Biodiversity 100: actions for Australia

In this International Year of Biodiversity, the Conference of Parties (COP10) will meet this month to adopt a new target to slow the global loss of biodiverity. The Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) was ratified in 1993, and in 2002 a commitment was agreed upon by all Parties to achieve by 2010 a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national level as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on Earth.

A pair of dingos in Northern Territory, Australia. Photograph: Arco Images/Alamy. From the Guardian.

It is clear that there has been a complete failure to meet the CBD 2010 targets. The rate of loss of biodiversity is alarming, poverty is still rife and the consumption of the Earth’s natural resources is occurring at an unprecedented rate – in a time when the world needs to reduce it’s emissions in order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

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Wilson Lab Journal Club: What Is Natural?

What Is Natural? The Need for a Long-Term Perspective in Biodiversity Conservation. K. J. Willis, et al. Science 314, 1261 (2006); DOI: 10.1126/science.1122667

By Ana Prohaska

Conservation science and management tends to ignore long-term historical records.  An increasing number of studies, however, have illustrated the importance of long term and palaeo-ecological data in several aspects of conservation, such as in invasive species research, understanding wildfire patterns, identifying climate change adaptation solutions and specifying ecosystem thresholds.

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Wilson Lab Journal Club: War and Peace and Conservation Biology

Each month the Wilson Lab meets to discuss an important piece of literature, brainstorm grand ideas or discuss research directions and progress. This month, Lochran Traill led the discussion.

Ehrenfeld, D. 2000. War and Peace and Conservation Biology. Conservation Biology 14(1): 105-112.

By Lochran Traill

Written a decade ago, Ehrenfeld’s reference to “great events of the world” that are “inherently too complex to be managed by … science and reason” remains pertinent. Citing Tolstoy’s historical account of Napoleon’s defeat in Russia (in War and Peace), Ehrenfeld points out that scientists err by assumption that an increase in knowledge alone will stop (or even slow) the extinction crisis. As Field Marshal Kutúzov knew, no one leader could control great battles or great events, such things are unpredicted and undirected.

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