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What is the measurement of biodiversity?

Biodiversity is defined as “The number and variety of organisms found within a specified geographic region.” or “The variability among living organisms on the earth, including the variability within and between species and within and between ecosystems.” The measurement of biodiversity is thus the objective or relative measurement of biodiversity in an area.

 

Why is biodiversity measurement important?

The measurement of biodiversity is crucial in assessing the importance of an area in terms of it's natural value (useful when planning which areas to conserve for the purpose of conserving biodiversity), in assessing the damage done to an area in terms of the loss of biodiversity (such as through industrial development) and in assessing the effects of conservation practices and measures on an ecosystem.

 

How is biodiversity measured?

 

Biodiversity is measured in an area by collecting data on the number and type of living organisms present in the area and using  standardized mathematical indices to analyse the data collected. These indices can then be interpreted to give us an idea of the amount of biodiversity present in an area, compare the amount of biodiversity between different areas, and between different times (like before and after an anthropogenic disturbance). Thus one can estimate whether biodiversity in an area is reducing or increasing over time which (this is called biodiversity monitoring (coming soon)).

 

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Procedure for measuring biodiversity

 

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References

Magurran A. Measuring Biological Diversity