manucaiman For at least 3.8 billion years, a complex web of life has been evolving here on Earth. Millions of species now inhabit land, freshwater and ocean ecosystems and all those species, including human beings, are intricately linked.

Biodiversity.- Biological diversity, or biodiversity, is the term used to describe the great variety of all living things and the ways they interact. Scientists often speak of three levels of diversity: species, genetic and ecosystem diversity.
manucaiman In effect, these levels cannot be separated, for each is important and interacts with and influences the other two, with any change at one level causing changes at the other levels.

Biodiversity is the extraordinary variety of life on Earth regardless of scale - from genes and species to entire ecosystems and the valuable functions those life forms perform. E.O. Wilson, the renowned biologist and author who coined the term "biodiversity", explains it as "the very stuff of life". Species and the ecosystems in which they live are indelibly linked. Conversion or loss of ecosystems inevitably affects the species which depend on them. In addition, any change in the life cycle of one species has an impact on the life cycles of many other species (including humans), altering ecosystems and ecosystem functions, and contributing to local, regional and, ultimately, global changes.

manucaiman Life as we know it will never be the same again if our rich natural heritage is dramatically altered, and all the signs indicate that this is precisely what is happening. Biodiversity is threatened, not by a catastrophic event such as the asteroid collision which scientists believe caused the extinction of the dinosaurs, but rather by expanding human populations and increased human consumption of the planet's natural resources.

Fortunately, protected areas like the Manu National Park and travel companies such as CAIMAN are pledged to work together to protect Peru's incomparably rich biodiversity.