Components of Biodiversity

Biodiversity refers to the variety of life forms that co-exist within an area.

The term ‘Biodiversity’ was popularized in 1992 by Edward Wilson, a sociobiologist.

Let’s look at the different components and levels of Biodiversity

Genetic Diversity, Species Diversity, Ecosystem diversity and Ecological Diversity are the different levels of biodiversity

Let’s now see about Genetic Diversity

Genetic Diversity is the variation in the genetics of a species.

The variety of species increases when there is an increase in the size of its habitat.

For example, India has about 50,000 different varieties of rice due to genetic diversity.

Genetic Diversity of species is one of the most important factors that help in maintaining diversity among communities.

Diversity is more beneficial when there are a higher number of species. Lesser diversity among species increases uniformity and higher yield.

Now, let’s see about Species Diversity

Species Diversity refers to the number of different species and their populations that exist within a given area.

A species is said to be evenly distributed when they are equally represented in a community. These species are said to have Equitability.

An ecosystem is said to be richer if it has a higher species diversity.

Species that have a higher population compared to other species are known as Abundant Species.

Diversity or variety increases when the species are unevenly distributed.

A more diverse ecosystem is where there is a higher number of species from unrelated categories.

On the other hand, an ecosystem with more related species is less diverse.

When an ecosystem is dominated by higher populations of one species, it is said to be least diverse.

Next, let’s look at Ecological Diversity

Ecological Diversity refers to the variation in the ecosystems within a particular area.

Ecological Diversity consists of the different niches, the trophic levels and various ecological processes.

These are responsible for recycling nutrients, food webs and the energy flow in the entire ecosystem.

India has a greater ecological diversity because, India’s ecosystem consists of deserts, estuaries, rainforests, etc.

Ecological biodiversity can be divided into three types. 1.Alpha diversity 2.Beta diversity 3.Gamma diversity

Alpha Diversity is also known as Local Diversity. It means the diversity of species within a particular community.

Alpha Diversity depends on the evenness and richness in the population of a species.

Beta Diversity refers to the diversity of species that exist between communities that lie within a particular geographical area.

Latitude, Altitude and Moisture levels are the different factors that affect the Beta Diversity.

The higher the variety of species in a given area, the greater the Beta Diversity of that region.

Gamma Diversity is the total population of a particular species that are found in similar habitats but lie in different geographical regions.

For example, the composition of species between the coral reefs of Andaman and the coral reefs of Gulf of Kutch is the gamma diversity.

Now, let’s look at Ecosystem Diversity

Ecosystem Diversity means the variations in ecosystems within a geographical region and its overall impact on human existence and the environment.

A richer Ecosystem Diversity helps in producing more tolerant and productive ecosystems.


There are 4 components or levels of biodiversity.

These components are Genetic Biodiversity, Species Biodiversity, Ecological Biodiversity and Ecosystem Biodiversity.