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Biodiversity is generally used to refer to all aspects of variability evident within the living world, including diversity within and between individuals, populations, species, communities, and ecosystems. Differences in pest resistance among rice varieties, the range of habitats within a forest ecosystem, or the global extinction of species of lake fish all illustrate different aspects of biological diversity. Biodiversity therefore embraces the whole of the incredible variety of life found on earth.

Globally, about 1.75 million species have been described and formally named, and it is believed that millions more species are yet to be discovered and described. In general, biodiversity is highest in and around the equator and continuously decreases toward the poles. The highest terrestrial biodiversity is found in tropical lowland rainforests. They cover ...

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