Definition: what is biodiversity?

The word biodiversity describes the vast diversity of life forms (bio = life) that inhabit the earth.  Not only does it include millions of different varieties of living creatures from single-celled amoebas and tiny plants to gigantic blue whales and towering trees; it also includes all of the different ecosystems they live in (which are living as well) and the many ways in which they connect, interact, and depend these systems for survival.  In other words, biodiversity is the vast, intricate, and fragile ‘web of life.’  Biodiversity also includes human and cultural diversity, because like plants and animals, we live and interact with the earth too.

There are many different levels of biodiversity as well, including genetic biodiversity, species biodiversity, and ecosystem biodiversity.  Cultural diversity describes the thousands of human cultures that have developed over time, and agrobiodiversity describes the variety of plants that people have cultivated for food, medicine, and other uses.  While the web of life has been evolving as long as there has been life on earth—about XXbillion years—and people have evolved alongside millions of different life forms for hundreds of thousands of years, it has only been in the past few decades that we have begun to talk about this thing called biodiversity, and to take account scientifically of the incredible abundance and variety of life on earth. Some life forms have changed very little since they began hundreds of millions of years ago. Others, like humans, have appeared fairly recently. And many more have perished forever.

Diversidad geneticaDiversidad especieDiversidad de ecosistemaDiversidad cultural | ¿Donde se encuentra la biodiversidad?¿Como estan interconectado la diversidad biologico y la cultura?¿Porque esta importante la diversidad biologica?¿Que cosas pone la diversidad biologica en peligro?¿Que podemos hacer para preservar la diversidad biologica?



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