Our food and energy security strongly depend on biodiversity and so does our vulnerability to natural hazards such as fires and flooding. Biodiversity loss has negative effects on our health, material wealth and it largely limits our freedom of choice. As all cultures gain inspiration from or attach spiritual and religious values to ecosystems or their components – e.g. landscapes, trees, hills, rivers or particular species - biodiversity loss also strongly influences our social relations

  • Biodiversity is essential to global food security and nutrition and also serves as a safety-net to poor households during times of crisis.
  • Increased diversity of genes within species e.g. as represented by livestock breeds or strains of plants, reduces risk from diseases and increases potential to adapt to changing climates.
  • More than 70,000 plant species are used in traditional and modern medicine.
  • The value of global ecosystem services is estimated at $16-$64 trillion.


Every decision we take that affects biodiversity, also affects our lives and the lives of other people. Biodiversity is crucial to human wellbeing, sustainable development and poverty reduction. But people - particularly those in the developed world - have become so far removed from nature that they have forgotten how much they, and others, rely on it.

In the long term, the value of services lost may greatly exceed the short-term economic benefits that are gained from transforming ecosystems. When we modify an ecosystem to improve a service it provides, this generally also results in changes to other ecosystem services. For example, actions to increase food production can lead to reduced water availability in terms of quantity and quality for other users. This can result in the degradation of many services, such as fisheries, water supply, and protection against natural hazards, seriously affecting people’s well-being.