This chapter explores the following question: How can our knowledge of global biodiversity patterns and our understanding of underlying processes and drivers help us to apprehend, project, and reverse the trajectory of large-scale biodiversity loss? It examines global richness patterns and biodiversity hotspots on land and in the sea together. It looks at these patterns through two different lenses: (1) total species richness, and (2) relative richness across taxa. It argues that biodiversity patterns are not a static feature. In recent decades and certainly throughout Earth's history, the global magnitude and distribution of biodiversity has been dynamically changing in response to various environmental drivers, many of which are now affected by human activities. This means that the future of biodiversity is in our own hands, and future trajectories will largely depend on how we choose to constrain or manage the cumulative impacts that arise from our actions.
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