Biodiversity refers to the richness and variety of life on earth. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) defines biodiversity as variability among living organisms from all sources including terrestrial, marine, and other aquatic ecosystems. It includes not only diversity among species but also between and within ecosystems and genes. Biodiversity is also an important resource for food, medicines, fibres, fuel, building materials, and many other human needs. It has increasingly been the focus of conservation policy and practices designed to address the pressing challenge of their loss and extinction.
Biodiversity conservation refers to the wise use, allocation, and protection of biological wealth comprising genetic, species, and ecosystem diversity. The primary focus of biodiversity conservation is to maintain the health of biological resources by making wise use of available resources and safeguarding them for future generations. In the present day context, conservation of biodiversity refers to the three objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD): conservation, sustainable use, and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the use of genetic resources. These closely link socioeconomic and cultural elements with conservation.
Mountains, as fragile ecosystems with a unique biodiversity that is under pressure from various drivers of change, have received considerable global attention. The CBD’s Programme of Work on Mountain Biodiversity has urged nations to reduce the loss of mountain biodiversity at global, regional, and national levels. The Mountain Biodiversity Partnerships meeting held during the eighth Conference of Parties of the CBD (Curitiba, Brazil, 20 - 31 March 2006) provided a further focus on mountain ecosystems for biodiversity conservation and on the exchange of expertise between different mountain systems in the world.