Biodiversity is the term used to describe the variety of all living things. Biodiversity includes genetic diversity, species diversity, ecosystem diversity and their associated evolutionary and ecological processes.
Biodiversity makes human life on Earth possible. Defining why it matters is a way of highlighting the benefits of the natural world. The importance of biodiversity reflects the many different values that we bestow up it, including economic, ecological, cultural, scientific and recreational.
While scientists are striving to describe and measure the full variety of life on Earth - an estimated nine million species - biodiversity is at risk due to the pressures of human resource-use. There is undeniable evidence of significant declines in biodiversity, both in Australia and globally.
This chapter discusses the value of biodiversity to human societies. It shows how responding to the values people place on the natural diversity of Australia can improve the way we manage Australia’s biodiversity.
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Steve Morton and Rosemary Hill