Biodiversity is, literally, the variety of life on earth. It embraces all living plants and animals (including mankind), their genetic variation and the ecosystems on which they depend. Biodiversity is everywhere: in gardens, fields, hedgerows, rivers, mountains, cliffs and in the sea.
The natural environment of Wales supports the variety the organisms that live here. Biodiversity also sustains our lives. A healthy natural environment is a vital part of a sustainable and robust society in Wales. It provides us with pleasure, inspiration and attractive communities. Our natural environment is of great economic importance, providing food, materials and medicines, regulating air and water quality and forming part of the cultural identity of the Carmarthenshire, providing the landscape and seascape setting that contributes to our mental and physical health, inspiring and educating us.
At a local level, biodiversity greatly influences the character of our landscape. Carmarthenshire is justly renowned for its magnificent coast, quiet estuaries, steep wooded valleys and rugged uplands. Throughout much of the rest of the county there is a patchwork of woodlands and fields, bounded by the hedge banks that are frequently of historic importance. The sea and seabed around the Carmarthenshire coast are also rich in species, some of which are of considerable economic importance.
The value of biodiversity is therefore immense. Its value can be seen in all the ways it sustains us and the ways we live and work in Carmarthenshire. But it also has intrinsic value – an inherent right to exist and thrive and we have a fundamental responsibility to ensure that, through the way that we live, it that it can do so.