Biological diversity is a term used to describe all the different life forms on earth - plants, animals and micro-organisms. We share this planet with more than five million species of wildlife. Those of us who don't live close to nature might think wildlife has become less important in our lives. This is not true. As the world's population continues to increase sharply (from 2.5 billion in the 1950s to 5.1 billion in 1988, and 6.2 billion projected for the year 2000), pressure on natural resources is also increasing. More people means more land being brought under direct human control. When this happens wildlife decreases. Nowhere is this more obvious than the rainforests - earth's most complex natural systems. Every minute 40 hectares of rainforests are destroyed, and an area the size of Hong Kong is being cleared every three days! It is estimated 60,000 plant and up to one million insect species will become extinct in the next 50 years. Our life depends on bio-diversity. Look at these factors: The oxygen we breathe comes from green plants; Our food comes from the domesticated forms of wild plants and animals. Three quarters of our food comes from eight species of plant - it is essential the wild ancestors of these be saved to allow future development of new genetic strains with higher yields. Many modern medicines are based on plant products and doctors are continuously exploring the jungles for new cures. Think of how many things you use each day which come from plants and animals. Where does the paper you are reading come from? Nature (air, water, soil, plants, animals) is in a state of dynamic balance. If you remove one, the others will come tumbling down. How we use wildlife in the home: food, juice, milk, tea and coffee; paper, clothing; shampoos, detergents; In hospitals: cotton for bandages, uniforms, bedding; medicines from plants; In industry: rubber, timber and wood products; charcoal from wood; alcohol from plants (sugarcane and maize).