What is biodiversity?


A newt

What is biodiversity? 

Biodiversity (also known as Biological Diversity) is quite simply the variety of life, from the smallest bacteria to the largest mammal and all things in between. This includes us: human beings. We are an integral part of the biodiversity of our planet, and play a huge role in shaping the fortunes of the species and habitats around us. In turn, the natural world around us is an important influence on us and the way we live our lives.

Why is biodiversity important?

There are many reasons why biodiversity is important; here are just a few:

  • Biodiversity provides us with food, fuel, fibres for clothes, medicines, and building supplies.
  • Biodiversity helps to regulate our daily lives by affecting air quality, water quality, climate, and processes such as flooding.
  • Biodiversity supports us through the primary production of energy by plants, breaking down waste products and recycling nutrients, soil formation, and water cycling.
  • Biodiversity is part of our culture, it shapes our outdoor experiences and education, forming natural landscapes that contribute to our sense of place. Biodiversity provides a better living environment with benefits to health and well-being, and for many it is something that inspires and enriches their lives.

Ecosystem services

Ecosystem services is a term for the series of fundamental life support services, resources and processes that are supplied by the natural environment, upon which human civilisation depends. For example, the pollination of crops, climate moderation, carbon storage, water provision, and general health and well-being. These Ecosystem Services can be divided into four categories:

  • Provisioning
  • Regulating
  • Supporting
  • Cultural

Visit the Ecosystem services website for more information.

Share this page