diversitas conference


TOUGH BIODIVERSITY REALITIES
October 9, 2009, 15:45
Filed under: Biodiversity loss

We are losing species 100 times faster than new ones are being generated. And this biodiversity loss is accelerating … fast. It will get much worse by the end of this century. We are entering the 6th massive extinction event in Earth’s history … this one is caused by the dominance of one species …. humans!” So says Dr Bob Scholes, leading ecologist at the CSIR and, vice-chair of the international biodiversity research coordination group DIVERSITAS, and local organiser of its open science conference taking place in Cape Town 14 – 16 October 2009.

“Seeing that biodiversity is the machinery that keeps our planet’s life-support systems going, we need to be worried. But, if you’re tired about bad news about the environment, the good news is that people can make a difference in protecting precious biodiversity, even in their immediate neighbourhoods. Unlike other pressing global problems like climate change, local action has local benefit as well as global benefit. There are things that need global cooperation – such as looking after migratory species at both ends of their range – but a lot can be done nearer to home.

“Small adjustments in farming practices such as leaving corridors of biodiversity and stepping back from excessive use of fertilisers and pesticides can have massive positive impact on biodiversity, without making the farm unproductive or unviable.”

At this conference about 600 of the world’s leading biodiversity experts will deliberate over new ways of slowing down the rate of biodiversity loss and setting new goals for biodiversity conservation. The will select the most important biodiversity science challenges for future research and prioritise what must be protected. “We’re past the point where we can save everything. We have to start making choices and focus our energies on what is most important to save,” says Dr Scholes.

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