Celebrating our biodiversity

Jessica Walsh

This year has been declared as the United Nations International Year of Biodiversity. It aims to promote the valuable role biodiversity plays in our lives, increase awareness about its threatened state, and highlight what people are doing to reduce the rate of global species loss. We, as citizens of the world, are invited to act in 2010 towards safeguarding the life on earth.

There have been several events in Brisbane that have been held as part of the Year of Biodiversity celebrations, including the Steve Irwin Memorial Lecture by Chadden Hunter, and the Peaks to Points Festival. Still to come is a ‘Turtles in Trouble’ expedition run by Kathy Townsend at the UQ Moreton Bay Research Station. There are many other events being held around Australia, as well as exciting online resources available from the Australian Museum, Taronga Conservation Society Australia, and the Department of Environment, Water, Arts and Heritage. You can add a story about how you have celebrated the Year of Biodiversity around the world or in your own backyard.

While this year is a valuable opportunity to celebrate and promote our professions and pastimes, it is also an important time to critically assess which conservation techniques have succeeded and failed in the past, to ensure that future efforts are worthwhile and effective. The Year of Biodiversity comes at an appropriate time, given that the global target from the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) calls for a significant reduction in the current rate of biodiversity loss by 2010. Conservation scientists now have a key role to play in the development and implementation of a new global biodiversity target beyond 2010.