Butterflies in the Konashen Community-Owned Conservation Area, Guyana.
© Piotr Naskrecki
Biodiversity is the variety of plants, animals, and other organisms, the habitats in which they are found, and the ways that these living things interact with each other and with the environment.
The place where a species lives is known as its habitat. A habitat is a home that supplies all that an animal, plant, or other organism needs to survive: air, light, water, food, shelter, and space. Plants and animals with their habitats make up an ecosystem.
Ecosystems are composed of living elements, the animals and plants, and non-living elements, such as soil, water, and air. Ecosystems can have variable sizes. For example, a pond is a small ecosystem while a forest is a large ecosystem. All of the earth’s ecosystems are part of our planet’s biodiversity.
Scientists estimate that there are between 30 and 100 million species of plants, animals, and microorganisms (tiny bacteria and other animals) on the planet, yet only about 1.8 million have been described so far.
<< Back to Glossary Page B