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What Is Biodiversity – A Quick, Easy Review


As natural resources and animal and plant life vanish at record rates the question “what is biodiversity?” looms larger and larger for humankind. Because there is no easy, one-size-fits-all answer, various dictionaries, governments, businesses and environmental groups answer the question “what is biodiversity?” in the manner that best serves their motives and furthers their purposes. Additionally, while there is no easy answer to “what is biodiversity,” whatever definition is used must, of necessity be tailored to the understanding of the questioners.

To answer the question, “what is biodiversity,” one must first determine what region we are discussing. There are, for example thirty-four separate biodiversity hotspots spread out over the continents, and each has its own specific character. A region where the primary ecosystems are water-based will require very different solutions than one that is land-based. A land-based region in a temperate zone will need very different solutions than an arctic or tropical one. In a region where the primary ecological damage is to the water systems, the answer is very different than in an area which is arid by nature.

Further, the exact nature of the region needs to be assessed. Are animal or plant species (or both) vanishing due to changes in the land or water itself, or as a result of some new strain of disease? Is the human population of the are starving because of extinction or depletion of the species that support it?

However, in our less than ideal world, the question of “what is biodiversity,” often falls further behind in consideration than the question of how things can be accomplished with minimal interaction with environmentalists, who many governments seem to regard as some minor form of terrorists. This adversarial attitude between those who wish to preserve biodiversity and conserve resources, and those with the money and the power to allocate it often render it a moot point as to what concerns get attended to.

What is biodiversity? Biodiversity is the total of everything in all the ecosystems that make up our planet. It includes the planet itself, and all the people, animals, and plants that inhabit it. It also encompasses the sun, and the wind, since they provide part of the ecosystems that spawn and sustain life. Further, since it encompasses everything that exists, biodiversity is what sustains life as we know it. As such, it much be preserved and conserved, for our well-being, as well as that of every animal and plant species, and the well-being of the planet we live on.


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