Invertebrate fauna of Namibia: Biodiversity and bibliography

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Biodiversity is a technical term which made a tremendous 'career' in the last 30 years (with over 20 million hits on Google Search). It may be defined as a diversity of all forms of life from genes to ecosystems (Haywood & Watson 1995). The basic unit of biodiversity is, however, the species. It constitutes a focal point of studying life as well as conserving all its forms. In the light of Genesis (2: 19-20), describing new species is one of the oldest and the most prominent man's duty and reponsibility. Despite intense research, the exact number of species living on Earth is still unknown, and estimates range from 10 million to 100 million. So far, only a small fraction of this enoromous richness has been documented. By the year 2009, a total of 1 004 898 insect species were discribed in the world out of 1 750 000 living species known to science (Foottit & Adler 2009). But it has been estimated that this constitutes only ca. 10-20% of all insect species living on Earth (Heywood & Watson 1998). Our knowledge on biodiversity is skewed towards vertebrates (ca. 90% of all species already described) and vascular plants (ca. 85%) and towards temperate regions of the world, while invertebrates in tropical regions are still poorly known. Biodiversity is, however, centred in these tropical regions, where the Amazon Basin and the sub-Saharan Africa are regarded as its main stongholds (Haywood & Watson 1995).

Department of Integrated Environmental Sciences, University of Namibia
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