Chapter 1. Biodiversity

  1. William J. Sutherland Professor of Biology
  1. Kevin J. Gaston

Published Online: 14 OCT 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444313499.ch1

Conservation Science and Action

Conservation Science and Action

How to Cite

Gaston, K. J. (1998) Biodiversity, in Conservation Science and Action (ed W. J. Sutherland), Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444313499.ch1

Editor Information

  1. School of Biological Sciences, University of East, Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK

Author Information

  1. Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 14 OCT 2009
  2. Published Print: 19 FEB 1998

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780865427624

Online ISBN: 9781444313499



  • conservation science and action and its application;
  • ‘biological diversity’ - multiplicity and range of meanings;
  • definitions of ‘biological diversity’ and ‘biodiversity’;
  • biodiversity as a field of study;
  • biodiversity - meaning different things to different people;
  • quantifying biodiversity;
  • elements of biodiversity - nested components of organizational hierarchies;
  • levels of biodiversity and temporal variation;
  • conserving biodiversity - marketable commodities and non-market goods and services;
  • variety of life and novel scientific questions


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • What is biodiversity?

  • A pragmatic approach

  • How is biodiversity quantified?

  • How much biodiversity is there?

  • Where is biodiversity?

  • Why does biodiversity matter?

  • Acknowledgements