What is Biodiversity?

Biodiversity or biological diversity simply means the amount of different species in any given habitat or ecosystem and includes people, plants, animals, fungi and micro-organisms. Biodiversity can be used as another term for nature, natural heritage or wildlife.

Biodiversity is everywhere and all around us; from gardens to hedgerows, woodlands to wetlands, rivers to coastlines. It is even found in man-made structures such as stone walls, buildings, canals and parks.

In Galway City we come into contact with biodiversity every day – walking along the prom or through Barna woods, watching the swans in the Claddagh and the colours of the wet meadows along the Corrib as they change with the seasons.

Some habitats have a high biodiversity (e.g. woodlands which provide a home for a multitude of plants, birds, mammals, insects and fungi) whereas others have relatively low biodiversity (e.g. a regularly mowed lawns).

Why Biodiversity is Important

Biodiversity supports life on earth and is part of all our daily lives. We depend on biodiversity for clean air and water, healthy soils, food, building materials, and medicines.

The Role of Biodiversity

  • Provides the raw material of food, clothing, building materials and medicines
  • Contributes to the livelihoods of many people
  • Enhances our quality of life
  • Helps shape our culture
  • Provides environmental services such as pollution control, flood attenuation and erosion prevention