The United Nations Convention on Biodiversity refers to the diversity of all living organisms, habitats and ecosystems on land, in fresh water, in the oceans and in the air as biodiversity. Biodiversity includes.
the diversity of different species as well as within a species (taxonomic diversity)
the genetic diversity within individual species as well as the diversity of all organisms in a habitat (genetic diversity)
the diversity of biotopes and ecosystems as well as ecosystem functions such as pollination and seed dispersal (ecological and functional diversity)
the diversity of animal behaviour (cultural diversity)
Terms such as biodiversity or biological diversity are often used interchangeably. However, according to the above definition, the concept of biodiversity is broader than the concept of biodiversity. This is only a measure of the number of species. Strictly speaking, biodiversity is only a partial aspect of biodiversity.
The sixth mass extinction
Biodiversity is declining almost everywhere on Earth. On the one hand, the loss affects the diversity of species:
Of almost 97,000 animal and plant species on the IUCN Red List, 27,000 are threatened with extinction in 2018
Scientists have calculated that today every year a hundred times more vertebrates die out than under normal conditions without human influence. Since the year 1500, about 600 vertebrate species have become extinct in nature, of which about 500 have been extinct since 1900. In the last hundred years, as many bird species have disappeared as in the 3000 years before.
But not only species are dying out, the abundance of organisms is also decreasing. Three studies clearly show how dramatic the decline in genetic biodiversity is worldwide:
Today, 60 percent fewer vertebrates live on Earth than in 1970. In South and Central America, the decline is even almost 90 percent.
The number of flying insects in Germany has decreased by at least 75 percent since 1989.
The insect biomass in a rainforest area in Puerto Rico has shrunk by 10 to 60 times between 1976 and 2012. In parallel, the number of insectivorous birds, lizards and frogs has sharply decreased.
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