Wales Biodiversity Partnership

Biodiversity

Biodiversity Basics

Biodiversity is the fantastic result of three billion years of evolution.

Biodiversity describes the number of living things on our planet.

Biodiversity is the building block of ecosystems which provide us with a range of benefits such as food, water and clean air in addition to cultural and health benefits which nature gifts to us for free.

Biodiversity underpins a healthy natural environment. The natural world, its biodiversity and constituent ecosystems are essential to human well-being both directly and indirectly through the multiple benefits provided in supporting the functioning of ecosystems.

Biodiversity has been dramatically influenced by man’s activities. By changing biodiversity, we strongly affect human well-being and the well-being of all living things.

UK Biodiversity Action Plan

The UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP) was published in 1994, and is the UK Government’s response to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which the UK signed up to in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro. The CBD called for the development and enforcement of national strategies and associated action plans to identify, conserve and protect existing biological diversity, and to enhance it wherever possible. The Uk's plan sets out a programme for conserving the UK’s biodiversity and a drawing up of a series of action plans to help UK priority habitats and species.

A review of the UK BAP priority list in 2007 led to the identification of 1,150 species and 65 habitats that meet the BAP criteria at UK level.

New drivers including devolution and an understanding of how biodiversity underpins ecosystems that in turn are vital for human life and activities led to the adoption of a common approach by the UK Government and the devolved countries.The shared vision for biodiversity conservation, ‘Conserving Biodiversity – the UK Approach’ was published in 2007. It sets out the vision and approach to conserving biodiversity within the UK’s devolved framework.

JNCC and Defra (on behalf of the Four Countries' Biodiversity Group) have published the UK Post 2010 Biodiversity Framework. It outlines the priorities for UK-level work on the CBD (and related Millenium Ecosytem Assessment) from 2011 to 2020. As such it is an important framework that is owned, governed and implemented by the four countries, assisted by DEFRA and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC). It sets out a broad enabling structure for action across the UK between now and 2020.