ABSTRACT

Biodiversity is generally defi ned as the variety of all species on earth. It refers to the different plants, animals and micro-organisms, and their genes, that together make up life on the planet. It also includes reference to the terrestrial (land), marine (ocean) and freshwater (inland water systems) ecosystems of which they are a part. It is also important to remember that ecosystems vary in size; for instance, a pond is a small ecosystem, while an ocean or a forest are considered large ecosystems, but they are all equally vulnerable. The loss of biodiversity in all three of its main components – genes, species and ecosystems – continues at a rapid pace. The fi ve principal drivers of biodiversity loss (habitat change, overexploitation, pollution, invasive alien species and climate change) are either constant or increasing in intensity (Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity 2010 ).