Biodiversity

Biodiversity

An innovative grouping of conservation scientists and practitioners have come together to advocate a fundamental shift in the way we view biodiversity. In their paper, which was published today in the journal Science, they argue that unless people recognise the link between their consumption choices and biodiversity loss, the diversity of life on Earth will continue to decline. Dr Mike Rands, Director of the Cambridge Conservation Initiative and lead author of the paper, said: “Despite increasing worldwide conservation efforts, biodiversity continues to decline. If we are to make any kind of impact, it is critical that that we begin to view biodiversity as a global public good which provides such benefits as clean air and fresh water, and that this view is integrated not just into policies but also into society and individuals’ day-to-day decisions.”

The conservationists, from conservation organisations as well as academia, recognise that biodiversity loss is typically the result of unintended human actions and therefore raises unique difficulties. They state, “The impacts of a particular action are often distant in space and time. This makes effective regulation difficult, as no single body has jurisdiction over the world’s biodiversity.”

As part of a solution, the authors advocate managing biodiversity as a global public good. They argue that an appreciation of biodiversity as a public good with economic and societal value, providing benefits that far outweigh the cost of conserving ecosystems, should be central to all policy making that impacts on the environment.

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