Wednesday 20 January 2010

2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity

In 2002 world leaders met in Johannesburg for the World Summit for Sustainable Development. One of the targets agreed at that meeting was 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'.

Whilst there have been positive results in some places, worldwide, biodiversity loss is estimated to be 1000 times the natural rate, because of human activities and is being accelerated by climate change.

Female Blue Emperor dragonfly Anax imperator
(l'Anax empereur) eating a Flesh Fly (Sarcophagidae),
featured here in the blog previously.
A second Summit is scheduled for this coming October, in Japan, and will set new targets.

So what is biodiversity? It's been a buzz word for a few years now. Unlike many buzz words, biodiversity is what you think it is ie. it's the number and variety of organisms within a given area, which could be your backyard, or the whole world. It is accepted that high biodiversity is a good thing. The higher the biodiversity, the more stable and sustainable the environment is.

Male Assassin Fly Empis tessellata with
female Spotted Cranefly Nephrotoma quadrifaria
victim, featured here on the blog previously.
900 organisations all over the world are involved in activities to promote public understanding of the role biodiversity plays in sustaining life on earth. These organisations will be encouraging the public to get involved in conservation projects and surveys. The main focus for events will be May 22, International Biodiversity Day.

The International Year of Biodiversity website can be found here, and the British Natural History Museum site for IYB here. The NHM site gives a lot of information on the sorts of activities individuals can undertake to support biodiversity.

Devils Coach Horse beetle Ocypus olens
(le Staphylin odorant) with a Ground Beetle
(Carabidae) victim, probably Pterostichus sp, featured
on one of our most popular blog posts here previously.
Anyone can contribute to biodiversity conservation. If you have a garden, you are probably already doing so. Gardens, especially those with ponds, provide shelter and food for an astonishing range of plants, insects, amphibians, birds and mammals. Collectively, gardens are a significant benefit to biodiversity. To learn more about managing a garden for biodiversity I highly recommend reading Ken Thompson's No Nettles Required: The Truth About Wildlife Gardening.

The Natural History Museum in London is running a Species of the Day page on their website for the year. A week ago, we were thrilled to receive an email from Beulah Garner, Zoology Advisor at the museum, asking if she could use one of our photos. Species of the Day today is Ocypus olens / Devils Coach Horse / le Staphylin odorant. Beulah wanted an action shot, and said our photo was perfect. She even suggested a name for the victim. Do take a look at the Species of the Day page, as there is already a fascinating collection of flora and fauna on show.

Convolvulus Hawkmoth Agrius convolvuli
Sphinx du liseron, featured here on the blog previously.
Here is Beulah, talking about why 19th century collections of butterflies are important resources for today's conservation research. She is featured on Alom Shaha's marvellous website, Why is Science Important?

Le Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle in Paris is running a series of lectures throughout the year - Comment va la biodiversité en France en 2010.



lejardindelucie said...

Merci Susan pour cet article très intéressant et ses nombreux liens! Oui, nous pouvons agir pour maintenir la biodiversité: le jardin est le lieu tout indiqué! C'est facile et papillons, sauterelles, syrphes et de multiples insectes nous rendrons visite!

Susan said...

Lucie: Je suis entièrement d'accord.

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