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 1.9 million species that have been described by scientists.

Animals - 1.4 million species (1.2 million invertebrates)

Plants - 350,000 species

Fungi - 100,000 species

Illinois is home to approximately 54,000 species, found in a variety of habitats.



Click map to enlarge

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.

Illinois is further divided into 14 different natural divisions.