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.”
The preservation and sustainable use of biological diversity are considered to be an important basis for human well-being. The destruction and fragmentation of habitats is regarded as the greatest danger by far for biological diversity on the earth.
The five most important factors which are the main causes of reduction in global biodiversity are:
- Changes in land use; in particular, deforestation and the transformation of natural ecosystems into areas for agricultural use.
- Climate changes, including rainfall and temperature.
- Nitrogen loading on waters. Records on artificial fertilizers, faeces and car exhaust fumes are named as primarily responsible.
- Introduction of neophytes
- Increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Replacing fossil fuels and wood with alternative energy sources, an increase in the number of protected areas to protect primary ecosystems (particularly in the tropical rain forests) and the preservation of the current level of diversity in nature and the countryside, are seen as appropriate measures to counter reduction of biodiversity. Interaction of all powers in society (state, economy, civil society) are seen as part of the process in completing this complex task.