The Biodiversity Check for companies is a corporate environment or biodiversity management instrument. It was developed by Global Nature Fund, dokeo (a consultancy firm which focusses on corporate social responsibility, sustainability and innovation) and other organisations. The check gives initial guidance on how to identify the effects and dependency different business sectors have on ecological diversity. The check is based on the aims of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD):
For a geographical area, where biodiversity is particularly richand can be characterised by being in a particularly precarious position with regards to conservation, the term biodiversity hotspot has become well established. Hotspots are defined as areas with a high number of endemic plant species which have already lost the major part of their original habitat in the area. The criterium of variety of species and that of endangerment are therefore considered an indicator, derived from the extent of habitat loss. The 34 designated hotspots across the world only cover a total area of 2.3% of the earth’s total land area.
According to the international Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), biodiversity means “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.”
A distinctively mountainous region at the intesection of the Europe and Asia, between Christianity and Islam, the Republic of Armenia does not only have a cultural heritage of world-wide importance. The Caucasus, to which Armenia belongs, is one of 34 global biodiversity hotspots whose wealth of species and habitats is of world-wide importance. Armenia is distinguished by its exemplary variety of ecosystems due to big differences in topography and climate within the country.
In the meantime only 7 – 8% of the land surface is covered by forest, whereby forest still constituted 35% of the land surface two hundred years ago.1 The existing forests are degraded in many ways and they have changed their species composition towards that of coppices. Soil erosion, landslides and changes in local climate also go hand-in-hand with this.
Along with the forest ecosystems, the dry and alpine steppes and the subalpine and alpine vegetation zones are already seriously degraded; through uncontrolled overgrazing, the natural layer of vegetation is being destroyed and the soil eroded by the wind and rain. In addition to losing valuable farming and grazing land which has serious economical consequences for Armenia’s agriculture, it also shows an increase in land slides and flooding in the mountan regions here as a consequence. In Armenia’s semi-deserts, in addition to the overgrazing, there are also problems with salinization due to intensive artificial watering of areas where fruit and vegetables are cultivated. Overall, it is assumed that more than 80% of the land surface is affected by desertification.