What is Biodiversity?

Biodiversity refers generally to variability within the living environment.  It encompasses the variability of plant and animal species, the variability of the genetic makeup of those species, and the variability of the ecosystems in which the species interact.

Preserving biodiversity is crucially important to human society. It allows us to maintain and preserve the structure of our current habitats and ecosystems, as well as the economic systems and industries which they support.

Human development has fundamentally changed the nature of the biotic environment in which we live. Industrialization and economic growth have increased habitat disturbance and resource use, changing the distribution and concentration of biological species, a disturbance that has had profound implications for human well-being in our developing world.  The extent of biodiversity loss is staggering, and clearly indicates our crucial responsibility to work to protect the precarious continued success of the millions of species with whom we share our globe.

The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) has declared 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity, in order for both governments and citizens to take a chance to reflect upon the crucial need to protect the biodiversity of our planet.  At the end of the 20th century, intergovernmental organizations set 2010 as a timepoint by which the international community  would reduce the rate of biodiversity loss across the globe. While the goals set forth at this time have largely not been reached, the UNEP has taken this opportunity to call global citizens to recognize the roll biodiversity plays in their everyday lives.