Biodiversity means having as wide a range of different species as possible. Maintaining biodiversity is an important part of using the environment in a sustainable way. Indiscriminate use of the environment, for example cutting down large areas of the rain forest to grow crops such as soya, results in a large number of species becoming extinct and reduces biodiversity.

It is only now that we are beginning to realise the potential medicines and crops that we can obtain from a wide range of different organisms. Only by maintaining biodiversity can we be sure that these benefits will be available for future generations.

Depends on: - number of species and abundance of each species in an ecosystem

Growth of population depends on:

  • Abiotic factors
  • Biotic factors

d: index of diversity

N: total number of organisms of all species in area

n: total number of organisms of each species in area

This video explains more about Biodiversity


Monoculture is the continuous production of one type of crop that is often genetically uniform. Doing this in a large field means harvesting by machinery can be done efficiently.

There are disadvantages to monoculture. If pests and disease attacked the crop it could harm it easily, so farmers use a lot of chemical pesticides. This can harm the environment and so is not viewed as sustainable. Using large fields and pesticides reduces the variety of species. This hinders biodiversity.

Another disadvantage is that if a natural disaster were to occur, the whole crop could be wiped out.

Sustainable Development

Packaging can be a major environmental problem. The use of biodegradable packaging is an option to tackle this problem. When put in a landfill site it should decompose quickly, unlike a lot of currently used packaging.

However, to decompose in a way that only produces carbon dioxide oxygen needs to be present, but in landfill oxygen is often not present. This results in the production of a powerful greenhouse gas methane being produced if decay occurs at all.

Another possible solution is to recycle the packaging. The materials and energy used in production, energy used in transport and pollution created are all considerations when trying to improve sustainability.