The term Biodiversity

Don McAllister mcall at SUPERAJE.COM
Mon Nov 10 07:32:31 CST 1997

Geoff Read wrote:
> Excuse my ignorance. Who coined the contraction biodiversity and when? Can
> anyone point me to this momentous occasion?

According to Elliott Norse in Global Marine Biological Diversity, p. 9,
diversity has been used by biologists for decades, but biological
diversity, shortened more often now to biodiversity, appeared in
conservation publications only about 1980 and its originators either did
not define it (Lovejoy 1980) or defined it inadequately (Norse and
McManus 1980).  The most widely used definition of biological diversity
(Norse et al 1986, Conserving biological diversity in our national
forests) considers three levels: genetic, species and ecosystem

Others like Ted Mosquin have added ecological functions (ecological
services or eco-services) to the central list, whereas others like Soule
(1991) defines 5 levels, splitting genetic and ecosystem diversity into
2 each.


Don E. McAllister             /& Canadian Centre for Biodiversity
Ocean Voice International          /Canadian Museum of Nature
Box 37026, 3332 McCarthy Rd. /Box 3443, Station D
Ottawa, ON K1V 0W0, Canada    /Ottawa, ON K1P 6P4
URL:  E-mail: mcall at
 (or: ah194 at Tel: (613) 264-8986, Fax: (613)

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