What is biodiversity?

‘Nature’ and ‘biodiversity’ are words often used to mean the same thing. But what do we mean when we use them?

The term ‘biodiversity’ describes the variety of life on earth. A simple way to remember it is to think of it as the diversity of the biology on earth.

Biodiversity includes variety on many levels:

  1. The number of different species of plants and animals
  2. The genetic diversity within and between these different species
  3. The diversity within the different biomes, ecosystems and habitats that these plants and animals are a part of.

Biodiversity also includes the diversity within microscopic organisms, including bacteria, viruses and fungi. There is biodiversity within species that we can’t even see – for example, there are more living organisms in a tablespoon of soil than there are people on earth.