Can Any Biodiversity Definition Really Cover The Topic?

The word biodiversity is made of two words. Bio means life and diversity means variety. It was coined as one word seeing the contraction of biological diversity on planet Earth.

Since then it is being defined differently by different schools of thoughts in biology.

Biodiversity definition by scientists

Scientists prefer using the broadest possible biodiversity definition. They don’t want to overlook any aspect of what is in exceedingly complex subject.

However, one of the largest problems facing scientists, government agencies and environmental groups is;


biodiversity definitionDictionaries’ version

Dictionaries are generally silent on any kind of controversy. They define the most general outlines of the subject. But most have some elements in common.

Most take into account that it must refer the number and variety of plants and animal species. They also hint that these species occupy a particular geographic region.

A few dictionaries include the concept of the variability of those plants and species.

One or two include the variability within and among ecosystems as well as within and between living organisms.

Best definition of biodiversity

One of the best biodiversity definitions we have found comes from The Center for International Environmental Law. It says;

“biodiversity is the variability of all living organisms including animal and plant species of the genes of all these organisms and of the terrestrial, aquatic and marine ecosystems of which they are part”

Let its scope define it

Developing a biodiversity definition is problematic no matter who is doing it because biodiversity is a very broad topic.

Also it includes everything making it very hard to exclude anything. For example while every biodiversity definition includes plants and animal life, not all include the soil or water that sustains that life, although to be totally fair, most do so.

What about Homo sapiens or human beings?

Also not every biodiversity definition includes human beings. Complicating the matter even more is the problem of whether a real comprehensive definition of biodiversity should include only those species that humans find useful or all the given plant and animal species of an area.

With such differences, it is almost impossible to come to a conclusion about the meaning of the term, let alone the scope of the topic.

No action because of no unified definition

It’s quite confusing what biodiversity should cover and what should not. That is why those who want to do something to defend it have no point to start. While those who just want to be clear on its concept are still unable to do this.

Another group is not much worried because it believe biodiversity and progress can never coexist. Mostly progress is done everywhere at the cost of variability of life.

To be upfront if something cannot be defined easily and concisely how can the issues presented by it be prioritized let alone having resources allocated to resolve them.

In view of no unified biological decision it is not important what should be the best one but what we must do to never let it contract further.


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