Biodiversity Project Overview

Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center, Inc.(CHEC) is dedicated to raising the public awareness of the value of our natural and cultural resources found in the greater Charlotte Harbor area, by providing environmental education, recreation, research, and management of conservation lands. The Biodiversity Project primary goals is to develop a central information repository of the biodiversity found within the greater Charlotte Harbor area. This repository can then be used to develop regional strategies seeking to maintain, preserve, and educate local citizens about the biodiversity of the area.

What is Biodiversity?

In a nutshell, the word biodiversity refers the variety of life on earth. This variety of life encompasses the diversity of genetic material within species, the variety of species in all taxonomic groups, and the array of communities, ecosystems, and landscapes within which species evolve and coexist.

Species diversity

Species diversity is the collective sum of the vast variety of all living organisms existing at the species level. This includes the area's fungi, animals, plants and microbes. Currently worldwide there is about 1.5 million species of organisms that have been identified and named. There is still an estimated 10 to 100 million more of earth's species that have yet to be described!

Genetic diversity

Tremendous amount of genetic diversity can be found within individual species. This genetic variability is responsible for the different traits in species and has enabled living organisms to adapt to the variety of environments that exist worldwide.

Ecosystem diversity

Ecosystem are composed of populations of species, the communities they develop, and the ways in which they interact and coexist with each other and adapt to their physical environment.

Why is biodiversity important?

In simple terms, our very survival is dependent upon biodiversity and its ecological processes which sustain our lives and the lives of other species. Plants produce the oxygen we require, microorganisms decompose our waste products and recycle nutrients, and wetlands provide the clear water by filtering pollutants. In addition, insects, birds, bats and a host of other species pollinate our food crops in which we depend upon. Biodiversity provides the raw materials that we used each day for food, fiber, timber, medicines, fuel and a large variety of other resources.

Goals

  • To assess the current status of knowledge of the greater Charlotte Harbor area's biodiversity and to identify information gaps, conservation threats, and research needs by compiling and organizing existing available knowledge about biodiversity within the area.
  • To make that information useful, meaningful, and accessible to a broad array of users by providing one central location where groups and individuals can find information about all components of Charlotte Harbor's biodiversity.
  • To support the development of collaborative strategies that will allow key players throughout the region to take action on issues critical to the area's biodiversity by incorporating biodiversity information into policy and planning, land management, business decision-making, and research and education.
  • To prioritize future conservation and systematic work with the full complement of biodiversity in mind.

Beta Web Site

The Biodiversity Project is still in its preliminary development stages. If you have comments or ideals on what information you think should be made available, please contact the project at: Biodiversity@checflorida.org

Volunteer

Biodiversity Project is in need of volunteers to collect and enter data, classify and create species profiles. If you would like to assist, just create a volunteer account and log in.