What is biodiversity and why is it important?

Biodiversity refers to the variety of life on Earth. It includes all species from the blue whale to the smallest bacterium, and their genetic (molecular) differences as well.

Biodiversity also includes all the variety of habitats where organisms live – ecosystems – such as coral reefs, grasslands and rain forests.

Without biodiversity we would have no fresh air or water, no resources for food or medicine, no protection from natural disasters such as floods or those associated with climate change.

Biodiversity is life and people are a part of it; our health, wealth and wellbeing depends on keeping global biodiversity healthy.

Answered by Dr Bob Bloomfield, IYB-UK & Dr Sandra Knapp, Dep. of Botany

Discover the answers to many more questions you never knew you wanted to know the answer to in How It Works 63, such as why dolphins are one of the cleverest animals in the world.

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