured at the species diversity level)
ecological diversity (often viewed from the perspective of ecosystem
morphological diversity (which stems from genetic diversity and
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.))
This multilevel construct is consistent with Datman and Lovejoy. 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 forms...at all levels of
biological systems (i.e., molecular, organismic, population, species
and ecosystem)...". The 1992
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". This definition is used in the United Nations
Convention on Biological Diversity.
One textbook's definition is "variation of life at all levels of
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.
Measuring diversity at one level in a group of organisms may not
precisely correspond to diversity at other levels. However, tetrapod
(terrestrial vertebrates) taxonomic and ecological diversity shows a
very close correlation.
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
Cape Floristic Region and lower in polar
Rain forests that have had wet climates for a long
time, such as Yasuní National Park in Ecuador, have particularly high
Terrestrial biodiversity is thought to be up to 25 times greater than
ocean biodiversity. A recently discovered method put the total
number of species on
Earth at 8.7 million, of which 2.1 million were
estimated to live in the ocean. However, this estimate seems to
under-represent the diversity of microorganisms.
Main article: Latitudinal gradients in species diversity
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
mechanisms 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.
Even though terrestrial biodiversity declines from the equator to the
poles, some studies claim that this characteristic is unverified
in aquatic ecosystems, especially in marine ecosystems. The
latitudinal distribution of parasites does not appear to follow this
In 2016, an alternative hypothesis ("the fractal biodiversity") was
proposed to explain the biodiversity latitudinal gradient. 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 has experienced great habitat loss. The term hotspot
was introduced in 1988 by Norman Myers. While hotspots
are spread all over the world, the majority are forest areas and most
are located in the tropics.
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.
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
Madagascar dry deciduous forests and lowland
rainforests possess a high ratio of endemism.
Since the island separated from mainland
Africa 66 million years ago,
many species and ecosystems have evolved independently.[citation
needed] Indonesia's 17,000 islands cover 735,355 square miles
(1,904,560 km2) 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. 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.
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
Evolution and history
Main article: Evolution
Apparent marine fossil diversity during the Phanerozoic
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. 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., 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.
Diversity appears to increase continually in the absence of natural
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.
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. 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
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. It has been argued that the present rate of
extinction is sufficient to eliminate most species on the planet Earth
within 100 years.
With the Biodiversity-related Niches Differentiation Theory, Roberto
Cazzolla Gatti recently proposed that species themselves are the
architects of biodiversity, by proportionally increasing the number of
potentially available niches in a given ecosystem. This study led
to the idea that biodiversity is autocatalytic. 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.
Summer field in
Belgium (Hamois). The blue flowers are Centaurea
cyanus and the red are Papaver rhoeas.
Main article: ecosystem services
The balance of evidence
Ecosystem services are the suite of benefits that ecosystems provide
to humanity." 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.
These services come in three flavors:
Provisioning services which involve the production of renewable
resources (e.g.: food, wood, fresh water)
Regulating services which are those that lessen environmental change
(e.g.: climate regulation, pest/disease control)
Cultural services represent human value and enjoyment (e.g.: landscape
aesthetics, cultural heritage, outdoor recreation and spiritual
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.
Greater species diversity
of plants increases fodder yield (synthesis of 271 experimental
of plants (i.e.: diversity within a single species) increases overall
crop yield (synthesis of 575 experimental studies). Although
another review of 100 experimental studies reports mixed evidence.
of trees increases overall wood production (Synthesis of 53
experimental studies). However, there is not enough data to draw a
conclusion about the effect of tree trait diversity on wood
Greater species diversity
of fish increases the stability of fisheries yield (Synthesis of 8
of natural pest enemies decreases herbivorous pest populations (Data
from two separate reviews; Synthesis of 266 experimental and
observational studies; Synthesis of 18 observational
studies. 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 effective
of plants decreases disease prevalence on plants (Synthesis of 107
of plants increases resistance to plant invasion (Data from two
separate reviews; Synthesis of 105 experimental studies; Synthesis
of 15 experimental studies)
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
of plants increases soil organic matter (Synthesis of 85 experimental
Services with mixed evidence
None to date
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; Synthesis of 100 experimental
studies). One review found mixed evidence (Synthesis of 287
experimental studies), 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), 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. 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
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
Greater species diversity of plants reduces primary production
(Synthesis of 7 experimental studies)
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
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)
Effect of species diversity on the stability of biofuel yield (In a
survey of the literature, the investigators did not find any
Effect of species diversity of plants on the stability of fodder yield
(In a survey of the literature, the investigators only found 2
Effect of species diversity of plants on the stability of crop yield
(In a survey of the literature, the investigators only found 1
Effect of genetic diversity of plants on the stability of crop yield
(In a survey of the literature, the investigators only found 2
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.
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
Biodiversity also affords many non-material benefits
including spiritual and aesthetic values, knowledge systems and
See also: Agricultural biodiversity
Amazon Rainforest in South America
Agricultural 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. we 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).
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
India in the 1970s, 6,273 varieties were tested for resistance.
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,
Central America in 1970. A resistant variety was found in
Ethiopia. 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
Although about 80 percent of humans' food supply comes from just 20
kinds of plants, humans use at least 40,000
species. Many people depend on these species for
food, shelter and clothing. 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.
The diverse forest canopy on Barro Colorado Island, Panama, yielded
this display of different fruit
Biodiversity's relevance to human health is becoming an international
political issue, as scientific evidence builds on the global health
implications of biodiversity loss.  This issue is
closely linked with the issue of climate change, 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.
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.
While the distribution of clean water increases, in some parts of the
world it remains unequal. According to 2008 World
Sheet, only 62% of least developed countries are able to access clean
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.
Biodiversity is also known to have an important role in reducing
disaster risk and in post-disaster relief and recovery
Biodiversity provides critical support for drug discovery and the
availability of medicinal resources. 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 micro-organisms,
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; meanwhile, natural products have a long
history of supporting significant economic and health
Marine ecosystems are particularly
important, although inappropriate bioprospecting can increase
biodiversity loss, as well as violating the laws of the communities
and states from which the resources are taken.
Business and industry
Agriculture production, pictured is a tractor and a chaser bin
Many 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. As a result,
biodiversity loss is a significant risk factor in business development
and a threat to long term economic sustainability.
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.
See also: Ecological effects of biodiversity
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
It plays a part in regulating the chemistry of our atmosphere and
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; for example insect pollination
cannot be mimicked, though there have been attempts to create
artificial pollinators using unmanned aerial vehicles. The
economic activity of pollination alone represented between $2.1-14.6
billions in 2003.
Number of species
Main article: Global biodiversity
Discovered and predicted total number of species on land and in the
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. Other
220,000 vascular plants, estimated using the species-area relation
0.7-1 million marine species
10–30 million insects; (of some 0.9 million we know today)
5–10 million bacteria;
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. Some 0.075 million species of fungi had been
documented by 2001)
1 million mites
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. The findings may eventually cause a
significant change in the way science defines species and other
Since the rate of extinction has increased, many extant species may
become extinct before they are described. Not surprisingly, in
the animalia the most studied groups are birds and mammals, whereas
fishes and arthropods are the least studied animals groups.
Main articles: diversity index and measurement of biodiversity
Species loss rates
Further information: Loss of biodiversity
No longer do we have to justify the existence of humid tropical
forests on the feeble grounds that they might carry plants with drugs
that cure human disease. Gaia theory forces us to see that they offer
much more than this. Through their capacity to evapotranspirate vast
volumes of water vapor, they serve to keep the planet cool by wearing
a sunshade of white reflecting cloud. Their replacement by cropland
could precipitate a disaster that is global in scale.
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. Of these, about one eighth of known plant
species are threatened with extinction. Estimates reach as high
as 140,000 species per year (based on Species-area theory). This
figure indicates unsustainable ecological practices, because few
species emerge each year. 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
In absolute terms, the planet has lost 52% of its biodiversity since
1970 according to a 2014 study by the 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.
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
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
Jared Diamond describes an "Evil Quartet" of habitat destruction,
overkill, introduced species and secondary extinctions. Edward O.
Wilson prefers the acronym HIPPO, standing for
Invasive species, Pollution, human over-
Over-harvesting. The most authoritative classification in
use today is IUCN's Classification of Direct Threats which has
been adopted by major international conservation organizations such as
the US Nature Conservancy, the World
Wildlife Fund, Conservation
International and Bird
Deforestation and increased road-building in the
Amazon Rainforest are
a significant concern because of increased human encroachment upon
wild areas, increased resource extraction and further threats to
Habitat destruction has played a key role in extinctions, especially
related to tropical forest destruction. Factors contributing to
habitat loss are: overconsumption, overpopulation, land use change,
deforestation, pollution (air pollution, water pollution, soil
contamination) and global warming or climate change.
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. Conversion to "trivial" standardized ecosystems (e.g.,
monoculture following deforestation) effectively destroys habitat for
the more diverse species that preceded the conversion. 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).
A 2007 study conducted by the
National Science Foundation
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." At present,
the most threatened ecosystems are found in fresh water, according to
Ecosystem Assessment 2005, which was confirmed by the
Animal Diversity Assessment", organised by the
biodiversity platform and the French Institut de recherche pour le
Co-extinctions are a form of habitat destruction. Co-extinction occurs
when the extinction or decline in one accompanies the other, such as
in plants and beetles.
Introduced and invasive species
Introduced species and Invasive species
Male Lophura nycthemera (silver pheasant), a native of
East Asia that
has been introduced into parts of
Europe for ornamental reasons
Barriers 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. Others
report confounding evidence that occasionally suggest that
species-rich communities harbor many native and exotic species
simultaneously while some say that diverse ecosystems are more
resilient and resist invasive plants and animals. An important
question is, "do invasive species cause extinctions?" Many studies
cite effects of invasive species on natives, 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, 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, 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
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.
Main article: Genetic pollution
Endemic species can be threatened with extinction 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.
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.
Main article: Overexploitation
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
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
Hybridization, genetic pollution/erosion and food security
The Yecoro wheat (right) cultivar is sensitive to salinity, plants
resulting from a hybrid cross with cultivar W4910 (left) show greater
tolerance to high salinity
Food security and 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
Genetically modified organisms
Genetically modified organisms contain genetic material that is
altered through genetic engineering.
Genetically modified crops
Genetically modified crops have
become a common source for genetic pollution in not only wild
varieties, but also in domesticated varieties derived from classical
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
Main article: Effect of climate change on plant biodiversity
Polar bears on the sea ice of the Arctic Ocean, near the North Pole.
Climate change has started affecting bear populations.
Global warming is also considered to be a major potential threat to
global biodiversity in the future. For example, coral reefs
- which are biodiversity hotspots - will be lost within the century if
global warming continues at the current trend.
Climate change has seen many claims about potential to affect
biodiversity but evidence supporting the statement is tenuous.
Increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide certainly affects plant
morphology and is acidifying oceans, and temperature affects
species ranges, phenology, and weather, but
the major impacts that have been predicted are still just potential
impacts. 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
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.
From 1950 to 2011, world population increased from 2.5 billion to 7
billion and is forecast to reach a plateau of more than 9 billion
during the 21st century. Some recent forecasts place the possible
number of people on the planet at 11 billion or 15 billion by
2100. 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." 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. Biologists such as
Paul R. Ehrlich
Paul R. Ehrlich and
Stuart Pimm have noted that human population
growth and overconsumption are the main drivers of species
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. 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 USA,
we would need 3.9 Earths.
The Holocene extinction
Main article: 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. 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.
Main article: Conservation biology
A schematic image illustrating the relationship between biodiversity,
ecosystem services, human well-being and poverty. The
illustration shows where conservation action, strategies and plans can
influence the drivers of the current biodiversity crisis at local,
regional, to global scales.
The retreat of
Aletsch Glacier in the
Swiss Alps (situation in 1979,
1991 and 2002), due to global warming.
Conservation biology matured in the mid-20th century as ecologists,
naturalists and other scientists began to research and address issues
pertaining to global biodiversity declines.
The conservation ethic advocates management of natural resources for
the purpose of sustaining biodiversity in species, ecosystems, the
evolutionary process and human culture and
Conservation biology is reforming around strategic plans to protect
biodiversity. 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. Action plans identify
ways of sustaining human well-being, employing natural capital, market
capital and ecosystem services.
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.
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
Digital Automated Identification SYstem
Digital Automated Identification SYstem (DAISY),
using the barcode of life). 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
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).
Reduction of 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.
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Protected areas is meant for affording protection to wild animals and
their habitat which also includes forest reserves and biosphere
reserves. Protected areas have been set up all over the world
with the specific aim of protecting and conserving plants and animals.
Main article: National park
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 sanctuaries aim only at conservation of species and have the
The boundaries of the sanctuaries are not limited by state
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.
Private ownership may be allowed.
Forestry and other usages can also be permitted.
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.
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:
They are large inaccessible forests.
Many of these are unoccupied.
They are ecologically and economically less important.
Steps to conserve the forest cover
Further information: forest cover
An extensive reforestation/afforestation program should be followed.
Alternative environment-friendly sources of fuel energy such as biogas
other than wood should be used.
Loss of biodiversity
Loss of biodiversity due to forest fire is a major problem, immediate
steps to prevent forest fire need to be taken.
Overgrazing by cattle can damage a forest seriously. Therefore,
certain steps should be taken to prevent overgrazing by cattle.
Hunting and poaching should be banned.
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.
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
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
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.
A great deal of work is occurring to preserve the natural
characteristics of Hopetoun Falls,
Australia while continuing to allow
Convention on Biological Diversity
Convention on Biological Diversity (1992) and Cartagena
Protocol on Biosafety;
Convention on International Trade in Endangered
Ramsar Convention (Wetlands);
Bonn Convention on Migratory Species;
World Heritage Convention
World Heritage Convention (indirectly by protecting biodiversity
Regional Conventions such as the Apia Convention
Bilateral agreements such as the Japan-
Australia Migratory Bird
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
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
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
Law regarding species is more recent. It defines species that must be
protected because they may be threatened by extinction. The U.S.
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] 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. Governments struggle to decide whether to focus
on for example, genes, genomes, or organisms and species.[citation
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.
India passed the
Biological Diversity Act
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.
Taxonomic and size relationships
Less than 1% of all species that have been described have been studied
beyond simply noting their existence. The vast majority of
Earth's species are microbial. Contemporary biodiversity physics is
"firmly fixated on the visible [macroscopic] world". 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".
Insect extinction rates are high—supporting the Holocene extinction
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
Index of biodiversity articles
Measurement of biodiversity
Deforestation and climate change
Zero-Force Evolutionary Law
Australian Grains Genebank
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Look up biodiversity in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Commons has media related to Biodiversity.
NatureServe: This site serves as a portal for accessing several types
of publicly available biodiversity data
Biodiversity Factsheet by the University of Michigan's Center for
Color-coded images of vertebrate biodiversity hotspots
Biodiversity Synthesis Report (PDF) by the Millennium Ecosystem
Assessment (MA, 2005)
Conservation International hotspot map
Zhuravlev, Yu. N., ed. (2000) Стратегия сохранения
биоразнообразия Сихотэ-Алиня = A
Biodiversity Conservation Strategy for the Sikhote-Alin' Vladivostok:
Russian Academy of Sciences, Far Eastern Branch
GLOBIO, an ongoing programme to map the past, current and future
impacts of human activities on biodiversity
World Map of
Biodiversity an interactive map from the United Nations
Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre
Biodiversity Information Serving Our Nation (BISON), provides a United
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Life – Documenting all species of life on earth
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