626,692 research outputs found

    Biodiversity Quality: a paradigm for biodiversity

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    The internationally accepted definition of biodiversity creates difficulty in measuring difference and change. The authors suggest that well-sampled data can be used to generate a range of numerical indices reflecting species group characteristics/functionality (Species Richness, Simposons Index, Population Density, Biomass and Species Conservation Value) that can be viewed in combination to create a picture of biodiversity quality. This overall approach has considerable advantages over the currently accepted Convention on biological Diversity definition based on the "variability" of genes, species and ecosystems, since the numerical expression of the indices allows the probability of difference between biodiversity quality trends and values over time and between sites or taxonomic groups, to be assessed for statistical inference

    The Middle Eastern Biodiversity Network: Generating and sharing knowledge for ecosystem management and conservation

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    Despite prevailing arid conditions, the diversity of terrestrial and freshwater biota in the Middle East is amazingly high and marine biodiversity is among the highest on Earth. Th roughout the Region, threats to the environment are moderate to severe. Despite the outstanding economic and ecological importance of biological diversity, the capacity in biodiversity-related research and academic education is inadequate. The "Middle Eastern Biodiversity Network" (MEBN), founded in 2006 by six universities and research institutes in Iran, Jordan, Germany, Lebanon and Yemen was designed to fi ll this gap. An integrated approach is taken to upgrade biodiversity research and education in order to improve regional ecosystem conservation and management capacities. A wide range of activities are carried out in the framework of the Network, including capacity building in biological collection management and professional natural history curatorship, developing university curricula in biodiversity, conducting scientifi c research, organising workshops and conferences on Middle Eastern biodiversity, and translating the results of biodiversity research into conservation and sustainable development. Keywords: Middle Eastern biodiversity, nature museums, biodiversity research, biodiversity education, biodiversity conservation, biodiversity network

    Biodiversity Loss and the Taxonomic Bottleneck: Emerging Biodiversity Science

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    Human domination of the Earth has resulted in dramatic changes to global and local patterns of biodiversity. Biodiversity is critical to human sustainability because it drives the ecosystem services that provide the core of our life-support system. As we, the human species, are the primary factor leading to the decline in biodiversity, we need detailed information about the biodiversity and species composition of specific locations in order to understand how different species contribute to ecosystem services and how humans can sustainably conserve and manage biodiversity. Taxonomy and ecology, two fundamental sciences that generate the knowledge about biodiversity, are associated with a number of limitations that prevent them from providing the information needed to fully understand the relevance of biodiversity in its entirety for human sustainability: (1) biodiversity conservation strategies that tend to be overly focused on research and policy on a global scale with little impact on local biodiversity; (2) the small knowledge base of extant global biodiversity; (3) a lack of much-needed site-specific data on the species composition of communities in human-dominated landscapes, which hinders ecosystem management and biodiversity conservation; (4) biodiversity studies with a lack of taxonomic precision; (5) a lack of taxonomic expertise and trained taxonomists; (6) a taxonomic bottleneck in biodiversity inventory and assessment; and (7) neglect of taxonomic resources and a lack of taxonomic service infrastructure for biodiversity science. These limitations are directly related to contemporary trends in research, conservation strategies, environmental stewardship, environmental education, sustainable development, and local site-specific conservation. Today’s biological knowledge is built on the known global biodiversity, which represents barely 20% of what is currently extant (commonly accepted estimate of 10 million species) on planet Earth. Much remains unexplored and unknown, particularly in hotspots regions of Africa, South Eastern Asia, and South and Central America, including many developing or underdeveloped countries, where localized biodiversity is scarcely studied or described. ‘‘Backyard biodiversity’’, defined as local biodiversity near human habitation, refers to the natural resources and capital for ecosystem services at the grassroots level, which urgently needs to be explored, documented, and conserved as it is the backbone of sustainable economic development in these countries. Beginning with early identification and documentation of local flora and fauna, taxonomy has documented global biodiversity and natural history based on the collection of ‘‘backyard biodiversity’’ specimens worldwide. However, this branch of science suffered a continuous decline in the latter half of the twentieth century, and has now reached a point of potential demise. At present there are very few professional taxonomists and trained local parataxonomists worldwide, while the need for, and demands on, taxonomic services by conservation and resource management communities are rapidly increasing. Systematic collections, the material basis of biodiversity information, have been neglected and abandoned, particularly at institutions of higher learning. Considering the rapid increase in the human population and urbanization, human sustainability requires new conceptual and practical approaches to refocusing and energizing the study of the biodiversity that is the core of natural resources for sustainable development and biotic capital for sustaining our life-support system. In this paper we aim to document and extrapolate the essence of biodiversity, discuss the state and nature of taxonomic demise, the trends of recent biodiversity studies, and suggest reasonable approaches to a biodiversity science to facilitate the expansion of global biodiversity knowledge and to create useful data on backyard biodiversity worldwide towards human sustainability

    Functional Biodiversity

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    Modern conventional agriculture is characterized by monocultures. These are less productive in terms of biomass than natural plant communities, which are usually complex mixtures of species and varieties, and they also require more inputs. A central question for organic agriculture is therefore how far we can move from monocultural to polycultural systems in order to benefit from this biodiversity without loss of yield. Rotations are one way of increasing biodiversity, but other components of the EFRC research programme are relevant: breeding programmes for wheat and kale aimed at producing crop populations rather than pure lines; variety and species mixtures, especially for cereals; intercropping legumes with a vegetable rotation (companion cropping) or cereals (bi-cropping), in order to bring the fertility-building and cropping phases of the rotation into the same part of the sequence; a biodiversity project looking at the farmed and non-farmed areas of organic and conventional farms; N, P and K budgeting as a means of designing rotations and intercropping systems; semiochemicals: the natural signalling processes between crops, pests and predators. The best illustration of functional biodiversity is perhaps in the agroforestry demonstration plots, where trees, cropping and livestock are combined

    Urban socioeconomic inequality and biodiversity often converge, but not always: A global meta-analysis

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    It is through urban biodiversity that the majority of humans experience nature on a daily basis. As cities expand globally, it is increasingly important to understand how biodiversity is shaped by human decisions, institutions, and environments. In some cities, research has documented convergence between high socioeconomic status (SES) and high species diversity. Yet, other studies show that residents with low SES live amid high biodiversity or that SES and biodiversity appear unrelated. This study examines the conditions linked to varying types of relationships between SES and biodiversity. We identified and coded 84 case studies from 34 cities in which researchers assessed SES-biodiversity relationships. We used fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA) to evaluate combinations of study design and city-level conditions that explain why SES-biodiversity relationships vary city to city and between plants and animals. While the majority of cases demonstrated increased biodiversity in higher SES neighborhoods, we identified circumstances in which inequality in biodiversity distribution was ameliorated or negated by disturbance, urban form, social policy, or collective human preference. Overall, our meta-analysis highlights the contributions of residential and municipal decisions in differentially promoting biodiversity along socioeconomic lines, situated within each city’s environmental and political context. Through identifying conditions under which access to biodiversity is more or less unequal, we call attention to outstanding research questions and raise prospects for better promoting equitable access to biodiversity

    A biodiversity jigsaw: A review of current New Zealand legislation and initiatives

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    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to review the current legislation and initiatives surrounding biodiversity management, protection and sustainable use related to the New Zealand local government sector. Design/methodology/approach: This paper takes the form of an archival review of the academic databases, legislation and biodiversity related websites to ascertain the current legislation and initiatives in place in New Zealand surrounding biodiversity. Findings: The paper found biodiversity to be managed through a combination of legislation, national policies, strategies, trusts and contestable funds. The majority of biodiversity protection on private land is the responsibility of the 78 local authorities that comprise the local government sector through their administration of the Resource Management Act 1991. Despite the legislative requirement to protect and manage biodiversity the paper confirmed that no statutory framework currently exists to guide biodiversity reporting. Research limitations/implications: This study is limited to New Zealand biodiversity related legislation and initiatives. As such it may not necessarily be applicable to any other jurisdictions. Practical implications:This review illustrates the difficulty that exists in navigating the disjointed legislation and other initiatives relating to biodiversity. This currently hinders the development of framework for reporting on biodiversity by local government. However the development of such a framework is crucial to the conservation and sustainable use of New Zealand’s unique biodiversity for the benefit of current and future generations. Originality/value: This paper adds to the limited literature in the field of biodiversity reporting and extends it to the local government sector in New Zealand

    The value of native biodiversity enhancement in New Zealand: A case study of the greater Wellington area

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    New Zealand’s biodiversity consists of over 80,000 native plants, animals and fungi, many of which are indigenous and located on private property. To enhance native biodiversity and discourage activities that may deplete it, policies can be introduced that can encourage individual self-interest to coincide with social interest. Economic values for biodiversity can help to determine the best policy tools to use. In this project, we surveyed Greater Wellington Region households to determine their biodiversity enhancement values using the contingent valuation approach. Greater Wellington respondents placed a significant value on both private land biodiversity as well as public land biodiversity