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What is biodiversity?

Biodiversity is simply the variety of life. Biodiversity is all living things all around us. It is in our forests and mountains, our rivers and seas, our gardens and parks. Biodiversity is the soaring eagle, the leaping salmon, the tiny ladybird, the lowly earthworm.

Biodiversity is the natural capital which supports all our lives. It is vital for our survival and is a key measure of the health of our planet.

Find out why biodiversity is important.


Biological diversity - or biodiversity - is a term we use to describe the variety of life on Earth. (Convention on Biological Diversity)

Biodiversity refers to:

  • the wide variety of living organisms - animals, plants, fungi, bacteria and other simple microorganisms 
  • genetic variation within species
  • the variety of habitats and ecosystems - different ways that organisms interact with one another and their environment.


Geodiversity is a closely related term that refers to the variety of rocks, minerals, fossils, soils, landforms and natural processes that shape the earth. Ecosystems depend on geodiversity. Rocks, minerals and soils are fundamental to supporting life on Earth.

Find out more about why geodiversity is important on the Scottish Natural Heritage website.

Last updated on Tuesday 29th October 2013 at 16:22 PM. Click here to comment on this page