Biodiversity, a contraction of biological diversity, refers to the number, variety and variability of living organisms, including mankind, within a given area.

A reduction or 'loss' of biodiversity undermines not only the natural environment, but also the economic and social goals of human societies, as mankind depends on natural resources for the food, energy, raw materials, clean air and clean water making life possible. The importance of preserving biodiversity, and the possible consequences of not doing so, has made it an international issue.

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