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New Zealand Inventory of Biodiversity, Volume 3 is the third in the trilogy that provides a review and inventory of New Zealand's entire living and fossil biodiversity – an international effort involving 237 New Zealand and overseas specialists and the most comprehensive of its kind in the world.Together, the three volumes list every one of the approximately 56,120 living and 14,700 fossil species of New Zealand's animals, plants, fungi, and micro-organisms. These volumes are affiliated with Species 2000, an international scientific project with the long-term goal of enumerating all described species on Earth into one seamless list – New Zealand Inventory of Biodiversity, Volume 3 of Life, a kind of online biological telephone directory.
To date, only New Zealand has compiled a checklist of its entire living and fossil biota. Approximately 56% of this country's indigenous living species are endemic – found only In New Zealand's freshwater, marine, and land environments. We have a responsibility to the global community to preserve this unique heritage or taonga. But further than that, all of our Species – including many of the naturalised aliens included in the survey are important to New Zealand's economy, ecology and well-being.
Written for the advanced high-school and tertiary-level reader, these volumes are also intended to be a kind of 'Cooks Tour' of the kingdoms and phyla of life that will, it is hoped, provide an appreciation of the wondrous diversity of nature.