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Environmental Systems & Society: Biodiversity and Conservation

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Environmental Systems & Society: What is the definition of biodiversity and what factors might determine the conservation status of a species on the Red List (hint: there are 4)?

Biodiversity: the amount of biological living diversity PER UNIT AREA (this last bit is intrinsic to the definition!). Biodiversity includes diversity of species, habitat and genetics (again, you need to know all these three!).

Factors that may determine the conservation status of a species on the Red List include...

Population size

Genetic diversity within a species

Number of adults capable of reproducing

Degree of endemicity


Geographic range

Quality of the habitat

Habitat size

Specialised habitats (for instance where the prey of the species is rare)

Threats to the habitat or species

Remember you need to know at least one example of a specific named animal on the Red List and which, if any, factors put it specifically on the red list. You can find the Red List here: http://www.iucnredlist.org

Revision Tip!

You can group the Red List factors to help remember them into 5 that relate to reproduction (genetic diversity, reproducing adults, endemicity, rarity, population size) and 5 that relate to habitat and location (geographic range, quality of habitat, size of habitat, specialised habitat & threats to habitat).

Even if it is a 2 mark question remember that they may well want you to give at least 4 of these factors.

Any questions, please ask either here or in the Biology & ESS forum :)

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