Identifying biodiversity: Why do we need field guides?
Plants and animals are the life support systems for all of us. People who farm, live in forests or depend upon fishing are particularly aware of this because they take produce directly from nature. Managing those resources has become the motto of the 21st century as the crowded planet struggles to accommodate all of us and our aspirations for a better life. Yet, it is not only our immediate use of nature for food, warmth, shelter and income that demands our attention; our climate, soil and water need these things to go on working together, functioning as a complete, healthy system. Scientists, and many others, now refer to this complete system and all of its constituent species, genes and habitats as ‘biodiversity’.