Drinking rainwater from banana leaf, Nigeria. (c) I. Uwanaka/UNEP peopleandplanet.net
people and biodiversity
Drinking rainwater from banana leaf, Nigeria. (c) I. Uwanaka/UNEP
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biodiversity > factfile

Biodiversity and human population
Both humans and wildlife need resources. To the extent that we compete for the same resources - especially space - then as human activities expand, the leeway left for wildlife shrinks. ... more

Getting the measure of extinction
Trying to measure just how fast species are becoming extinct is a tricky business. For a start, we have a very incomplete knowledge of the earth's biota. ... more

Endangered treasures
A total of 15,503 species of plants and animals are included in the IUCN's 2004 Red List of threatened and endangered species. Every one of them has its own specific story. Here are some of the less well-known species at risk. ... more

Hotspots and threatened habitats
Biodiversity is highest in the tropics, but this is where human populations tend to be growing fastest, exacerbating the conflict between human populations and biodiversity (see graph). ... more

Flagship species
Public concern about biodiversity is often focused on large, well-loved mammals like the tiger, the great apes, rhinos and elephants, pandas and whales. Although campaigns often highlight these "charismatic megafauna", saving them involves protecting their habitat and all the other species that live there. Banning harmful trade, protecting against poachers, effective enforcement, captive breeding, public education, and involvement of local populations in the benefits of eco-tourism, must also play their part. ... more

Climate change and biodiversity
Climate change will have a powerful effect on biodiversity. It will directly endanger the habitats of many species, and for endangered species it may be the final blow that pushes them over the brink into extinction.
... more

Crops and animals
Biodiversity - in the form of genetic diversity - is a value even in the variety of crops and animals used in agriculture. Here too it is under threat. ... more

A thumbnail guide to CITES
by Alison Rosser and Sarah Ferris

CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. ... more

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