Key figures on agrobiodiversity
The actual number of living species in the world is unknown. Only "work estimations" exist. 1,75 million species have been described so far. However, these are probably only 14% of the total number of species on earth with possibly over 13 million species. Plants and vertebrate animals are relatively well described but there are large knowledge gaps in particular regarding micro-organisms and invertebrates like insects. The following section gives some key numbers for the biological diversity and agrobiodiversity in Germany:
Plant genetic resources: 3.600 higher plant species occur in situ in Germany. 2,800 species are considered as indigenous plant genetic resources.
Animal genetic resources: 48,000 animal species are native in Germany, among them 703 species are vertebrates. 11 species (all vertebrates) are of economic importance as domestic animals. For the five species horse, cattle, pig, sheep and goat alone there are 65 indigenous breeds, whereof 54 breeds are classified as endangered breeds.
Forest genetic resources: 188 wood species, thereunder 77 tree and 111 shrub species, are native in Germany.
Aquatic genetic resources: 269 marine and fresh water fish species occur in Germany. In addition different species of other systematic groups such as shells or crustaceans, are used in marine and fresh water fisheries.
Micro-organisms and invertebrates: World-wide only 4.000 species of bacteria are described so far, but the real number of existing bacteria species is estimated to be approximately one million. The German collection of micro-organisms (DSMZ) covers 15.000 cultures of 6.900 species. Alone the large number of 33.305 described species of insects in Germany makes clear, that there is a tremendous diversity of micro-organisms and invertebrates on earth. Many of them are of great importance in agri-ecosystems, i.e. as pollinators. Micro-organisms are of great use i.e. in food production.