the 'Web of Life'
Biodiversity is the web of life. The word is short for 'biological diversity'. Everything is interconnected. Biodiversity includes all living things from humans, animals, plants and fungi down to the tiniest organism.
Soils are kept healthy, and therefore productive, by microbes, worms, insects and all manner of burrowing animals. They turn decaying plant and animal matter into soil enriching material.
Plants grow in soil. They put oxygen into the air for us to breathe. Plants, as well as tiny organisms, filter our water. Plants feed us. Plants feed animals which in turn are used by us. Medicines are made from plants.
Birds and insects spread seeds and pollen which helps plants reproduce.
Biodiversity feeds and clothes us, provides us shelter, clean air and water. It is an essential part of our lives. If we destroy the plants and animals that are part of the biodiversity, then we lose those benefits they provide.
There are an estimated 10 to 100 million species of living things on earth. Today, humans are destroying species faster than at other time in earth's history. It has been estimated by scientists that approximately 8 species an hour, 70,000 a year, are being destroyed.
Biodiversity in Australia
|Biodiversity in Australia is more diverse than most other places in the world because we have more unique species than anywhere else. Yet in Australia, 10 out of 144 species of marsupial have become extinct. Three species of emu are extinct. More than 100 species of mammal are endangered or vulnerable. Nearly half of Australia's forests are gone (and that figure includes three quarters of our rainforests), so that many of the other forms of forest life are badly affected. Less than 1% of our native grasslands remain, so grassland animals are seriously threatened.
Thylacine or Tasmanian tiger, a marsupial dog, is presumed extinct
A biodiversity hotspot is a place where more species are threatened with extinction than anywhere else in the world.There are 25 such hotspots in the world. The south west of Western Australia is a biodiversity hotspot.
|What can we do?
*plant native plants or help revegetate bushland areas to attract native birds and animals
*create a habitat garden: native plants in layers (leaf litter, low plants then taller shrubs then trees), add logs and rocks for lizards
*make a wetlands habitat to attract frogs to your garden
*remove weeds: they are not native plants and can smother or overtake native habitat
Go here to find out more about actions you and your class or whole school can undertake: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29yhZbnWfzk
Go here for more
information about biodiversity
If you use any of this information in your own work acknowledge this source in your bibliography like this:
Sydenham, Shirley. & Thomas, Ron. Biodiversity [Online] www.kidcyber.com.au 
April 2013 copyright © kidcyber
Please contact kidcyber if you find broken links etc. that need repair.