What is Biodiversity?
are made up of many different species
. In the same way that humans live in communities
, so do animals, plants, and even microorganisms
. Where communities of microorganisms, plants and animals co-exist, they form an ecosystem. Ecosystems can be small like puddles, or large like deserts, forests, wetlands, mountains, lakes and rivers.
Not only do ecosystems house microorganisms, plants and animals, they also provide benefits called ecosystem services
. Ecosystem services are all the natural resources and processes that maintain the conditions for life on Earth. They provide us with food, clean air and water. They regulate water levels and help to prevent flooding. They break down wastes and recycle nutrients, which is very important for growing food. Biodiversity
in ecosystems also protects us with “natural insurance” against future unknown conditions brought about by climate change or other events. Another important ecosystem service is the cultural value of natural landscapes to people’s religious beliefs and leisure activities.