|INTRODUCTIONSt. Lucia's biological resources are part of its capital for development, and the health of the country's economy, especially in agriculture, tourism, and fisheries, is intimately tied to the health of its environment. These resources also form an intimate part of the country's natural and cultural heritage. St. Lucia, as all countries of the world, must therefore fashion its own strategy -- reflecting its unique social, economic, and environmental conditions to use sustainably and conserve its biological wealth. WHAT IS BIODIVERSITY?Biodiversity is the term used to describe collectively the various forms of life, namely the genes, species and ecosystems found within a country or region. Ecosystem diversity relates to the variety of different environments: these not only differ in species composition, but also in physical structures. Ecosystems found on the island include coral reefs, seagrass beds, mangroves, and various types of forests.Species diversity refers to the variety of different species which exist in a specific area. Plant species diversity in St. Lucia, for example, is relatively high - over 1,300 species - and many of these species are useful for food, timber and medicines, while others serve as ornamentals. Genetic diversity is the diversity of genetic information that exists in individual organisms. For example, the Musa genus (plantains and bananas) includes a number of sub-species and cultivars.