Biodiversity, or biological diversity refers to the variety of organisms on Earth. That includes terrestrial and marine ecosystems, other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes to which they belong. It also includes the diversity of species, the diversity within each species, and the diversity of ecosystems.
Biodiversity is fundamental for sustaining a living planet, as it provides four essential services:
Provisioning services: those which benefit people directly and which generally have a clear monetary value. Example: firewood, fish, medicinal plants, etc.
Supporting services: those that do not directly benefit people but which are essential for ecosystems, such as plant growth, soil formation and crop pollination.
Regulating services: services such as climate regulation, control of droughts and floods, decontamination of air and water, carbon storage, etc.
Cultural and leisure services: Meet society's other needs and desires, such as enjoying the beauty of nature and of leisure areas.
Biodiversity affects the productivity of ecosystems. The loss of biodiversity is comparable with other environmental stress factors, such as climate change and pollution. Habitat loss, overexploitation, invasive species, climate change and pollution are the main causes for the loss of biodiversity. The loss of species reduces the ecosystem goods and services available to society, such as food, drinking water and a stable climate.
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