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Biodiversity: Why it Matters and What You Can Do

Published February 1, 2023

Learn what it takes to become a biodiversity booster, and help make the world a more colorful, wilder, healthier, and well, more awesome place.

What is Biodiversity?

Biodiversity might just sound like another one of those fancy words that scientists enjoy tossing around, but it's actually an important concept that affects us all. Biodiversity refers to the variety of different plants and animals in an ecosystem. It helps keep the ecosystem healthy and balanced, and is important for the planet and for humans. According to one study published in the journal "Nature," biodiversity plays a critical role in maintaining the Earth's life-support systems, including air and water quality, pollination of crops, and climate regulation (Gaston, K.J. et al., 2000).

The Benefits of Biodiversity

One of the main benefits of biodiversity is that it helps maintain the balance of an ecosystem. Different species have different roles to play, and when there is a diverse range of species present, it helps to keep everything running smoothly.

For example, some plants may provide food for insects, which in turn may be eaten by birds. If a species in the food chain were to disappear, it could have domino effect on the rest of the ecosystem. And, according to a report by the United Nations, the loss of biodiversity is happening at an unprecedented rate, with around 1 million species at risk of extinction (Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, 2019). This is why it is so important to protect biodiversity – it helps to ensure that ecosystems remain healthy and resilient.

Promoting Biodiversity

But promoting biodiversity isn't just good for the environment – it can also benefit you and your community directly. For example, having a variety of plants and animals in your yard can make it a more enjoyable place to spend time.

Watching birds at a feeder or listening to the sounds of crickets and frogs at night can be a relaxing and enriching experience. In addition, promoting biodiversity can also help to improve air and water quality, which can have a positive impact on your health and the health of your community. According to a study published in the "International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health," exposure to green spaces and biodiversity can improve mental health and well-being (Bratman, G.N. et al., 2015).

Keeping an Eye on Biodiversity

So how can you measure and monitor biodiversity in your own backyard? One way is to keep a record of the different species you see. This can be as simple as making a list of the types of birds that visit your feeder, or as detailed as creating a complete inventory of the plants and animals in your yard. You can also use tools like camera traps or citizen science programs to help monitor biodiversity. By keeping track of the species in your yard, you can see how your efforts to promote biodiversity are paying off and identify any changes that might need to be made.

Biodiversity In Your Own Backyard

You might not have thought about it before, but you have the power to make a positive impact on the environment right in your own backyard by promoting biodiversity. One way to do this is to create a habitat for native plants and animals. You could set up a bird feeder or a small pond in your yard, and plant native flowers, trees, and shrubs to provide food and shelter for local species. Don't know what plants are native to your area? Ask your local nursery or do some research online to find out which plants will thrive in your region.

Another way to promote biodiversity is to reduce your use of chemicals in the yard. Pesticides and fertilizers can harm a variety of species, including bees, birds, and butterflies. Instead of using these products, try using natural alternatives or simply letting certain areas of your yard grow wild. This will provide a habitat for a wider range of species and also reduce your impact on the environment. Plus, it can save you money on expensive chemicals and give you a sense of pride in creating a naturally beautiful space.

Biodiversity In Your Community

You can also get involved in local conservation efforts to promote biodiversity. Participate in beach cleanups, join a nature club, or volunteer at a local wildlife sanctuary. These activities not only help to preserve local ecosystems, but they also provide an opportunity for you to learn more about the plants and animals in your area. And who knows, you might even get to hold a cute, cuddly animal (just make sure to wash your hands afterwards).

A fantastic example of a local conservation effort that had amazing results is the High Line in New York City. The High Line is a 1.45-mile-long elevated park built on an abandoned railroad track. When the park was built, the designers took into account the needs of local plants and animals, and now the park is home to over 150 species of native plants and over 200 species of birds, insects, and mammals (Friends of the High Line, 2020).

Finally, educate yourself and others about the importance of biodiversity. Share what you've learned with your friends and family, and encourage them to make small changes in their own yards to support local ecosystems. You can also get involved in school or community events focused on environmentalism and conservation. The more people who understand the importance of biodiversity, the more likely we are to take action to protect it.

By taking these actions, you can make a real difference in promoting biodiversity and creating a more diverse and sustainable world for all of us. So don't wait – start taking action today and help to create a healthier and more balanced ecosystem in your own backyard. You don't need a lab coat or a degree in biology to make a difference – all you need is a desire to make the world a better place for all living things.


  • Gaston, K.J. et al. (2000). Biodiversity and ecosystem services: a multi-scale empirical study of the relationship between species richness and net primary production. Nature, 405(6787), 342-345.
  • Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. (2019). Global assessment report on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Retrieved from https://ipbes.net/global-assessment-report-biodiversity-ecosystem-services
  • Bratman, G.N. et al. (2015). Nature and mental health: An ecosystem service perspective. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 12(10), 12356-12374.
  • Friends of the High Line. (2020). Ecology. Retrieved from https://www.thehighline.org/ecology/

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