22 de octubre del 2000
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Cambio Climático
Proyecto de soporte a negociación ambiental

Cambio Climático

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sobre temas globales de seguridad humana
Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo
Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Medio Ambiente
Did you know


The incredible variety of life on our planet is the product of millions of years of evolution. This makes our life far richer and healthier than it would otherwise be.

1 What is biodiversity?

-Literally, the word 'biodiversity' means variety of life. There are millions of different species of plants, animals, and micro-organisms on our planet. This is referred to as 'species diversity'.

There is also biodiversity within single species. Dogs, for example, come in different shapes, sizes, colours, and temperaments. This is referred to as 'genetic diversity' since it depends upon the variety of genetic material present in a single species.

Another form of biodiversity is 'ecosystem diversity'. Meadows, forests, and wetlands are examples of different types of ecosystems. They are the natural neighbourhoods of organisms; they provide different species with homes, food, and access to other members of their own species.

In a broader sense, the variety of human cultures on Earth is also a type of biodiversity. Language, religious belief, music, and many other aspects of human life vary greatly from one culture to another.

2 Are some areas home to more biodiversity than others?

-Yes. Geographical areas that are nearer to the Equator generally have higher levels of biodiversity. the greatest levels of biodiversity are thus found in the tropics, particularly in the tropical rain forests and coral reefs.

3 Why is biodiversity important?

-The incredible variety of life on our planet is the product of millions of years of evolution. This makes life on our planet far richer and healthier than it would otherwise be. The living organisms of the Earth make up an intricate living system: since no species exists in isolation, the loss of any one species will disrupt many others. Biodiversity is a source of strength not just for us but for our world as a whole.

Diseases, for example, often strike certain species but not others. A forest that contains a variety of species rather than just one or two will be stronger and more stable. Genetic diversity is important too. Genetic material contains the instructions for producing the various characteristics and capabilities of living things; greater variety of genes makes it easier for species to adapt to new or changed environments. Different ecosystems perform different functions, all of which are important, and different cultures provide humans with a variety of different ethical and spiritual visions, as well as different types of knowledge about different aspects of the world.

4 Is biodiversity threatened today?

-There is much debate today over the issue of biodiversity. Some describe the current situation as a severe crisis, whereas others take a more optimistic view. However, the disagreements between scientists are primarily over the extent of the problem, not over whether or not a problem exists.

Fuente: The Primer on Environmental Citizenship.