What is Biodiversity?

The variety of life forms present in any particular area is called the biodiversity of that area. There are a variety of life forms present on our planet Earth, living in different types of ecosystems. Life forms interact and co-exist with each other to maintain the balance between them and to support life.

Every life is essential and plays a significant role in keeping the balance between all life forms. Each and every organism provides direct or indirect support for survival or life forms present on Earth.

Living organisms are primarily divided into two, namely, Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes. These are further classification based upon –

  • Types and arrangement of cells

  • Nature of celom

  • Body symmetry, and

  • Other factors.

There are over 8 million species of plants and animals present on our planet Earth. The numbers will be in trillions if we combine all living species.

Who coined the term biodiversity?

The term biodiversity was coined by Walter G. Rosen in 1986.

Types of Biodiversity

There are three types of biodiversity, namely −

  • Genetic diversity

  • Species diversity, and

  • Ecological Diversity.

Genetic Diversity

There are many species all around the world and in species, genetic variation is seen. Due to the genetic variation in species, a single species shows high diversity.

Let us consider the following examples −

Example 1− How many dog breeds have you seen? More than enough, right? So, “dog” is a specie, but due to genetic variation, there are many breeds of dogs which exist.

Example 2− If we take the example of rice, there are more than 50,000 varieties of rice found in India. We are not even talking about the varieties found around the world.

Species Diversity

Species diversity is the total number of species living in a particular area. Each species plays and significant role to support every life in an ecosystem which is essential to maintain ecosystem services.

Example of species diversity are Amphibians species which have greater diversity in Western Ghats and Eastern Ghats.

Ecological Diversity

There are different ecological locations within geographical regions.

Examples of ecological diversity are Rain forest, desert, mangroves, etc.

Ecological diversity has both the characteristics of the ecosystem, namely − Biotic and Abiotic.

Ecological diversity has both Terrestrial and Aquatic ecosystems. As the difference in ecosystem, species too varies with it.

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Difference Between Genetic Diversity and Species Diversity

Species diversity deals with the total number of species present in a particular area while genetic diversity deals with the difference or variation in a particular species. (Different types of breeds and strains).

Isn't it amazing that planet Earth is this rich in diversity? Well, it took millions of years of evolution to reach this level of richness in diversity. Every life form is important, and we should conserve and preserve it because the conditions are getting worse, and many organisms and species are about to go extinct or are on the verge of extinction. Various factors are contributing to this main reason for this change in climatic conditions.

Factors Affecting Biodiversity

There is sadly no doubt that planet Earth is losing its richness in diversity and there are many factors affecting biodiversity. Let us take a look at what is causing this much harm to the environment and living forms.

Habitat loss and fragmentation

Due to numerous human activities and colonization, forests are being destroyed and this is the major reason for habitat loss and it’s been distributed into smaller fragments. Tropical rainforest covered more than 14% of Earth's surface once, but now that percentage has decreased to 6%. This became the main reason to fight for survival for many species and even the reason for extinction of some species.


Nature is the source for food and shelter, and humans are also dependent on it. It has led to overuse of resources and due to some unnecessary activities by humans’ overexploitation has occurred.

Alien species invasion

Many genetic changes are being made to make a desired strain of any species, this causes decline and extinction of indigenous species. Changes somehow or other extremely affect life forms and ecosystems too.


When any of the factors becomes severe that it leads to extinction of a species, it leaves a great impact on other species associated with it and even in the ecosystem. Due to the extinction of a species the closely related species to it also extinct within a time.

For example, if a fish species extinct, then the parasite attached to it also gets extinct because that fish serves as a host body to it.

Conservation of Biodiversity

There are two key methods of biodiversity conservation. They are as follows −

  • In-Situ Conservation

  • Ex-Situ Conservation.

In situ conservation refers to conservation of the species in its natural habitat for the recovery of species and habitat too.

Examples of in-situ conservation are National parks, natural reserves, sanctuaries, etc., such as Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand, Sundarbans National Park in West Bengal, and Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala and others.

Ex situ conservation is conserving the biological diversity in different place then their natural habitat for their better protection and care.

Examples of ex-situ conservation are zoological parks, wildlife safari park, Gene banks, etc.


Conservation of biodiversity has become an important topic and many organizations are already working towards that prospect. Even if we can contribute a small amount, we surely should take even a small step towards it.

Updated on 13-Oct-2022 11:19:47