In this Project Learning Tree high school module, students learn that decisions about growth and development, energy use and water quality, and even human health, all rest to some extent on perspectives about biodiversity. Educators and students step back from biodiversity issues and specific species to examine broader concepts and larger connections—not just biological, but political, cultural, ethical, and economic as well.


“The global invaders section of the biodiversity module is great! Some valuable, interdisciplinary concepts [are there] to convey ideas to secondary students that shouldn’t wait until college.”

– Dr. Nita Davidson
California Department of Pesticide Regulation

“Really good development of biodiversity concepts and promotion of living sustainable lifestyles.”

– David Moore
California Department of Fish and Game



Introduction: Biodiversity Background Information for Educators

Biodiversity! Although the term may seem intimidating to some, you couldn’t choose a more engaging and stimulating topic—or one as all-encompassing and important for our future. This introduction to biodiversity defines the topic, describes its function, our role in protecting it, and why it’s important to study.

Activity 1: Global Invaders

In this activity, students will research invasive species in the United States and then investigate the presence and effects of invasive species in their own community.

Activity 2: Protected Areas: Issues and Analysis

By analyzing case studies and describing some of the challenges and conflicts, students will learn about the importance to biodiversity of protected areas.

Activity 3: Potatoes, Pesticides, and Biodiversity

Students will develop an understanding of some of the costs and benefits of using pesticides and of how those products affect biodiversity. They will research pesticides and learn about alternatives to the reliance on pesticides for growing potatoes. 


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world-wildlife-fund-logoExploring Environmental Issues: Biodiversity was developed by Project Learning Tree in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund.