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Biological diversity or ‘Biodiversity’ refers to all the variety of life. It includes all species of animals and plants – everything that is alive on our planet.

Biodiversity is important for its own sake, and human survival depends upon it. Biodiversity is the Earth’s life support system, providing essential services ranging from clean water and air, crop pollination and products such as coal and timber, through to the potential to help in flood mitigation and alleviating the effects of climate change. Biodiversity also enriches our quality of life. For example, wildlife habitats in urban areas provide opportunities for everyone to learn about and enjoy the natural world.

Biodiversity impacts on all our lives. Likewise, we impact on biodiversity and, in many cases our actions can have negative implications for the life around us. Unfortunately, we have been losing biodiversity at an alarming rate. The UK has lost over 100 species of plants and animals during the last century. Sadly, many once-common species and habitats have now vanished or are declining rapidly. For example, Over 75% of Sheffield's wildflower grassland has been lost since 1980, our heaths are becoming increasingly fragmented and degraded and only two populations of white-clawed crayfish remain in the city.

We are working with our partners to try and halt the loss of this biodiversity locally and restore some of the losses. We are doing this through Biodiversity Action Plans, our Policy and Planning System work and the development of Living Landscapes in Sheffield and Rotherham.