What is biodiversity and why is biodiversity important?

Definition of biodiversity

Biodiversity is the variety of all living things on Earth. It’s a measure of how wildlife is doing, from the microbes, fungi and plants up to the mammals, reptiles and birds.

What is the biodiversity crisis?

  • The biodiversity crisis describes the continued and shocking decline in wildlife across the planet.
  • We are losing species altogether – with forecasts that between one third and one half of all species could face extinction by the end of this century. David Attenborough’s coverage of the loss of biodiversity in his many documentaries such as ‘Seven Worlds, One Planet’, alongside Prince William’s in ‘A planet for us all’, demonstrate the precariousness of the situation, with animals on the brink of extinction.
  • And the species that aren’t at immediate risk of extinction are thinning out, with estimates that vertebrate species have declined by an average of 70% in the last half-century.
  • This and similar research has led scientists to warn that we are entering the sixth mass extinction of our planet’s time.
  • Previous mass extinctions were driven by asteroids and volcanoes, whilst this one is being driven by human activity which means we have the opportunity to reverse it.

Why is biodiversity important?

  • Nature and biodiversity supports human life; the food we eat, the clean water we drink, the medicines we take, and the environments we live in.
  • The impacts of biodiversity are obvious in many cases, such as the pollination of food crops by bees and insects, but less clear in many others.
  • Our interconnected economy sits within wildlife and nature, which means the loss of wildlife will have a knock-on impact on all sectors of life and business.

“We think we can just trash one bit, or remove a species, and it’ll all be ok, but the different plants and animals are interconnected in vital ways that we don’t even always understand.” ClientEarth wildlife and habitats lawyer, Anna Heslop

What are the solutions?

  • To improve wildlife, we need it to give it the space to thrive and we need to reduce pollution.
  • Businesses can play a role in wildlife’s loss and its recovery. The starting point is supporting local wildlife projects. Zellar lists environmental projects from charities and landowners across the UK – below are some of our favourites. Find out more at www.zellar.com

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