biodiversity

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biodiversity

(bī′ō-dĭ-vûr′sĭ-tē)
n.
1. The number and variety of species found within a specified geographic region.
2. The variability among living organisms on the earth, including the variability within and between species and within and between ecosystems.

biodiversity

The existence of complex flora and fauna in an ecosystem; the genetic diversity of natural organisms. Biodiversity increases the overall productivity of a plot of land, and maximises its resistance to disturbances—e.g., drought. In prairie ecosystems stressed by drought, recovery to a normal state of productivity was more rapid in experimental plots of vegetation with the greatest biodiversity, a finding that supports the need to maintain biodiversity.

Loss of biodiversity—i.e., a reduction in the number of species, subspecies and strains—will be disastrous for the planet's ecosystem. An example would be growing a crop food, e.g., corn or rice, from only one highly productive, rapid-growing, spoil-resistant strain—while seemingly having all the desirable features, if the strain became susceptible to a particular pathogen, all those dependent on the crop could face famine.

Marine biodiversity may be in a state of ecological crisis due to coastal development—e.g., destruction of estuaries, motorised marine vessels, ocean dumping, oil spills, overfishing with trawling of the ocean floor and subsequent disruption of bottom communities and coral reefs, overwhaling, pollutant runoffs, and toxic tides due to eutrophication.

biodiversity

see DIVERSITY.
References in periodicals archive ?
If the value of biodiversity or ecosystems lies in the functions it performs for the human economy, they might as well be replaced by some form of technology that does the job better (cf.
Biologists see the value of biodiversity as near-infinite since it is essential for human survival.
The value of biodiversity to plant breeders is also growing.
Society heard and acted upon the wilderness ethic that Aldo Leopold put forth in that environmental classic, Babbitt believes, but a more subtle message about the value of biodiversity was missed.
UNEP-WCMC aims to help decision-makers recognize the value of biodiversity to people everywhere, and to apply this knowledge to all that they do.
In the opinions, however, there is no discussion of the nature and value of biodiversity, or how to operationalise and measure it, or which aspects or understandings of biodiversity should be given priority over others (unlike, for example, naturalness on different levels).
The campaign will also have an educational dimension explaining the value of biodiversity and stressing the concept of the services ecosystems provide and the dangers of their decline.
Although we rely upon natural live resources derived from biodiversity for our daily needs, the value of biodiversity provides us more indirectly with many other essential services, such as the hydrological cycle.
The value of biodiversity is not obvious to many people.
He realised the value of biodiversity before the word had even been coined.
The emergence of the new biotechnologies has changed the meaning and value of biodiversity.
Private landowners often do not consider the value of biodiversity when making decisions about how to manage their land.