ecostore Australia Blog
September is Biodiversity Month in Australia. It reminds us to notice the fragile eco-systems that are around us (even the ones we can’t see) and that no matter how large or small, we all interact together.
What is biodiversity?
According to the Australian Government’s department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, 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.
There are three levels of biodiversity. These levels all inter-relate to create and support the complex systems that make up life on earth:
- Genetic diversity
Refers to the variety of genes within a species. Genes a responsible for the differences and similarities between organisms and are the building block for diversity.
- Species diversity
The variety of species within a habitat or region such as coral reefs, wetlands and even your own backyard. Species are grouped together according to shared characteristics.
- Ecosystem diversity
This is the variety of ecosystems in a given location – like those that were mentioned above. It boils down to a community of organisms that and their physical environment interacting together.
Mega diversity – the lucky country
Australia is classed as a nation that enjoys Mega-diversity. And I say enjoy deliberately. There are 13.6 million species on the planet, of which 1 million exist in Australia. That’s about 7%, and more than twice the number of species in Europe and North America combined. We are so lucky. We are included in the 12 countries in the world considered mega diverse – collectively making up 75% of the earth’s biodiversity.
Conserving our biodiversity
We all have a responsibility to take care of our environment and habitats. If numbers of a particular species are threatened or disappear altogether, we run the risk of their habitat being compromised too. Nothing exists in isolation. Enjoying our biodiversity is a gift, for all species to protect and enjoy.