Environmental sustainability : Biodiversity and Biomes - Harnas Wildlife Foundation

Environmental Care and Sustainability

The Bionetwork is the basic platform from which we conduct and to which we accumulate our relevant research data. Here you will find the resulting work of professionals and volunteers alike who have added to the better understanding of all things nature and by studying these results, facts and statistics to better manage, regulate and understand the natural world and the environment.

"Biological diversity" or "biodiversity" can have many interpretations. It is most commonly used to replace the more clearly defined and long established terms, species diversity and species richness. Biologists most often define biodiversity as the "totality of genes, species and ecosystems of a region". An advantage of this definition is that it seems to describe most circumstances and presents a unified view of the traditional three levels at which biological variety has been identified:

Species diversity

Ecosystem diversity

Genetic diversity

In 2003, Professor Anthony Campbell at the Cardiff University, UK and the Darwin Centre, Pembrokeshire, defined a fourth level: Molecular Diversity. This multilevel construct is consistent with Dasmann and Lovejoy. An explicit definition consistent with this interpretation was first given in a paper by Bruce A. Wilcox commissioned by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) for the 1982 World National Parks Conference. Wilcox's definition was "Biological diversity is the variety of life forms at all levels of biological systems (i.e., molecular, organismic, population, species and ecosystem)". The 1992 United Nations Earth Summit defined "biological diversity" as "the variability among living organisms from all sources, including 'inter alia', terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part: this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems". This definition is used in the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity.

One textbook's definition is "variation of life at all levels of biological organization".

Geneticists define it as the diversity of genes and organisms. They study processes such as mutations, gene transfer, and genome dynamics that generate evolution.


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A fundamental classification of biomesis:

Terrestrial (land) biomes

Aquatic biomes (including freshwater biomes and marine biomes)




Biomes are often known in English by local names. For example, a temperate grassland or shrub land biome is known commonly as steppe in central Asia, prairie in North America and pampas in South America. Tropical grasslands are known as savannah in Australia, whereas in Southern Africa it is known as certain kinds of veld (from Afrikaans).

Sometimes an entire biome may be targeted for protection, especially under an individual nation's biodiversity action plan. Climate is a major factor determining the distribution of terrestrial biomes.

Among the important climatic factors are:

  • Latitude: Arctic, boreal, temperate, subtropical, tropical
  • Humidity: humid, semi-humid, semiarid, and arid
  • Seasonal variation: rainfall may be distributed evenly throughout the year or be marked by seasonal variations.
  • Dry summer, wet winter: most regions of the earth receive most of their rainfall during the summer months; Mediterranean climate regions receive their rainfall during the winter months.
  • Elevation: increasing elevation causes a distribution of habitat types similar to that of increasing latitude.
  • The most widely used systems of classifying biomes correspond to latitude (or temperature zoning) and humidity. Biodiversity generally increases away from the pole.

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