Species diversity

In addition to the «diversity of genes» and the «diversity of habitats», species diversity is one of three levels of biodiversity. It describes the abundance of different plants, animals and microorganisms in a certain area. This territoriality is important because what is considered a native species in one area can be invasive in another area and may have a negative impact on local species diversity. Alien or introduced species are called neozoans (animals) or neophytes (plants). About 1.7 million species have been described on earth to date. Scientists assume that the actual total is between 5 and 10 million. Around 30,000 animal species and 19,000 species of plants and fungi are known in Switzerland.

Maintaining biodiversity is fundamental to agriculture. Various insects are indispensable for pollinating crops. Thousands of beneficial insects, from ladybugs to roundworms, help farmers to control pests. Millions of fungi and microorganisms maintain soil fertility. A productive and efficient use of arable land enables the conservation of valuable natural areas elsewhere and ultimately also benefits biodiversity.