What is biodiversity?
Biodiversity is a word that means the variety of living organisms on earth. Biodiversity is usually explored at three levels genetic diversity, species diversity and ecosystem diversity. So the term describes the variety of species, genetic diversity within species, and the diversity of habitats and ecological processes.
High biodiversity is considered essential for ecosystem stability. Cape York has exceptional biodiversity. Cape York has over 10 000 plant species and several thousand animal species. It is home to over 15% of Australia’s species, largely due to diverse and relatively intact landscapes. Cape York also represents 60% of Australia’s butterflies, over a third of bird species, over a quarter of the frog, mammal and reptile species, and the richest freshwater fauna in Australia (more than 40% of fish species). Approximately 240 plant species are endemic to the region and at least 350 species are on state, national and international threatened species lists.
This tool provides a select set of information about biodiversity, including:
- The status of threatened species and distribution;
- Projections of future distributions of vertebrate species under climate change;
- Monitoring of biodiversity, including issues and tools;
- Spatial information through a map viewer.
What can I do?
Biodiversity in Australia and around the world is in decline due to direct and indirect threats, including habitat clearing, pest species proliferation, industrial development and climate change. All people bear responsibility to curb the loss of biodiversity, such as by:
- implementing sustainable development and land management practices;
- actively reducing threats;
- conducting monitoring and research;
- improving environmental awareness and education;
- setting up appropriate governance structures;
- implementing policies for market-based approaches to conservation, through water, tourism or carbon sequestration.