What is Biodiversity | WWF

What is Biodiversity

The Majesty of Life

When we say we want to save the planet, we use the word "biodiversity" to encompass this entire concept - which, granted, is a big one.
Biodiversity: Life, the world, the variation of life for the entire globe.
Image compilation showing 5 bear species to illustrate the diversity of life (biodiversity) rel=
The diversity of bears. (l-r) Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus) | Spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus) | Sun bear (Helarctos malayanus) | Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) | Giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca)
© (l-r) Y.-J. REY-MILLET | Edward PARKER | Terry DOMICO | Fritz PÖLKING | Michel GUNTHER
It’s a big idea with a long history.

Biodiversity found on Earth today consists of many millions of distinct biological species, the product of four billion years of evolution.

But the word “Biodiversity” itself is actually quite new.

"Biodiversity" was coined as a contraction of "biological diversity" in 1985.

Clever eh?

A symposium in 1986, and the follow-up book BioDiversity (Wilson 1986), edited by biologist E. O. Wilson, carved the way for common acceptance of the word and concept.

And as politicians, scientists, and conservationists became more interested in the state of the planet and the amazing complexity of life we became quite attached to this new word.

And why were we talking so much about Biodiversity?


The world has begun, relatively recently, to lose species and habitats at an ever-increasing and alarming rate.


Because of us.
	© WWF
Biodiversity is a contraction of the 2 words "Biological" and "Diversity"

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Donate to WWF

Your support will help us build a future where humans live in harmony with nature.

Enter Yes if you accept the terms and conditions
Enter Yes if you accept the terms and conditions