Great Blue Heron credit: Ontario Tourism

Biodiversity is all around us — it’s the variety of life on Earth, from the tiniest insect to a vast northern forest. Biodiversity is also about being connected – no species, including people, can live without others to provide it with food and habitat. All living things are part of this life system.

monarch_2Species Diversity refers to all of the different types of species found in a certain habitat, ecosystem or region. Scientists have identified more than 1.4 million species worldwide, but they estimate that there are many more species that have not yet been identified. In Ontario, there are 30,000 known species of vascular and non-vascular plants, invertebrates and non-vertebrates.

Genetic Diversity: Genes are the building blocks that create species. For example, genes determine your hair and eye colour. The genetic differences among individuals within a species are called genetic diversity. Species with greater genetic diversity can more early adapt to a changing environment over time.

Ecosystem Diversity is the variety of different ecosystems within a larger region. Ontario is home to a broad assortment of ecosystems, including prairies, forests and woodlands, wetlands and tundra.