This revised second edition provides an introductory guide through the maze of interdisciplinary themes that comprise 'biodiversity.' It combines biological sciences with insights into the origins, variety and distribution of biodiversity, analysis of the social and political context, and the threats to, and opportunities for, the survival of natural systems. Whilst retaining its existing structure, this updated new edition reflects advances that have demonstrated the importance of living systems as drivers of environmental services vital to human health and security. The final chapter has been revised to tackle more explicitly the contrasting approaches to conservation, and throughout, the book has been updated to reflect new research and developments. With highly original international case studies and ample illustrations to explain difficult topics clearly, this excellent book remains the only introductory text which brings together the full range of theory and practice of 'biodiversity' and 'conservation'.