Natural England - Biodiversity

Biodiversity

'Biodiversity' is a term commonly used to describe the variety of life on Earth.

Species rich hay meadow © Natural England

This encompasses the whole of the natural world and all living things with which we share the planet. It includes plants, animals, even invisible micro-organisms and bacteria which, together, interact in complex ways with the inanimate environment to create living ecosystems.

Biodiversity is all around us: not just in wild places and nature reserves but also in our cities, the places we live and work, our farmland and our countryside. We are an integral part of this biodiversity and exert a major influence over it.

More formally, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) defines biodiversity as:

"The variability among living organisms from all sources including terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems, and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems."