bio- baɪ.əʊ-/ prefix bio …The combining form bio– is used as a prefix meaning ‘life’.
1. The form bio– comes from Greek bíos, meaning ‘life’. It is often used in scientific terms, especially in biology
diversity dʌɪˈvəːsɪti,dɪˈvəːsɪti/ noun
1. the state of being diverse; variety
biodiversity bʌɪə(ʊ)dʌɪˈvəːsɪti/ noun
1. the number and types of plants and animals that exist in a particular area or in the world generally
2. a high level of biodiversity is usually considered important and desirable.
1. the part of the earth’s environment where life exists
We can survive as a species only if we live by the rules of the biosphere. Biodiversity is one of those rules.
Our biodiversity provides the life supporting systems that enable all organisms, including humans, to survive. Our wetlands purify water and help prevent flooding and drought. Indigenous forests provide carbon sinks and purify the air we breathe as well as providing recreation and amenity values.
Biodiversity is essential for the processes that support all life on Earth, including humans. Without a wide range of animals, plants and microorganisms, we cannot have the healthy ecosystems that we rely on to provide us with the air we breathe and the food we eat. And people also value nature of itself.
There are lots of ways that humans depend upon biodiversity. It is vital for us to conserve it. Pollinators such as birds, bees and other insects are estimated to be responsible for a third of the world’s crop production. Without pollinators we would not have apples, cherries, blueberries, almonds and many other foods we eat. Agriculture also relies on invertebrates – they help to maintain the health of the soil crops grow in. Soil is teeming with microbes that are vital for liberating nutrients that plants need to grow, which are then also passed to us when we eat them. Life from the oceans provides the main source of animal protein for many people.
Biodiversity underpins the health of our planet and informs everything down to the taste of a grain, the strand of a cloth and a sip of water. All things we as humnans rely on to support our most basic needs. Yet, nature and wildlife are declining around the world at an unprecedented rate.
Together we can stop it. But only if we join together and chose the most important thing to each of us to protect.
What is the most important element – animal, bird, plant or place – that would you protect if you could?
‘There is no vaccine for a sick planet. The battle for the climate and against the deregulation of the climate is linked inextricably to preserving and restoring biodiversity’ ‘ President of France, Emmanuel Macron, IUCN Congress opening ceremony Marseille, 3-11 September 2021.
Protecting and restoring nature as part of a post-COVID pandemic roadmap was the urgent need called out by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) called out at its 2021 congress. With nearly 6,000 registered participants on site and more than 3,500 online participants, leaders from government, civil society, indigenous, faith and spiritual communities, the private sector, and academia, gathered to collectively decide on actions to address the world’s most pressing conservation and sustainable development challenges.
The congress concluded with some important announcements including:
Agreeing to expand universal access to green spaces and to enhance urban biodiversity in 100 cities, representing around 100 million citizens by 2025
Committing to support the ‘Great Blue Wall Initiative’, the first regionally connected network to develop a regenerative blue economy to the benefit of 70 million people, while conserving and restoring marine biodiversity
France committing to achieve 30% of protected areas nationally by 2022, and 5% of its Mediterranean maritime area under strong protection by 2027.
The congress ended with a High-Level Dialogue on nature-based recovery to urge governments to ‘build back better’ and ensure ‘greater economic and environmental resilience for all’ by implementing a ‘nature-based recovery’ from the pandemic. This includes investing at least 10% of global recovery funds in nature, and adopting a series of resolutions and commitments to urgently address the interlinked climate and biodiversity crises.
SO WHAT? At last business and governments are waking up to a biodiversity crisis that is at least as large as climate change. As we at www.theBEATS.org know ‘If you don’t have biodiversity, you don’t have a planet’. The wider community is demanding an urgent response and the World Economic Forum places biodiversity in the world’s top four risks (for both impact and likelihood) over the next 10 years.
NB: theBEATS.org @Guy Williams is involved with the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management, and the Species Survival Commission Primate Specialist Group. He took part in a number of the recent sessions relating to these roles and will also be joining the Convention on Biodiversity Diversity Conference of Parties (CBD COP) scheduled in Kunming in Yunnan Province in China. For more information on other IUCN events see here https://www.iucn.org/news/events.
If you find injured or sick wildlife, be sure to call your local wildlife rescue organisation. Do not handle them before you call, as experts can tell you if it is safe for you to touch them and if it is how you can help them.
First published in Science.sciencemag.org March 11 2021
A decade ago, an Australian report outlined changes the country must make to halt the decline and loss of species1, but the reforms were never implemented. In the years since, most threatened species have continued to decline, and at least three have gone extinct2,3.
In February 2021, the Australian government released a report that examined Australia’s ongoing failure to tackle the species extinction crisis and offered recommendations5.
Australia’s minister for the environment has committed to work through the full detail of the recommendations6, but there are already worrying signs that they will be ignored. The Federal Government of Australia must protect and preserve nature as required by international agreements7. Without fundamental policy reforms, Australia – a mega diverse country home to about 600,000 species8– risks mass species extinction.
They must be rigorously enforced and under- pinned by Indigenous engagement and participation. An Environment Assurance Commissioner should be appointed, one that is responsible for overseeing and auditing government decision-making in accordance with the Standards5.
This would improve accountability, transparency, and trust in government. In addition, an independent body should be created to be responsible for monitoring and enforcing compliance with the environmental legislation, a suggestion that has already been dismissed9.
Adequate resources must urgently target threatened species recovery.
Alongside more funding, existing environmental laws need to be reviewed to close loopholes, such as the one in the current law that effectively grants an exemption to all native forest logging5, threatening hundreds of species2,3.
The Australian scientific community has been increasingly vocal about the ineffectiveness of Australian environmental legislation for achieving its objectives4,10,12 and preventing the likelihood of an extinction crisis10, but these calls have been ignored.
Michelle Ward1,2,3*, Shayan Barmand 4, James Watson 1,2, Brooke Williams1,2 1 Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science, The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia. 2 School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia. 3 World Wildlife Fund–Australia, Brisbane,QLD4000,Australia. 4 African Climate and Development Initiative, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch, 7700, South Africa. *Corresponding author. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
REFERENCES AND NOTES
A.Hawke,“TheAustralianEnvironmentAct—Reportof the independent review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999” (Australian Government Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, Canberra, 2009).
Commonwealth of Australia, EPBC Act List of Threatened Fauna (2019); http://www.environment.gov. au/cgibin/sprat/public/public threatened list. pl? wanted=fauna.
G. Samuel, “Independent review of the EPBC Act – Final report” (Canberra, Australia, 2020).
Commonwealth of Australia,“Review supports reform for environmental laws” (2021); https:// minister.awe.gov.au/ley/media-releases/ review-supports-reform-environmental-laws.
Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, “Preparations for the Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework” (2020).
A.D.Chapman,“Number of living species in Australia and the World” (Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage, the Arts, 2009).
Commonwealth of Australia,“Reform for Australia’s environment laws” (2020); https:// minister.awe.gov.au/ley/media-releases/ reform-australias-environment-laws.
B. Wintle et al., Conserv. Lett. 12, e12682 (2019).
I.D. Cresswell, H.T.Murphy,“Australia state of the environment 2016: Biodiversity (Independent report to the Australian Government Minister for the Environment and Energy)” (Canberra, Australia, 2016).
Australian Academy of Science, “Academy Fellows say it’s time to establish an independent biodiversity agency” (2020); http://www.science.org.au/ news-and-events/news-and-media-releases/ academy-fellows-time-establish-independent-biodiversity-agency. 10.1126/science.abg9225