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From red squirrels to bitterns, ptarmigan to dormice, the rich habitats of our National Parks are home to a diverse range of amazing wildlife.

What is biodiversity?

Biodiversity is the name we give to the variety of life on our planet, the result of billions of years of evolution.

Bearded reedling, Broads National Park

We have only identified around 1.2 million of the predicted 8.7 million different species on Earth, and these are mostly small creatures such as insects.  As well as plants, animals and micro-organisms, biodiversity also includes genetic differences within each species - for example, different crop varieties and breeds of livestock. Biodiversity also means the ecosystems in our deserts, forests, wetlands, mountains, lakes, rivers and agricultural landscapes.

Protecting biodiversity

The protection and enhancement of biodiversity found across the UK’s 15 National Parks is an important part of our work as a family.

Whether it is the planning departments managing building applications or the Rangers who complete practical tasks, throughout the National Park Authorities there is a duty to preserve biodiversity.

You can visit the links on the left-hand menu to read more on specific biodiversity projects in each of the National Parks or visit their websites for more information.

Threats to biodiversity

The loss of species is a phenomenon that always occurred, however the current pace of extinction is roughly 1,000 times higher than the natural rate.

This ’sixth mass extinction’ is entirely down to the impacts that humans are having on the planet, such as:

  • Habitat destruction
  • Over-exploitation of natural resources
  • Pollution
  • Introduction of invasive species
  • Climate change
  • Increase in intensive agriculture

This current mass extinction of plants and animals is of great concern when we consider the future of humans on Earth. The millions of plant and animal species are essential to human survival through maintaining ecosystems, creating oxygen that we breathe, providing food for us to eat and ultimately ensuring a sustainable planet for future generations.

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