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2. Key concepts

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Chapter Summary

This chapter investigates the utility of biodiversity. Scientific arguments are used to explain biodiversity and its utility within the context of evolution, life and the processes that give rise to order in the universe. Biodiversity is quite a new concept and is much broader than the older terms 'species richness' and 'species diversity'. The chapter presents answers for the following questions: what is life; what factors determine its diversity; how important is evolution for the development of biodiversity; what exactly evolution is; and what does the concept of utility mean when applied to biodiversity. The argument in the chapter clearly shows the earth's ecosystem does not satisfy the definition of life, despite all the intriguing ideas about Gaia, in which the earth is considered to be a complex self-regulating system. The impact of humanity on evolution can itself lead to the creation of new species.

Keywords: biodiversity; ecosystem; humanity; life; universe



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