Yellow and black frog on moss plant

Celebrating Australia’s amazing biodiversity, such as this unique southern corroboree frog, is what biodiversity month is all about.

Biodiversity Month 2012

September 2012 is Biodiversity month in Australia and CSIRO is showcasing their exciting research in this field.

  • 6 September 2012

Introduction

Page 1 of 7

What is biodiversity?

Biodiversity is the variety of all living organisms on earth and at all levels of organisation. 

It incorporates living things from all parts of the globe including land, sea and freshwaters. 

It incorporates all forms of life – bacteria, viruses, plants, fungi, invertebrate animals, and animals with backbones.

However, biodiversity is not simply a list of species.  It also includes the natural processes that keep the living world working.

Why is biodiversity important?

The natural world provides humans with raw materials for direct consumption and production, and from which to make money. 

We harvest fish and timber, for example, and make from them food and goods with utilitarian value to sell into the marketplace.

Biodiversity provides us with the healthy, functioning ecosystems that make up the earth, without which human societies could not exist. 

Nature delivers to us a supply of oxygen, clean water, pollination of plants, pest control, and so on – benefits now known as ‘ecosystem services’.

Other benefits of biodiversity include:

  • recreational; through which the natural world provides opportunity for human rejuvenation
  • the aesthetic significance of biodiversity; the beauty and splendour of nature can inspire simply through contemplation of the essence of the non-human world
  • its scientific value; which calls attention to the worth of the systematic data collected by scientists in helping to understand the natural world, its origins, and the place of the human species within it.

What is happening to our biodiversity?

Threats to biodiversity are numerous and human activity is responsible for most of them. 

  • habitat loss and degradation
  • unsustainable and destructive use of resources
  • pollution
  • introduction of exotic pests and diseases
  • deteriorating water levels and quality
  • human-induced climate change

Our research

Australia has a rich and unique biodiversity and CSIRO is leading a landmark national effort to provide the know-how to slow the rate of biodiversity decline in Australia by 2020.