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Biodiversity is the variety of all life forms on

earth – the different plants, animals and


micro-organisms and the ecosystems of which
they are a part.

 Currently identified around 2 million species on Earth.

 Scientists have estimated that there is anywhere


between 3 – 300 million species on Earth.
 It helps maintain the atmosphere.
 It keeps soils fertile.
 It purifies water.
 Enables life as a whole to exist.
 Provides products for human use, such as food and
medicines.
 Species variety may provide the ability to avert major
disasters, such as crop failures from drought and
disease.
 Biodiversity supplies products to boost our economy.
According to the world’s leading
scientific and environmental experts,
loss of biodiversity is one of the
most urgent environmental
problems facing the planet.
As human populations grow, they exert
increasing pressure on natural resources—
pressure that is endangering species and
ecosystems around the world.
 Factors affecting biodiversity:
 Habitat loss
 Introduced species
 Pollution
 Population growth
 Over-consumption
 Species extinction
 Degradation of life systems (such as matter cycles)
 Climate Change
 Biodiversity hotspots are areas that support
intact natural ecosystems.

 They are also areas with a high diversity of


locally endemic species.
 These are species that are not found or are rarely
found outside the hotspot.
 Access the biodiversity hotspots map (click on the link on the
Biodiversity page) and click on the interactive hotspots map.
Using the information on the map and website, answer the
following questions:

 What is a biodiversity hotspot?


 Choose three of the Biodiversity hotspots on the interactive map
and describe why that location has been named a Biodiversity
hotspot.
 Do some research to find out the major threats to biodiversity in
this area.
 What is being done to protect biodiversity in this hotspot?