Biodiversity

biological diversity

biological diversity or biodiversity, the number of species in a given habitat. Scientists have variously estimated that there are from 3 to 30 million extant species, of which 2.5 million have been classified, including 900,000 insects, 41,000 vertebrates, and 250,000 plants; the remainder are invertebrates, fungi, algae, and microorganisms. Although other species remain to be discovered, many are becoming extinct through deforestation, pollution, and human settlement. Much of this diversity is found in the world's tropical areas, particularly in the forest regions. A habitat in equilibrium has a balance between the number of species present and its resources. Diversity is affected by resources, productivity, and climate. The more pristine a diverse habitat, the better chance it has to survive a change or threat—either natural or human—because that change can be balanced by an adjustment elsewhere in the community; damaged habitats may be destroyed by breaking the food chain with removal of a single species. Thus, biological diversity helps prevent extinction of species and helps preserve the balance of nature. At the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, more than 150 nations signed a treaty intended to protect the planet's biological diversity. See also ecology.

See E. O. Wilson, ed., Biological Diversity (1988); N. Eldredge, Life in the Balance (1998).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Biodiversity: Selected full-text books and articles

Biodiversity 101 By Melina F. Laverty; Eleanor J. Sterling; Amelia Chiles; Georgina Cullman Greenwood Press, 2008
Sustaining Life: How Human Health Depends on Biodiversity By Eric Chivian; Aaron Bernstein; Kofi Annan Oxford University Press, 2008
Biodiversity, Sustainability, and Human Communities: Protecting beyond the Protected By Tim O'Riordan; Susanne Stoll-Kleemann Cambridge University Press, 2002
Protecting Life on Earth: An Introduction to the Science of Conservation By Michael P. Marchetti; Peter B. Moyle University of California Press, 2010
Applying Nature's Design: Corridors as a Strategy for Biodiversity Conservation By Anthony B. Anderson; Clinton N. Jenkins Columbia University Press, 2006
Nature in Fragments: The Legacy of Sprawl By Elizabeth A. Johnson; Michael W. Klemens Columbia University Press, 2005
Librarian’s tip: Part I "Biodiversity and the Genesis of Sprawl"
Precious Heritage: The Status of Biodiversity in the United States By Bruce A. Stein; Lynn S. Kutner; Jonathan S. Adams Oxford University Press, 2000
Footprints in the Jungle: Natural Resource Industries, Infrastructure, and Biodiversity Conservation By Ian A. Bowles; Glenn T. Prickett; Amy E. Skoczlas Oxford University Press, 2000
Exploring Agrodiversity By Harold Brookfield Columbia University Press, 2001
Agrodiversity: Learning from Farmers across the World By Harold Brookfield; Helen Parsons; Muriel Brookfield United Nations University Press, 2003
Biodiversity and Tourism: A Valuable Relationship By Hudson, Kim; Lee, Diane Social Alternatives, Vol. 29, No. 3, Third Quarter 2010
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Economic Growth and Biodiversity: An Overview: Conservation Policies in Africa By Iritié, Bi Goli Jean Jacques Journal of Sustainable Development, Vol. 8, No. 2, April 2015
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Learning to Measure Biodiversity: Two Agent-Based Models That Simulate Sampling Methods & Provide Data for Calculating Diversity Indices By Jones, Thomas; Laughlin, Thomas The American Biology Teacher, Vol. 71, No. 7, September 2009
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Biodiversity and the Corporate Social Responsibility Agenda By Overbeek, Greet; Harms, Bette; Van den Burg, Sander Journal of Sustainable Development, Vol. 6, No. 9, September 2013
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
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