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Last updated at 10:32 GMT, Thursday, 28 January 2010

News Words: Biodiversity

An coral reef in Indonesia

Coral reefs have some of the most extensive biodiversiy on the planet

The BBC's Clare Arthurs looks at some of the words and phrases often used in the news and their meanings in various contexts.

This week: biodiversity


Clare Arthurs on: biodiversity

Related vocabulary


related to living things




the animals and plants in a particular geographical area and how they interact with each other


the pattern of weather in a particular place


the natural place where particular animals or plants live

industrial agriculture

farming which takes place on a very large and intensive scale which changes the land where it takes place

A challenge for you

How do you feel about the state of biodiversity in your country? Is it healthy or something that is of concern?

Send us your short 'news story' on this topic and don't forget to use the word 'biodiversity'.

We'll publish our favourites on this page.

This topic has now closed. Thanks for all your comments.

Nguyen, Viet Nam
Hello, I'm a tenth-grade student in a small village in Viet Nam. My English is not very good, so if I have some mistakes in grammar or writing, please help me to correct. I've just learnt (learned) about the word "biodiversity", which means "variety of organism". I agree with all of you that the protection of biodiversity is a very important problem now. We know that human life sometimes depends on plants and animals, which however more or less, all contribute to earth's biodiversity. Unless biodiversity are maintain, human life will be at stake.

Alison , Hong kong
The place I live is a jungle concrete . It's hardly to find a suitable habitat for wild animals settle down in HK. Wanna have a look at bobcat or other kinds of biped critters , HK won't be your choice. High-rising building, heavy traffic and neon signs must be the common scene for foreigners to walk around in HK.

Erzsike, Hungary
Life on Earth has almost died out many times since it developed. It's absolutely natural that species die out and new ones come as nature is like a huge laborytory. The sad thing, however, is that now we humans endanger the lives of other plants and animals. I believe in divine guidance and I am sure that one day the balance we destroyed will be restored. Dinosours were killed by a huge asteroid, it could happen to us any time as well. Biodiversity as we know it is symply a temprary state that is changing continously.

Carlos, Spain
In my country, specially in my village, gobernment doesn't take care about look after our biodiversity. They prefer to build huge industries without control or big resorts by the beach. Please, save our natural enviroment, the future is ours.

Misako, Japan
Japan consists of islands, so biodiversity relatively has been protected by nature. However, as trade and movement of people beyond borders increased, the problems of extinction of domestic species have occurred, due to foreign species inhabiting Japan for some reason. For example, a black bass was imported to many ponds for fishing fans, but they ate up other native fishes and the number of black basses has been rising. Eventually it became a thread to biodiversity in ponds.The difficulty of this problem is how to regulate importing plants and animals which influence to ecosystem is not sure whether it is harmful or good. On the other hand, there are varying demands for new species such as agriculture industry and just fun. I believe unless their influence is clear, we should not accept foreign species.

Salina Akhter Bangladesh
In my country biodiversity is a very important topic.Because we are the people of third world country.Our population are increasing at an alarming rate which is related to biodiversity.The growing rate of population cause effect to biodiversity.We should protect biodiversity for our exsistance. But it is too difficult for our government.We should create awereness.

Leva, Latvia
Biodiversity is something that should be protected for the sake of future! Different kind of pollution is boosting rapidly and mostly people don't strive stopping it, but should... Probably the shortage of mainstream education or simple understanding is missing. I really don't know why mostly people don't worry about it like I do.

Ripon, Bangladesh
I am upset of losing biodiversity of my country. There are serious pollution such as air pollution, water pollution as a result of household waste and busy transport in Hong Kong. It is important for the government to raise public awareness of envirnment through education.

The pollution in my city is terrible and it is very sad that the goverment here does not do anything about it, I wish everybody in the world could co-operate and try to save our planet because this situation does not only happen in my country but in many other countries, and what is worse is that there are some people that are quite ignorant and still throw garbage on the streets and through the windows without knowing that it affects to our planet.All goverments in the world should promote the education instead of thinking of opening big factories that harm our ecosystem, it is good to prevent and take care of our world because If we donnot do it now, then when catastrophe happens it will be too late.

Ana, Colombia
In my country are two kinds of people, there are some who take care about biodiversity and there are some who live in the cities that destroy it. Nevertheless right now the people is more concience about it and be more aware of the importance of the enviroment.

Karthikeyan, India
The biodiversity in my country was extremely healthy in the past decades, but not now. I'm deeply concerned about the fertile agricultural land, for it is being transformed into plot of building land. The economy of a country in the 21st century is going to be based on food and water resources. Ironically, my country is loosing its rich agricultural land day after day.It's a serious concern for all Indians. I feel everyone should realize the importance of the biodiversity and the government must take a great deal of effort to preserve the biodiversity in the country. 'The sooner the better'.

Kate, Ukraine
Biodiversity is life. Our planet can die without plants and animals, we must protect them.Respect and love the Earth.

Alice, Hong Kong
I am upset of losing biodiversity of my country. There are serious pollution such as air pollution, water pollution as a result of household waste and busy transport in Hong Kong. It is important for the government to raise public awareness of envirnment through education.

Fehmi, Cyprus
In my country we are experts at destroying habitats and ecosystems. For example in 1995 we burned about 60% of our land, but perhaps these fires were started accidentally ? Huge holes have been cut into the mountains to extract stone, destroying the natural habitat of many species. There used to be a species of eagle but they have been hunted to extinction. It's a depressing picture, I'm afraid.

Take care of biodiversity, The nature must be preservation. The future depends the preservation for all the especies

Asmaa, Morocco
We're a part of this huge world. We share the earth with many other species. Although, we're the ones who lead and can make difference. The futur of our planet depends on our behaviour toward the environement.Our developpement has to be in harmony with nature by respecting the biodiversity of our planet. Each living kind has the right to live in its natural habitat without being damaged by man's behaviour: Pollution, deforestation, upgrowing cities...Humans are the loosers everytime an animal or a plant extinct because all species are important for humans well-being and of the equilibrium of our planet as well.So far people have to be aware of this issue and act to prevent the desastre.In my country, many bio reserves and national parks have been created to preserve species in danger. Unfortunatly that still unsufficient, many efforts have to be done in the futur all over the world.

Olga, Ukraine
In my country biodiversity needs help. There isn't ecological disaster in Ukraine, but people don't understand the value of that they have now. And day after day affect it: they eliminate animals, plants directly or not, doesn't matter, not thinking about the result. I worry about it very much. Because I am aware of there is our home and we leave it for our children in such state. "Would you like your progeny to live in the wasteland" - I'd ask people if I had power to do it. Just for thinking and realizing... Thank you!

Mauro, Italy
Biodiversity? What's that? The biodiversity rate is inversely proportional to the number of people living on a land and their economical growth. What kind of biodiversity there can still be in my very small (in surface) country with 60 milion people continuously growing? Oh! But this isn't A problem of my country! It's THE EARTH PROBLEM!

Elena, Italy
Biodiversity should be a common tought. I live in Umbria,a region in the centre of Italy which is considerated "the green heart" because its beautiful natural parks. I hope this source of wellbeing for human people and animals can continue to be preserved from pollution and property speculations. Umbria's challenge is the reduction of carbon dioxide of's a concrete aim...what about other regions or countries?

Tomoko, Japan
Japan is the developed country in the world. We have used so much energy and resources after the secound world war. As a result, Japan became one of the counrties whose the rate of CO2 production is high. In spite of the population of our country, CO2 production is higher than many other countiries. So, the state of biodiversity is something that is of concern for us. We have tons of problems that is related to biodiversity. Recently, we have started thinking about environment and ecosystems more seriously.We began to aviod using prastic bag when we go shopping, try to walk to somewhere instead of taking taxi or car. This fact is very important, then if we keep these things in our mind, I think it is not possible to reprotect our biodiversity.

Edgar A, Guatemala CA
The mountains knows as "Sierra de las Minas" are among those places of the words witha a great variety of plants and animals. Flora and fauna is somethins that make up the most valueble trearures we have. Unfortunatelly the men's hands is a factor of destruction. Urgently actions should be promted.

Olga, Russia
I do agree with all of you. The protection of biodiversity is our current concern. What will next generations have? Only memories from the past. It's a sad story. Some time ago there used to be countless herds of saiga antelopoes in the region called Kalmykia in the south of the Russian Federation. Nowadays you hardly run across even a flock of sheep. I seems to me, that unless humans stop destroying the Earth's biodiversity, we will lose even primitive organisms in the near future.

Anastasia, Transnestria
We have a small biodiversity here in Transnistria and many of the animals are on the decline. That signifies people's and government's impossibility to protect them from the extinction. This impossibility is being caused by the lack of money. Apart from this how can you look after your habitat when you can't work out the problem of human poverty at the same time? Therefore the biodiversity protection should be a concern of those people who have enough finance sources and are able to share it. Authorities having great powers can fix it by law.

Yohei, Japan
The protection of biodiversity is the very issue we have faced. It is the pressing problem. How can I solve it?. At least I can say that it is impossible for me to solve it, but it is possible for us to do it, and take action.

Ali, Somalia
biodiversity is a great capital misery here in our country because we see massive animal extinctions vanishing day after day because of human impact. Preserving species and their habitats is important for ecosystems to self-sustain themselves. However the world should act quickly to respond this global issue.

Cristina Mexico
Hello, thanks for the opportunity to write about some places in my country.Chiapas is a Mexican southern state.Due to its geographical location Chiapas is home to a great biodiversity. A significant proportion of the forests of Chiapas have been preserved; the Lacandon Jungle is particularly significant because of its rich biodiversity. In recent decades, the jungle has suffered serious degradation due to the megaprojects for exploitation of timber and livestock farming, which of course harms biodiversity. Indigenous communities are proposing alternatives that would allow them to continue coexisting with nature and preserve the biodiversity

Xavier, Spain
Certain parts of Spain, specially the southern part, are suffering of desertification, so it's something I'm very concerned about, because this is threatening biodiversity: forests are disappearing, glaciers are melting, year after year more animals and vegetables are extincted, and so on. And everything happening on nature affects our everyday life: year after year our planet is becoming drier and more hostile for settling in because the nature balance is broken. We have to encourage our governments to endure their policies in order to ensure a better future for our children. I think it's possible to improve our everyday live by protecting nature, which is our second mother. If we treat nature as a part of ourselves, she (nature) will bring us her gifts. Because without biodiversity...Who are we? We are nothing without it.

Emanuela, Brazil
I live in south Brazil and I have the same feeling as Phewlliawg, from China, that wrote a comment bellow. When I was a kid, I used to play with fireflies. They are little insects that produce a yellow blinking light. They used to appear in big groups, every summer night. Now twenty years have passed, and during the last summer I just saw two single fireflies - two lonely lights blinking sadly in the garden. It's hard to believe that many species that built beautiful memories from our childhoods won't be here to be seen by our sons. The rich biodiversity on Earth seems to slowly become just a story, written in old books.

Doru, Romania
I think that the bottom line in preserving biodiversity is the protection of the vegetation and especially the forest. Plants are situated at the begining of the troffic chains and if they disappear then all the animals that were supported by them will eventualy become extinct. In my country by the end of the nineteenth century, eighty per cent of the land was occupied by forests and the level of biodiversity was very good. But in recent years, the massive deforestation that took place in many countries all over the globe including Romania, has caused the restraining of the areal of many plant and animal species (nowadays about one quarter of the country`s territory is coverded with forest). Cutting down the forest not only provokes great biodiversity loss but also very significant changes in climate like long periods of drought, floods and irreversible desertification. I hope it won`t be too late when humankind realizes and does something for its own preservation.

Gam, Nigeria
This made me to recall when our environment was quite cooler, greener, and thus more lively as we interact mutually with birds and other animals. But, now, with uncontrolled level of deforestation, bush-burning, desert encroachment, etc. Barely, could I say life is the same, rather it deteriorates, degenerates and if care isn't taken, it may whither and ...

Rodrigo, Brazil
We are losing our biodiversity in Mato Grosso since the 80s when the industrial agriculture started to increase fastly. The farmers didn't care about the limit of deforestation in their properts. Now the country is organising new laws to protect our Amazon and others ecosystems, but we have few contingent to defense our forests.

Thierry, France
Our concerns are not biodiversity in our own country. In fact, it has been shown and this point is well-known nowadays, that pollution, GM foods and so on, are invasive and don't stop at the border of countries. So the biodiversity of the entire world is our problem. Furthermore, the greed of mankind and its amazing growth imply that biodiversity is in danger. Besides,the more we are on our tiny little earth, and the more the biodiversity is decreasing. Is there a solution? I'm afraid not! We are not able to choose between economic growth, population expansion, and biodiversity.

Alex, P.R.C.
Saying that how china can protect biodiversity while keeping economic growth at the same time, I think china already take their action and try their best to milimize the harms to the biodiversity. have your western country thought a little about biodiversity when you in industrilization? it's totally unfair when you enforce china to undertake all the liability for the climate change?

Vitoria, Brazil
It has been estimated that 50% of all biodiversity of the world is concentrated here in Brazil. However, due to some problems such as illegal trade of animals, deforestation and more recently because of the global warming, a lot of Brazilian animals are threatened by extinction. For example, the little blue macaw (Cyanopsitta spixii) and the golden marmoset (Leontopithecus rosalia), a small orange-yellow monkey, are endangered or on the brink of extinction. It is a sad fact to know that humans probably will cause the extinction of many animals in the next 30 years, unless we work to protect them now.

Ferran, Spain
This article reminds me of a typical animal from my country: the linx (we call it "lince"), a beautiful and elegant animal that looks like a mix between a cat and a tiger. It is an endangered species, mainly because of human activities like illegal hunting.Like the linx, there are many other endangered or extinct species. Some are due to natural causes, but many are our fault.It's important for us to protect biodiversity, because the environment has many connections and dependences between all the species, and breaking or modifying these 'links' could eventually have ill effects that we might not be able to deal with.

Phewlliawg, P.R.China
Now ,the situation of biodiversity is getting worse in China.When I was young (in primary school,about the years 1985-1990),there was many kinds species in rivers,in ponds,in small groves.I remember one kind of animal ,which lived in ponds,when it was in childhood ,less than 1cm,with red color, two shells-just looking like a beike,but when swimming it looked more like a fish(when swimming the body went out from the shells,i once feel very sick for its transformable shape).But when it grew up generally ,it looked more like a ancient species --Trilobita ,than like a fish or a beike. Although I feel sick of it , and i never saw the strange animal again after graduating from primary school,I want to know what on earth it was! In these 20 years the pond becames drier in every year , and in winter it will dry up comeletely. All the beings in the pond have vanished for ever.I miss my childhood very , a age with biodiversity.


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