• Étienne Hainzelin


Even though biodiversity is a relatively new concept, it is now widely acknowledged to represent all the creativity of life on our planet. According to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD 1992), it encompasses all ‘living organisms from all sources and the ecological complexes of which they are part: this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems’. Over the last few decades, we have slowly come to realize how precious biodiversity is to humankind and how much it is currently under threat. Changing constantly, impossible to inventory exhaustively, branching into—and manifesting at—multiple levels, biodiversity is both a source of wonder and concern. Each one of us can try to better understand biodiversity by contemplating its extraordinary interweaving of production (food, fuel, material, etc.), essential services (water purification, air purification, climate regulation, renewal of soil fertility, etc.) and cultural and aesthetic resources. Source of wonder because, as the driving force of ecosystems, biodiversity—this ‘thin layer of life’—is at the origin of a large number of goods and services and, indeed, of human existence and well-being. Source of concern because year after year alarm bells have sounded on the damage being caused to this biodiversity, mainly due to human activity. There is even talk of an inexorable rush towards mass extinction. Despite the limitless profusion and incredible generosity of the diversity of living organisms, we are beginning to see the emergence of biodiversity’s finiteness in the form of impoverished landscapes and precarious and incomplete ecosystems. Are the numerous enormous challenges that humans have created for themselves by causing this massive destruction going to manifest multiplied, much larger than the sum of their parts? Have we learned all the lessons from the risks we are undertaking?.


Living Organism Agricultural System Mass Extinction Ecological Service Living Community 
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Copyright information

© Éditions Quæ, 2013 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CiradMontpellierFrance

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