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What is biodiversity and why it matters

Biodiversity is the variety of all life, their abundance and genetic diversity and the interactions between them within a defined area. This could be on a local nature reserve or the whole world. Biodiversity can be measured at the ecosystem, habitat, species and genetic level.

Why does biodiversity matter?

  • The variety of life provides us with everything necessary for our survival. These ecosystem services are provided by this rich variety of life.
  • More diversity enables species and ecosystems to adapt more easily to changes in the environment, such as climate change.
  • Biodiversity enhances our landscape and our sense of health and well-being.

A range of Ecosystem Services that are provided by our natural environment are listed below.

  • Food
  • Water
  • Clean air
  • Pollution control
  • Temperature regulation
  • Fuel
  • Shelter
  • Carbon storage
  • Recreation
  • Medicines
  • Pollination
  • Flood alleviation
  • Tourism

Safeguarding biodiversity

The way we live in the modern world means that species and habitats are being lost at an alarming rate. A decline in biodiversity will impact on the provision of food, the changing climate, and our own resilience as a species. Most people probably don't realise that 98% of our traditional meadows have already been lost. These grasslands take hundreds of years to develop, and once they're gone they no longer provide the diverse range and number of wild flowers that insects, such as bees, need to survive. Without bees and other pollinating insects we couldn't produce most of the fruits, vegetables and other plants that we take for granted.