Biodiversity, or biological diversity, is the variety of life. Scientists predict that there may be nearly 9 million species on Earth. According to the Encyclopedia of Life, there are currently over 1.9 million species that have been described by scientists. All living things are divided into 6 Kingdoms, Animalia, Plantae, Fungi, Protista, Archaea, and Bacteria.
Animals – 1.4 million species (1.2 million invertebrates)
Plants – 350,000 species
Fungi – 100,000 species
One reason that Illinois has so much diversity is its location at the intersection of several major biomes. A biome is the largest geographic biotic unit, a major community of organisms with similar requirements of environmental conditions.
The Eastern Deciduous Forest, Southern/Gulf Coastal Plain, the Western Great Plains and the Ozark Uplift meet in Illinois, with the Northern Coniferous Forest nearby.
Illinois has habitats and species representing all 5 of these biomes.