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Biodiversity, plants and animals

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Get involved in The Big Tree Plant

The Big Tree Plant LogoThe Big Tree Plant aims to encourage people and communities to plant more trees in urban and residential areas. The five year campaign will encourage local community groups to plant and care for trees in their neighbourhood, particularly in areas that don’t have many. The Big Tree Plant partnership brings together civil society partners and conservation organisations, working with Defra and the Forestry Commission. For more information on how to get involved visit The Big Tree Plant website

Biodiversity is the variety of all life on Earth. This includes all species of animals and plants, and the natural systems that support them.

Biodiversity matters because it supports the vital benefits we get from the natural environment. It contributes to our economy, our health and wellbeing, and it enriches our lives.

Biodiversity is in decline across the world because of human activity, with 10-30% of animals threatened with extinction. 10% of all species are thought to be at increasing risk for every 1°c rise in global mean temperature due to climate change. All countries need to work together to be part of the solution.

The following pages provide information on the current situation and backgroud both in the UK and internationally:

The case for government action

Biodiversity is hugely important because of the benefits it provides. Many of the decisions the UK makes to conserve biodiversity are agreed at European or international level. The UK is working with other countries through membership of international agreements to conserve biodiversity. This includes developing countries and the UK’s overseas territories, which are rich in biodiversity but poor in resources, through schemes such as the Darwin Initiative.

The UK is also supporting a global study into The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB). This has shown the economic benefits biodiversity delivers including how much it costs if we lose it, and its value to human well-being.

Latest news

  • 4 December 2010Caroline Spelman welcomes new global scientific body to provide advice on biodiversity
  • 29 October 2010 – The 10th Conference of the Parties (COP) was held in Nagoya, Japan from 18-29 October 2010.  Agreement was reached on both a post-2010 framework to reduce biodiversity loss and a regime on access to genetic resources and the sharing of benefits from their use. In March 2010, the EU agreed a new target to halt the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystem services in the EU by 2020. It also agreed to restore them as far as possible, while stepping up the EU contribution to preventing global biodiversity loss.
  • 24 September 2010 – An independent review into England’s network of wildlife sites, ‘Making Space for Nature’, chaired by Prof. Sir John Lawton, was published with recommendations to help achieve a healthy natural environment that will allow our plants and animals to thrive.
  • A review has been done on how public authorities have responded to the ‘biodiversity duty’ contained in section 40 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006. The government is currently considering the report into the review of the Biodiversity Duty.
  • 2010 was the International Year of Biodiversity and everyone was encouraged to take action to reduce the loss of biodiversity worldwide.

Page last modified: 10 March 2011