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International Day for Biological Diversity:
May 22nd, 2011

May 22nd is recognized around the world as the International Day for Biodiversity.   In 1993 the United Nations proclaimed this annual celebration to raise awareness of the importance of biodiversity and to encourage the protection of all species.  The theme for this year’s event is Forest Biodiversity.

The International Day for Biological Diversity provides an excellent opportunity for students and teachers to explore biodiversity issues within their own communities.

Why Care About Biological Diversity?


  • The more biodiverse an ecosystem is, the greater its ability to withstand disturbance.
  • Even the smallest and most obscure species play vital roles in sustaining the web of life in all ecosystems.
  • Of the top 150 prescription drugs, 118 originally have come from living creatures. Cures for existing and future diseases may well be found in nature’s inventory of species.
  • Nature, and by extension diversity provides an aesthetic quality. When people go hiking and canoeing it contributes to the economy but it also enriches their lives.
  • Not since the disappearance of the dinosaurs has the rate of species extinction been greater than today. Virtually all of this loss is being caused by human activities.
  • Forests are among the most biologically diverse ecosystems on earth, providing homes to 80% of our terrestrial species.
  • Nature delivers huge economic and social benefits. The livelihoods of 1.6 billion people are dependent upon forest species alone.
  • Forest biodiversity is increasingly being threatened as a result of deforestation, fragmentation, climate change and other stressors.
  • Many large forest-dwelling animals including 1/2 of the large primates and nearly 10% of all known tree species are at risk of extinction.
  • The extinction of each additional species brings the irreversible loss of unique genetic codes which are often linked to development of medicines, crops, and jobs.

Resources 4 Rethinking encourages students and teachers to participate in the International Day for Biological Diversity. Top R4R Picks will connect you to some excellent resources to support these efforts.



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 For more information and activities be sure to check out the International Day for Biological Diversity website at: