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Life as we know it
Divide and multiply
Not to be confused with human biodiversity, a euphemism for racialism.

Biodiversity is the somewhat hard-to-define quality of variation among living things in a specific ecosystem, in agriculture, within a certain taxonomic group, or in the entire biosphere.

Biodiversity is seen as important to the sustainability of life in general and as an all-round Good Thing.[1] Having various options of "life support systems" often means that, when conditions change, they are unlikely to all fail at once.[2]

Environmentalists regard human-caused ("anthropogenic") loss of biodiversity as a serious problem. Some branches of environmental philosophy give intrinsic value to biodiversity, and consider its conservation important beyond ecological services for humans.[3]

It is difficult to measure biodiversity. Simply counting the number of species, for example, causes one to see more biodiversity in a pond with 6 species of grass than in a pond with 2 species of grass, a fungus, a species of frog, and a species of cricket. More complex information-based methods must decide when to describe genetic diversity versus diversity based on phenotypes and memes, which require more definitions of measurements themselves. Meaningful diversity-indices also take into take into account the total number of individuals of each species, and apply statistical measures.[4][5][6]

See also[edit]


  1. See the Wikipedia article on 1066 and All That.
  2. http://bioscience.oxfordjournals.org/content/61/3/183.full
  3. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/biodiversity/#SpeValBioVal
  4. Ecological Diversity and Its Measurement by Anne E. Magurran (1988). Princeton University Press. ISBN 0691084912.
  5. Measuring Biological Diversity by Anne E. Magurran (2003). Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 0632056339.
  6. See the Wikipedia article on Measurement of biodiversity.