The biodiversity of planet Earth is the total variability of life forms. An estimated 1.5 million extant species are believed to have been described so far, and scientists expect there to be 5 ± 3 million extant species on Earth.
“Island Biodiversity” is the theme for the International Day for Biological Diversity on May 22, 2014. Islands and their surrounding near-shore marine areas constitute unique ecosystems often comprising many plant and animal species that are endemic − found nowhere else on Earth. The legacy of a unique evolutionary history, these ecosystems are irreplaceable treasures. They are also key to the livelihood, economy, well-being and cultural identity of 600 million islanders − one-tenth of the world’s population.