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 measure the Earth’s biodiversity by determining the flow of energy through life. First, consider generalized areas or biomes. We use these as each biome has somewhat common characteristics.

Also, on Earth, liquid enables the flow of energy. Typically the liquid is water or water based. We use climate types to typify the availability of water.

In the following, you can get an appreciation for the amount of life that an area may support by using these two parameters. First, type the size of your area in the box provided. Second, choose one representative biome and its representative climate. Third, at the very bottom, click on the ‘Submit’ button. This will cause the web-page to reset with a new section providing the net primary productive. This estimates 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. Inland water and ice cover account for the remaining 10%.