Why is biodiversity important?

Utrecht University and the Green Office recognise the role that individuals and institutions play in reversing these worrying trends, and are taking steps to support biodiversity here in Utrecht. Read more about the university's strategy and plans here.

What is biodiversity?

Biodiversity refers to the variety of living things that are found in a given area, be that planet Earth, a continent or even your back garden. It encompasses all of the animals, plants and microorganisms working together in an ecosystem. Each organism playing its own specific role.

Why is it important?

Biodiversity is a crucial determinant of the health of an ecosystem. The greater the variety of creatures working together in an ecosystem, the greater the capacity of that ecosystem to resist shocks and support life. Working towards safeguarding and supporting biodiversity is therefore a vital aspect of protecting the planet and safeguarding our own survival.

We are utterly interconnected with nature and rely on healthy ecosystems for the materials which we use everyday, from food and medicine to clean air and water. Biodiversity is therefore a pressing, yet often overlooked, aspect of sustainability. This unfortunate truth is reflected in global trends which have led scientists to believe we are currently experiencing a sixth mass global extinction

With about one million of the world’s animal and plant species at risk of extinction, many species will be lost forever in coming decades as a direct result of our actions. This phenomenon is not solely restricted to those creatures who inhabit far flung lands: habitat fragmentation and destruction, climate change, overexploitation and pollution are destroying the biodiversity around us.

Biodiversity at Utrecht University

Conscious of the role that individuals and institutions play in reversing these worrying trends, Utrecht University and the Green Office are taking steps towards supporting biodiversity here in Utrecht. In November of last year, the Green Office planted the Tiny Forest at the Utrecht Science Park, an area around the size of a small tennis court which is now home to in the region of 600 indigenous tree species. Furthermore, Utrecht University is currently working on its Biodiversity Ambition which will guide the actions of the university in coming years in a direction which aims to support local plant animal life. You can read more about Utrecht University's biodiversity ambition here. Do you want to know what you can do yourself for improved biodiversity locally and worldwide? Read our tips here.