What is Biodiversity?
Biodiversity is all the plants, all the animals, all the birds, all the fish, all the insects, all the different kinds of habitat, from prairies to forests, to wetlands, to ponds and rivers that exist in Indiana.
You might wonder, what is the importance of biodiversity? There are many reasons, but one of the main ones is that diversity breeds stability. In other words, the more diverse a system is, the healthier it is.
Biodiversity is not about extinction of species, but rather about populations of species and breadth of species.
You might liken it to Jenga, which is the game with square wooden logs that players use to build a tower. After it is built each player takes a turn at pulling a log out without causing the tower to collapse. The object is not to be the player who removes the log that causes the tower to collapse.
That is what happens with natural systems: as you begin to lose species the system is not as strong. Scientists don’t always know what will be the event or the species that causes it to collapse, but collapse it will if you keep losing species from the system.
So let's take a look at a sampling of Indiana's rich plant and animal diversity, splitting the state into its four ecoregions.
What is an ecoregion?
An ecoregion is defined as a large area of land or water that contains a geographically distinct assemblage of natural communities. An ecoregion is:
• delineated by climate, vegetation and geology
• home to distinct plant and animal species
• not defined by political boundaries
The Great Lakes Ecoregion
Central Tallgrass Prairie Ecoregion
North Central Tillplain Ecoregion
Interior Low Plateau Ecoregion