Biodiversity is the variability of life on Earth, from genes to species and their habitats to ecosystems. Living and non-living components interact in ecosystems. In broad terms, ecosys-tems support us by providing services on which our health, livelihoods, and well-being depend. To achieve sustainable development, the benefi ts we derive from ecosystems must be sustained by conserving their biological diversity. Biodiversity is being lost at an accelerated rate: there is ongoing transformation and fragmenta-tion of habitat through land use change and development, deterioration caused by pollution and alien invasive organisms, and exploitation at unsustainable rates. Continual growth of the world’s population increases pressure on biodiversity and ecosystems; climate change adds another layer of pressure. The conservation status of biodiversity at the global or national level refl ects its vulnerability: Red Lists and Red Data Books note threatened species; biodiversity “hotspots,” areas of “Critical Biodiversity,” and “Key Biodiversity Areas” identify threatened and priority areas for protection; World Heritage and Ramsar sites denote areas of global signifi cance; and national parks and other protected areas signal areas of national signifi cance for conservation.