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biodiversity




  1. An umbrella term to describe collectively the variety and variability of nature. It encompasses three basic levels of organisation in living systems: the genetic, species, and ecosystem levels. Plant and animal species are the most commonly recognized units of biological diversity, thus public concern has been mainly devoted to conserving species diversity.

    The United Nations defines biodiversity as "the variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems."


  2. Genetic diversity: the variation between individuals and between populations within a species; species diversity: the different types of plants, animals and other life forms within a region; community or ecosystem diversity: the variety of habitats found within an area (grassland, marsh, and woodland for instance).

Related category

   • ECOLOGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT