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Isle of Anglesey County Council


What is biodiversity?


More and more people are realising that the quality of our everyday lives is linked to the health of our local natural environment.

 

In Anglesey we have in our local communities - our towns, villages, coast and countryside - a natural environment that we both need to look after and promote its well-being in future years, so we and our children can benefit from the beauty of nature we have on this island.

Biodiversity is about the natural variety of life we have on earth, the native animals and plants that live around us, and the habitats in which they live. Human activity is causing the Earth’s biodiversity to be lost at a greatly accelerated rate. These losses impoverish us all and damage life support systems we rely on everyday. 

People too are part of biodiversity. Most of the oxygen we breathe comes from plankton in the oceans of the world and lush forests around the globe. The fruit and vegetables we eat were likely pollinated by bees, and the water we drink is part of a huge global cycle involving us, clouds, rainfall, glaciers, rivers and oceans.

Our diet uses plants and animals around us, from the grasses that give us rice and wheat, to the fish and meat from both wild and farmed landscapes. Our bodies each have up to 100 trillion cells and are connected to the wider world – part of a wonderfully complex system.

We share earth with as many as 13 million different living species including plants, animals and bacteria, only 1.75 million of which have been named and recorded. This incredible natural wealth is a priceless treasure. The systems and processes these millions of neighbours collectively provide produce food, water and air– so important for our lives.

As if that was not enough they also supply timber and plant materials for furniture, building and fuel, the mechanisms that regulate climate, control floods and recycle our waste and the compounds and chemicals from which medicines are made. We may take biodiversity so much for granted, and it is so obviously all around us, that it is sometimes easy to forget it’s there - that we are a part of it! The disappearance of unique species is a loss that cannot be calculated and leaves us all much poorer.

The beautiful, bountiful diversity of the natural world is being damaged as a result of human activities. Felling or burning of forests, removal of mangroves, intensive farming, pollution stress, overfishing and the impacts of climate change are all destroying biodiversity. We can stop this loss, the question is will we?