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biodiversityBiodiversität (ger.)

  • Diversity of plant and animal life, esp. as represented by the number of extant species. (OED 2010)
    diversity biological diversity Open Slideshow

    Support research related to biodiversity conservation and inventories of species and ecosystems.

    Tangley, L. (1985). A new plan to conserve the earth’s biota. BioScience 35, 334-336; 341: 336.


    In conserving biodiversity, measures like those suggested in our paper, such as designing reserves with climate in mind, might be helpful.

    Peterson, S.J. (1986). [Reply]. BioScience 36, 140.


    Walter G. Rosen […] introduced the term biodiversity, which aptly represents, as well as any term can, the vast array of topics and perspectives covered during the Washington forum [on “BioDiversity, held in Washington, D.C., on September 21–24, 1986”]

    Wilson, E.O. (1988). Foreword. In: Wilson, E.O. (ed.). Biodiversity, v-vii: vi.


    Biodiversity is not simply the number of genes, species, ecosystems, or any other group of things in a defined area. […] A definition of biodiversity that is altogether simple, comprehensive, and fully operational (i.e. responsive to real-life management and regulatory questions) is unlikely to be found. More useful than a definition, perhaps, would be a characterization of biodiversity that identifies the major components at several levels of organization. […] Franklin et al. (1981) recognized three primary attributes of ecosystems: composition, structure, and function. The three attributes determine, and in fact constitute, the biodiversity of an area. Composition has to do with the identity and variety of elements in a collection, and includes species lists and measures of species diversity and genetic diversity. Structure is the physical organization or pattern of a system, from habitat complexity as measured within communities to the pattern of patches and other elements at a landscape scale. Function involves ecological and evolutionary processes, including gene flow, disturbances, and nutrient cycling.

    Noss, R. (1990). Indicators for monitoring biodiversity: a hierarchial approach. Conservation Biology 4, 355-364: 356-7.


    Biodiversity is the property of living systems of being distinct, that is different, unlike. Biological diversity or biodiversity is defined here as the property of groups or classes of living entities to be varied. Thus, each class of entity – gene, cell, individual, species, community, or ecosystem – has more than one kind. Diversity is a fundamental property of every living system. Because biological systems are hierarchical, diversity manifests itself at every level of the biological hierarchy, from molecules to ecosystems.

    Solbrig, O.T. (1991). Biodiversity. Scientific Issues and Collaborative Research Proposals: 9.


    In the simplest of terms, biological diversity is the variety of life and its processes; and it includes the variety of living organisms, the genetic differences among them, and the communities and ecosystems in which they occur.

    Keystone Center (1991). Final Consensus Report of the Keystone Policy Dialogue on Biological Diversity on Federal Lands: 6.


    ‘Biological diversity’ means the variability among living organisms from all sources [...] and the ecological complexes of which they are part; it includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems.

    United Nations Environmental Programme (1992). Convention on Biological Diversity: Article 2.


    It [viz. creating the term ‘biodiversity’ in preparing the 1986 Forum on BioDiversity in Washington D.C.] was easy to do: all you do is take the ‘logical’ out of ‘biological’. […] To take the logical out of something that’s supposed to be science is a bit of a contradiction in terms, right? And, yet, of course, that’s why I get impatient with the Academy, because they’re always so logical that there seems to be no room for emotion in there, no room for spirit.

    Rosen, W.G. (1992). [Interview statement on March 30, 1992]. In: Takacs, D. (1996). The Idea of Biodiversity. Philosophies of Paradise: 37.


    When Rosen and other NAS staff members approached me to serve as editor of the proceedings, I argued for “biological diversity”, the term I and others had favored to that time. Biodiversity, I said, is too catchy; it lacks dignity. But Rosen and his colleagues persisted. Biodiversity is simpler and more distinctive, they insisted, so the public will remember it more easily.

    Wilson, E.O. (1994). Naturalist: 359.


    If biodiversity is blurry and all-encompassing, that is in part why it has been so successful as a conservation buzzword [...]. Biodiversity has entered the dictionary, people respond to it, it works, because each of us can find in it what we cherish [...]. What is it you most prize in the natural world? Yes, biodiversity is that, too. In biodiversity each of us finds a mirror for our most treasured natural images, our most fervent environmental concerns. [...]

    The complexity of the biodiversity concept does not only mirror the natural world it supposedly represents; it is that plus the complexity of human interactions with the natural world, the inextricable skein of our values and its value, of our inability to separate our concept of a thing from the thing itself. Don’t know what biodiversity is? You can’t.

    Takacs, D. (1996). The Idea of Biodiversity. Philosophies of Paradise: 81; 341.


    Biodiversity is so all-inclusive that it has become meaningless.

    Lautenschlager, R.A. (1997). Biodiversity is dead. Wildlife Society Bulletin 25, 679-685: 679.


    “Biological diversity'” is a mouthful, especially if one is organizing a conference on the topic and must use the term countless times every day for weeks on end. And so, early in the planning for that forum, I condensed and combined. “Biodiversity'” rolls much more easily off the tongue, conveying the same meaning in a third fewer syllables. Mr. Wilson’s reservations notwithstanding, the term quickly caught on.

    Rosen, W.B. (1997). Coining a Catchword. The New York Times, Feb. 23, 1997.


    I propose the following general definition of biodiversity: Biodiversity = differences among biological entities. Biodiversity, therefore, is not a property of any one biological entity. Rather, it is an emergent property of collections of entities. More precisely, it is the differences among them. […] biodiversity is a description of a condition or state of affairs

    Wood, P.M. (2000). Biodiversity and Democracy. Rethinking Society and Nature: 40; 48.


    biodiversity is to be (implicitly) defined as what is being conserved by the practice of conservation biology [...]
    Biodiversity will be relativized in two ways: (i) the definition will only try to say if place A has higher (or the same or lower) biodiversity than B; and (ii) it will do so only against a background set of places Π. What our procedure (or algorithm) must do is this: given Π and a set of new places, Σ, the algorithm must prioritize these places on the basis of biodiversity using the surrogate lists for Π and for each place in Σ. This will be done by considering two places at each stage and iterating the process over the entire set of places, Π, resulting, finally, in a prioritized list. […]
    biodiversity is the relation used to prioritize places.

    Sarkar, S. (2002). Defining “biodiversity”, assessing biodiversity. The Monist 85, 131-155: 146-7; 148.


    biodiversity should be (implicitly) operationally defined as what is being optimized by the place prioritization procedures that prioritize all places on the basis of their biodiversity content using true surrogates. Thus biodiversity is the relation used to prioritize places.

    Sarkar, S. (2005). Biodiversity and Environmental Philosophy: 182.


    [The] definition of biodiversity [...] must be rich enough to capture all that we mean by, and value in, nature.

    Norton, B. (2006). Toward a policy-relevant definition of biodiversity. In: Scott, J.M., Goble, D.D. & Davis, F.W. (eds.). The Endangered Species Act at Thirty, vol. 2, 49-58: 57.


    While arising from two or more kinds (instances) of a biotic or biotia-encompassing category, “biodiversity” refers to the state of affairs arising from the differences whereby the kinds are distinguished. It does not refer to the kinds themselves, to the particular identities of these kinds, or to the particular objects that ultimately underlie the kinds.

    Maier, D.S. (2012). What’s So Good About Biodiversity? A Call for Better Reasoning About Nature’s Value: 75. 

Gaston, K.J. (ed.) (1996). Biodiversity. A Biology of Numbers and Difference.

Takacs, D. (1996). The Idea of Biodiversity. Philosophies of Paradise.

Janich, P., Gutmann, M. & Prieß, K. (eds.) (2001). Biodiversität. Wissenschaftliche Grundlagen und gesetzliche Relevanz.

Eser, U. (2001). Die Grenze zwischen Wissenschaft und Gesellschaft neu definieren: boundary work am Beispiel des Biodiversitätsbegriffs. Verh. Gesch. Theor. Biol. 7, 135-152.

Oksanen, M. & Pietarinen, J. (eds.) (2004). Philosophy and Biodiversity.

Sarkar, S. (2005). Biodiversity and Environmental Philosophy.

Farnham, T.J. (2007). Saving Nature’s Legacy. Origins of the Idea of Biological Diversity.

Potthast, T. (ed.) (2007). Biodiversität – Schlüsselbegriff des Naturschutzes im 21. Jahrhundert?

Maclaurin, J. & Sterelny, K. (2008). What is Biodiversity?

Maier, D.S. (2012). What’s So Good About Biodiversity? A Call for Better Reasoning About Nature’s Value.