Why is species diversity important?

When many different species live in an area, it provides a lot of natural services, resources, and cultural benefits.

Natural services provided by biodiversity:

  • Protecting water resources and soil
  • Storing and releasing nutrients
  • Recycling, breaking down and absorbing pollution
  • Stabilizing the climate
  • Preventing and recovering from natural and human disturbance

Resources provided by biodiversity:

  • Food
  • Medicine
  • Products

Cultural benefits provided by biodiversity:

  • Research
  • Education
  • Recreation
  • Tourism
  • A source of values and tradition

The two biggest threats to biodiversity in Maine and worldwide are the loss of habitat and invasive species. In Maine plants and animals lose their habitat and the resources they need to survive mostly through urban development. Invasive species are a growing threat to biodiversity in Maine. Without predators to keep their populations in balance, invasive species are able to out-compete native species for food, shelter, and space. The introduction of an invasive species may increase biodiversity in an area in the short term, but biodiversity often rapidly declines once this new species establishes and expands its population.