Sustaining Biodiversity

The Earth’s biodiversity is its collection of life forms. As we’ve noted elsewhere on our site, life needs energy. Most of the energy comes from our Sun that provides a total of about 8.44×1017 kWh onto Earth’s surface each year. Or about 1120 w/m2. Let’s use this to baseline the amount of life; the amount of biodiversity.

We typify land areas by using biomes to designate areas with common characteristics. Also, we use climate types to set the availability of water as water is essential for the ‘flow’ of energy.

Using these two parameters, we estimate the amount of biodiversity in the following. First, type the size of your land area in the box provided. Second, choose one representative biome via its representative climate by clicking on the associated radio button. Third, at the very bottom, click on the ‘Submit’ button. This will cause the web-page to reload with an added section with estimates of the amount of life that could be supported by the natural system.

Select a land cover:

Tropical & Subtropical Moist Broadleaf Forests (14.51%)

Tropical & Subtropical Dry Broadleaf Forests (2.21%)

Tropical & Subtropical Coniferous Forests (0.52%)

Temperate Broadleaf & Mixed Forests (9.42%)

Temperate Conifer Forests (3.0%)

Boreal Forests/Taiga (11.1%)

Tropical & Subtropical Grasslands, Savannahs & Shrublands (14.81%)

Temperate Grasslands, Savannahs & Shrublands (7.41%)

Flooded Grasslands & Savannahs (0.8%)

Montane Grasslands & Shrublands (3.81%)

Tundra (8.55%)

Mediterranean Forests, Woodlands & Scrub (2.36%)

Deserts & Xeric Shrublands (20.47%)

Mangroves (0.25%)

In the above list, the percent value is the biome's portion of the Earth's total land surface.