Handbook on the Convention on Biological Diversity

Biological diversity—or biodiversity—is the term given to the variety of life on Earth, including plants, animals and micro-organisms, as well as the ecosystems of
which they are part. Biodiversity includes genetic differences within species, the diversity of species and the variety of ecosystems. It is the result of the interaction
of species, including humans, with one another and with the air, water and soil around them. This combination of life forms—ecosystems, species and genetic varieties—has made Earth a uniquely habitable place and provides the goods and services that sustain our lives, such as clean air and water, food and medicine, fuel, fibre, and material for construction. Our cultures are founded upon the different environments in which they have developed.