Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

100 questions to conserve global biodiversity

24.04.2009
Conservation experts from 24 world-leading organisations including the WWF, Conservation International and Birdlife International have identified one hundred key scientific questions that, if answered, would help conserve global biodiversity. Scientists say if the questions are answered swiftly, it could stem massive biodiversity loss.

Some of the questions include: 'are there critical thresholds at which loss of biodiversity disrupts ecosystem functions and services?' and 'how effective are different methods for assessing ecosystem services?' The conservationists are also keen to find out how nanotechnology impacts on biodiversity. Other contentious topics such as how ocean acidification might shape marine biodiversity and the effects of the changing water cycle on biodiversity - are also on the list.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), loss of biodiversity is accelerating despite a global convention committing governments to halt the decline. Experts say species and habitats are disappearing so fast there needs to be more effort focused on research that helps scientists understand what's behind the loss.

But there is a problem for conservation bodies trying to curb biodiversity loss. Sometimes, there is a mismatch between the conservation topics academics study and the information conservationists need to help them preserve biodiversity. The one hundred questions, published online this week in the journal Conservation Biology, could help address this issue.

"With the current crisis in the loss of habitats and species it is important that we ensure we are carrying out the most important research," says Professor William Sutherland of the University of Cambridge, lead author of the study and Miriam Rothschild Chair in Conservation Biology. "When research is designed to meet the needs of real natural resource protection projects, it can lead to substantial gains for biodiversity," he adds.

To address the mismatch, 761 conservationists from 24 of the world's leading conservation bodies and 12 academics generated a preliminary list of 2291 questions relevant to conserving global biodiversity.

The group of experts used email voting to short-list the 2291 questions before a smaller group of 44 met for two days at the University of Cambridge to decide on the final one hundred questions. The questions are not ranked.

Before a question could be included in the one hundred, it had to meet eight strict criteria, including: it had to be answerable through realistic research; it had to address important gaps in knowledge; and it had to be on a time and space scale that could be addressed by a research team.

The resulting questions are divided up into 12 key sections reflecting issues the conservationists are worried about, such as 'climate change', 'ecosystem management and restoration', 'impacts of conservation interventions' and 'ecosystem function and services'.

Many of the one hundred questions are at the heart of the biodiversity theme in Nerc's strategy: Next Generation Science for Planet Earth, 2007 – 2012. The main overarching challenge within the theme is to understand the role of biodiversity in key ecosystem processes. Specific goals include: understanding which biodiversity thresholds will ultimately lead to extinctions and ecosystem change; understanding the impact of biodiversity loss on health; and developing new methods to assess the direct and indirect value of biodiversity to society.

The list of one hundred questions builds on a hugely successful exercise conducted in 2008 to identify the top 25 emerging threats to biodiversity in the UK – also led by Professor Sutherland - widely used by researchers, funders and NGOs to direct their own research agendas.

The research was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Tamera Jones | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nerc.ac.uk

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The interactome of infected neural cells reveals new therapeutic targets for Zika
23.01.2017 | D'Or Institute for Research and Education

nachricht Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New technology for mass-production of complex molded composite components

23.01.2017 | Process Engineering

Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

The interactome of infected neural cells reveals new therapeutic targets for Zika

23.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>