Why is biodiversity important?

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Biodiversity is defined as “the variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems.” Ideally, to assess the conditions and trends of biodiversity, it is necessary to measure the abundance of all organisms over space and time, using taxonomy (such as the number of species), functional traits (for example, the ecological type such as nitrogen-fixing plants like legumes versus non-nitrogen-fixing plants), and the interactions among species that affect their dynamics and function (predation, parasitism, competition, and facilitation such as pollination) and how strongly such interactions affect ecosystems.

Biodiversity represents the foundation of ecosystems that, through the services they provide, affect human well-being. These include provisioning services such as food, water, timber, and fiber; regulating services such as the regulation of climate, floods, disease, wastes, and water quality; cultural services such as recreation, aesthetic enjoyment, and spiritual fulfillment; and supporting services such as soil formation, photosynthesis, and nutrient cycling. Here the question arises, why does biodiversity matter? Which ecosystem processes are influenced by the abundance of tree species?

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