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Topics in Depth

Biodiversity

What is biodiversity and how do we measure it? Biodiversity refers to the variety of life on Earth at all levels of organization. There are estimated to be more than 11,000 tree species in the Amaz...

Threats to Biodiversity: Habitat Loss

Habitat loss is one of the biggest threats to biodiversity—it is the number one reason species go extinct. Clearcutting forests to create fields, filling in wetlands to build houses, and creating...

Threats to Biodiversity: Invasive Species

Invasive species are the second largest threat to biodiversity after habitat loss. An invasive species is a species that is not native to a particular area, but arrives (usually with human help), e...

Threats to Biodiversity: Pollution

You might have heard about the hole in the ozone layer. To understand what it is and why it is important, we'll first look at what ozone does in our atmosphere. The atmosphere is divided into two l...

Threats to Biodiversity: Overexploitation

Overexploitation means harvesting species from the wild at rates faster than natural populations can recover. Overfishing and overhunting are both types of overexploitation. Currently, about a thir...

Conservation Strategies: Population and Species Levels

We have all these problems, but how do conservation biologists deal with them? Conservation efforts can focus on different levels of organization as their target: population, species, landscape, or...

Conservation Strategies: Landscape and Ecosystem Levels

Landscapes and ecosystems can also be targets of conservation efforts. Sometimes it is not just one species, but a whole group of interconnected species that need protection. Why focus on one type...

Conservation Groups

We talked about a few ways conservation happens: population recovery, recolonization, and creating reserves. Some conservation groups also get involved in restoration, the process of recreating hab...

Protected Areas

Protected areas are regions of land or water that have restrictions on human activities, to conserve the area's natural resources. Protected areas often refer to national parks or state parks, but...

Laws and Treaties

There are international, federal and state laws that are designed to conserve natural resources. Here are some of the more important ones: Name Year What it does...

Common Mistakes

BiodiversityBiodiversity refers to all living things, not just the organisms we can see, and not just the organisms people tend to like (cute furry animals, usually). While conservation biology aim...

Test Your Knowledge

Biodiversity1. Currently, the taxon with the highest number of described species is:a. Bacteriab. Fungic. Plantsd. Insectse. Mammals2. What is the term for the number of species in an area?a. Intri...

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