The intrinsic value of species and ecosystems in their own right makes biodiversity worthy of protection.

Rich underwater world of IGACOS rel= © Alexander Belokurov /

Life is what sets our planet apart – but the wondrous variety of species that share our home is rapidly disappearing.

Thanks to destructive human activities, the current rate of species extinction is at least 100-1,000 times higher than the expected natural rate. This rate of biodiversity loss is comparable with the great mass extinction events that have previously occurred only five or six times in the Earth’s history.

Protected areas are essential tools to halt this biodiversity loss.

They act as refuges for species, genetic diversity, and ecological processes that cannot survive in intensely managed landscapes and seascapes. They also provide space for natural evolution and future ecological restoration.

Protected areas can also help buy time for habitats and species threatened by global warming and climate change, while the world works out the only long-term solution: reducing CO2 emissions.

Biological diversity – or biodiversity – is the term given to the variety of life on Earth and the patterns it forms.

Biodiversity comprises all the millions of different species that live on our planet – plants, animals, and microorganisms – as well as genetic differences within each species, for example, between varieties of crops and breeds of livestock. It also includes the multitude of different ecosystems on Earth, in which particular species form a unique community, interacting with one another and with the air, water, and soil around them.